Our Journal

21 September 2021
Kim Pierce

The Adventurers and Namesakes of the Highland Overland Trucks: Ernest Shackleton and Tenzing Norgay

Our trucks may not be travelling to the Antarctic or up Mount Everest but every journey is an exploration and we hope that every guest feels they’ve enjoyed an adventure when they hire our trucks. We wanted our beautiful 4x4s to embody the adventurous and daring spirit of some of the world’s finest explorers and mountaineers and so we named them after two of our favourites.

The Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton and one of the first men to successfully summit Mount Everest, Tenzing Norgay are legendary adventurers who were able to overcome some of the world’s harshest conditions with courage and determination to achieve incredible expedition success.

Read on to find out more about these two incredible explorers.


Born on the 15th of February 1874 in Ireland, Ernest Shackleton was educated in London. He then joined the merchant navy when he was 16 years old and qualified in 1898 as a master mariner. In 1901 he was chosen to join an Antarctic expedition where they trekked through extreme and harsh conditions but managed to get closer to the pole than anyone had before. The next time this record was broken was with an expedition that Shackleton himself led, on this trip they also climbed Mount Erebus, and made some important scientific discoveries. On his return to Britain, he was honoured with a knighthood.

It was his third and final trip to the Antarctic which hailed him as one of the great explorers. In early 1915, their ship ‘Endurance’ became trapped in the ice and sank ten months later. By this time the crew had abandoned the ship to live on the floating ice. In April 1916 they headed off in 3 small boats and landed on Elephant Island. Shackleton led 5 crew members off to find help, the 6 men crossed 1300km of ocean which took 16 days but eventually reached South Georgia and then hiked across the island to a whaling station. The remaining crew were rescued in August of 1916, and not one member of the expedition died. Shackleton later passed away in 1922 from a heart attack at just 48 years old.

An expedition leader who loved adventure and always kept his team safe, what better adventurer to name one of our vehicles after?

Ernest Shackleton on an expedition in Antarctica – Image courtesy of Wikimedia


Tenzing Norgay or Sherpa Tensing, as he was better known as was born around 1915 in the village of Thami in Nepal, born to Tibetan parents. Tenzing ran away from home in his teens, first to Kathmandu and later to Darjeeling in India and settled in a Sherpa community. His first opportunity to join an Everest expedition came in 1935 when he joined Eric Shipton’s reconnaissance expedition of Everest and over the following years did more climbs of the mountain than any other climber. His main ascent came in 1953 when along with Sir Edmund Hillary, they were the first people to set foot on the summit of Mount Everest at 29,035 feet and spent only 15 minutes before starting the difficult descent.

Due to this great achievement, he became a legendary hero among many Nepalese and Indians and received Britains George Medal and the Star of Nepal. He wrote an autobiography in collaboration with James Ramsey Ullman called Man of Everest which was released in 1955 and he later he became the first director at the Field Training Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling.

Tenzing Norgay was once named in the Times as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. In 2003, India’s highest adventure-sports award was renamed in his honour and is now the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award.

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay – Image courtesy of Wikimedia