Friday 28 October 2016

Kayak pair complete Greenland to Scotland trip made under midnight sun

Published 04/09/2016 | 18:06

Olly Hicks in a kayak
Olly Hicks in a kayak

Two modern-day adventurers have completed a 1,200-mile kayaking expedition from Greenland to Scotland.

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Olly Hicks, 34 and George Bullard, 28 arrived at Balnakeil Bay in the north of Scotland on Sunday morning following over two months of negotiating Arctic sea ice and freezing temperatures.

Mr Hicks tweeted shortly after arriving in Scotland, saying: "We've done it! Greenland to Scotland Challenge complete, what an amazing feeling!"

He said on Facebook: "We did it! We made it to Durness this morning kayaking over night and have completed the Greenland to Scotland Challenge! Thank you to all our sponsors and supporters, now for some sleep!"

The duo who are the first modern-day explorers to complete the journey are said to be "exhausted but happy" according to a website following their journey.

Fellow adventurer and broadcaster, Ben Fogle tweeted Mr Hicks shortly after their arrival saying: "Well done @ollyhicks on completing the epic kayak from #greenlandtoscotland."

The Greenland to Scotland Challenge is a 1,200-mile journey over six weeks which saw the pair spend 12 nights at sea paddling by the light of the midnight sun.

The boat the men were travelling in was a custom-modified Inuk Duo 6.8 metre sea kayak which is made of carbon fibre with Kevlar in the bottom of the hull for ice protection.

It is fast and light and designed to cover large distances whilst carrying sufficient expedition supplies, and has special canopies that can be sealed around the cockpits allowing the paddlers to squeeze into the hull of the boat to rest and sleep.

The explorers were inspired to take up the challenge after hearing a legend about a similar journey made centuries ago by a mysterious group called the Finnmen.

Reports of "bizarre visitors" appearing on the coasts of Scotland in strange boats go back as late as the 17th century.

One report says that one of these unknown visitors made landfall and spoke an unintelligible language and was "all over hairy".

It is unknown where these travellers had come from, but it is thought they may have come from Finland or Greenland.

Mr Hicks, a seasoned ocean rower and friend of Prince Harry, became the first person to row solo from America to England in 2005 at the age of 23.

Press Association

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