Monday, April 22, 2024

Arctic Kayak: Edinburgh Adventurer Attempts 2,000 Mile Voyage

A man who twice failed to row the Atlantic is hoping to become one of the first people to kayak the Arctic’s Northwest Passage.

Mark Agnew is one of a team of four who will embark on the 2,000 mile journey from Baffin Bay in Greenland to the Beaufort Sea in July.

He said kayaking helped him overcome a mental health crisis in 2018 after his failed Atlantic crossings.

The 32-year-old hopes to raise £25,000 for an outdoors education charity.

The route will follow that of Sir John Franklin’s doomed voyage in 1845.

Both ships involved in that exploration became ice bound. Franklin and his crew of 129 men on HMS Erebus and HMS Terror perished.

“One hundred years ago the Northwest Passage would have been frozen almost all year-round, but now we are going to be able to kayak the 2,000 miles in a single season,” Mark said.

“A rather devastating example of how much climate change has affected the planet.”

Mark’s team may even pass directly over the wreck of HMS Terror during the journey he described as “the ‘voyage that shouldn’t happen'”.

They will set off from Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada, and hope to finish 90 days later at Tuktoyaktuk, an Inuit hamlet in Canada.

Mark, who was brought up in Edinburgh, has been practising on the Thames. He has also been kayaking in Scotland, often around East Lothian’s Bass Rock.

He first attempted to set a world record for rowing across the Atlantic in 2016, and again in 2018. He was rescued during both attempts.

It led to him suffering a mental health crisis, feeling worthless and unmotivated.

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