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Rowing to the Pole

Row to the Pole
Scots adventurer Jock Wishart is mounting an expedition to the Magnetic North Pole (as certified in 1996) to highlight the already dramatic effect of climate change on the ice around the Polar Regions.
The expedition, which will take place next August and will be documented by a film crew, has never been undertaken before and is only possible now due to the increase in seasonal ice melt of the Arctic landscape.
Timing is key to the expedition's success, as the final section of the journey is navigable for only a few weeks of the year before the area refreezes.
The team will set off from Resolute Bay in Canada in the "ice boat" before rowing across the Arctic to the magnetic North Pole in some of the harshest conditions on Earth.
Known as the Old Pulteney, the boat was put to the test during its unveiling at the outdoor ice rink at the Natural History Museum in London yesterday.
The Row To The Pole challenge, sponsored by Wick malt whisky Old Pulteney, will be the first polar expedition to involve rowing since Ernest Shackleton and his men took to their boats to save their lives during the legendary Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1916.

Luckily the rowing boat has skids underneath so it can be dragged on the ice if it unexpectedly hasn't all melted next summer.


According to their site the magnetic north in 1996 was 78°35.7N 104°11.9W, and their route is shown on their site. And looking at their map of the 2008 minimum ice cover, it seems they may need those runners!!


Of course, these chaps and their climate change chums will doubtless minimise the number of times it's mentioned that it's only the magnetic north pole to which this boat is being dragged. And when the "M" word does have to be spoken they will doubtless rely on the fact that most people are too thick to realise the real North Pole is actually 520 nautical miles (600 statute miles or 1000 km) further north.

When Top Gear drove a couple of Hiluxes to the Magnetic North Pole, they did so in late spring (25 April - 2 May, 2007). Even then, at one point the ice was thin enough for one of the vehicles to partly fall through.

Although the rowing team are doing this to demonstrate the extent of g/u/l/l/i/b/l/e/ global warming, if their route is still frozen in late summer then they may actually demonstrate the opposite...

Interesting challenge, I wonder if they have been looking at the satelite imagery current and past to compare.

See they want another member...

I saw when Top Gear did it, the ice was pretty thin at certain points but I guess we will see what it is like when they do it, weather has been fairly extreme the past couple of years so may something will be taken from the challenge.

So much of this is hype (remember the last attempt to take a boat to the pole - got stuck in the ice).

As any fule kno, anyone who has read any of the stories of the expeditions round here between about 1850 and 1915, and the English exploration between 1818 and 1850, the ice and general accessibility of the polar region varies spectacularly.

So, for example, in Parry's first trip in command (1821) he sailed happily down Lancaster Sound to Melville Island as if it was the English channel, and nearly got all the way through, and possibly could have done if he had tried rather than wintering in Melville Sound. Next two seasons, spectacular ice, inability to move and escaped just at the end of the second season. This variable pattern sucked other explorers into traps they couldn't get out of at all in their ships, most notably John Franklin.

Well if they're going to where the magnetic pole was in 1996, they will end up quite a long way from the actual magnetic pole - it's moving rather fast.

No doubt they'll have to be rescued when their fingers get frostbitten or something.

We ought to make these tossers pay every penny of the costs which will be incurred in picking them up and hospitalising them when it all goes pear-shaped. Or, better, just leave them out there so that they'd really understand global warming very very well for a few hours before the inevitable and unpleasant end.

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