Showing posts with label Olly Hicks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Olly Hicks. Show all posts

Kayakers Complete Greenland to Scotland Challenge

For the better part of the summer we've been following the progress of Olly Hicks and George Bullard, two British adventurers that had undertaken the difficult challenge of kayaking from Greenland to Scotland, and endeavor that included several legs of the journey that required them to be out on the open ocean for days at a time. Over the weekend, the pair reached their final destination at last, bring an end to their odyssey that was both mentally and physically taxing.

Hicks and Bullard launched their expedition from the Denmark Strait in Greenland before proceeding across open water to Iceland. From their, the two men followed the Icelandic coastline until they reached the North Sea, from which point they turned their boat towards the Faroe Islands, a very remote destination located just north of the British Isles. Next they crossed 50 miles (80 km) of rough seas to  reach the tiny island of North Rona before pressing on with the final leg, which ended
at Balnakeil Bay in Scotland. Along the way they faced several stops and starts due to inclement weather and exhaustion, but all told they managed to cover approximately 1200 miles (1931 km) over the the length of their adventure.

The expedition came to and end in the early hours of Sunday, September 4. Tired, but sensing that the end was near, Olly and George pushed on, paddling through the night. They reached Balnakeil Bay before sunrise, and although the blog reports of their progress say that they were exhausted, they were happy to reach the end of the journey at long last.

While this expedition saw little attention from the media, it was an audacious one to say the least. The waters that these two men paddled through were incredibly challenging, with ice floes blocking their way and heavy seas often making things rough. There are sections of the route that even commercial ships take care not to pass through, and yet Olly and George did it in a 22-foot sea kayak. That's a pretty impressive accomplishment indeed.

Congratulations to both men on a job well done.

Greenland to Scotland Challenge: Kayakers Make Second Attempt on "Devil's Dance Floor"

Back in June I told you about the Greenland to Scotland Challenge, and attempt by British adventurers Olly Hicks and George Bullard to kayak from the coast of Greenland to the upper regions of Scotland, with some pretty hairy open water sections to contend with along the way. The duo got underway back on July 1 and have working to complete the expedition ever since. The early stages of the paddle went about as they expected, with the two men traveling from Greenland to Iceland with few problems, then slowing making their way around the Icelandic coast. But the most harrowing stage of the journey – dubbed the "Devil's Dance Floor" – is a sea crossing from Iceland to the Faroe Islands off the coast of Scotland that they had hoped to have finished by now. Now, after one aborted attempt, they're getting ready to try again.

Olly and George first tried to paddle across the Dance Floor a few weeks back. They set out from the coast of Iceland on July 23 on what they knew was the toughest leg of their entire journey. But after spending 36 hours on the open sea they received word that bad weather was heading their way. The coast guard advised that they turn back as conditions did not look good.

Fortunately, they were able to hitch a ride on a passing fishing boat and made it back to shore safe and sound. Since then, they've been working on that same fishing boat, earning their keep while they waited for the weather to improve. At long last they've gotten toe okay to proceed, and the forecast looks promising. So, yesterday they returned to the water have has started to cross this treacherous stretch of open water once again.

The boys now face 12 days of living in their kayak as they make their way to the Faroe Islands. During that time they will eat, sleep, and paddle in their boat, completely focused on making progress towards their goal. They have now entered the most crucial stage of this journey, and the next week and a half could be incredibly difficult and dangerous.

As of today, the weather seems to have turned in their favor. The wind is at their back and they are making good progress. In fact, according to their dispatches they have already covered more ground in 24 hours than they did in the first 36 hours out on the Dance Floor. They won't be able to maintain that speed of course, but it is helping to put them back on track. Hopefully the good luck will continue and they'll complete the crossing safely.

Good luck to Olly and George. Follow their progress here.