British explorers Olly Hicks and George Bullard have completed the first document crossing by kayak from Greenland to Scotland.
The pair set out from Greenland on June 30th and after covering more than 1,200 miles at sea they arrived at Balnakeil Bay, Cape Wrath, near Durness in Scotland this weekend. Their route took them first to Iceland, and then across the formidable stretch of ocean known as ‘the devil’s dancefloor, before reaching the Faroe Islands and then completing the crossing to Scotland.
It wasn’t an easy journey though. After leaving Iceland for their first attempt to reach the Faroes, Hicks and Bullard had to turn back after 48 hours at sea as conditions were to rough and they were unlikely to make landfall safely before the weather deteriorated further.
“The devil let us across in peace on the second attempt – without us having to dance too much!” Hicks said.
During their wait in Iceland for the weather to improve to allow a safe crossing, they continued their seaborne training and stepped aboard another vessel to work on an Icelandic Long Liner fishing boat for a week.
Once the duo reached the Faroe Islands there was another wait – this time of two weeks while looking for a suitable weather window to enable them to embark on the final leg of their journey.
“You don’t have to be a special kind of person to do this kind of thing,” Hicks said. “But you do need to be able to continue when the chips are down and everyone tells you it can’t be done. Getting in the kayak for the first time is not the biggest challenge. It’s getting back into the same kayak day after day, week after week, with the same wet and soggy kit and often in foul conditions.”
Bullard added: “It has been a hard trip – wet, long, and very uncomfortable but for a great purpose. It has been very different to all of the other trips which I have been lucky enough to undertake but we have both been so looking forward to completing this.”