Sponsored by Old Pulteney whisky (they'll need it!)

British explorer Jock Wishart and Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky have unveiled a plan to attempt to row to the North Pole.

Announced at a reception in London’s Watermen’s Hall this morning, ‘Old Pulteney Row to the Pole’ will see Jock and a five-strong crew brave some of the harshest conditions on earth as they row in a specially designed boat through Arctic waters to reach the pole – a feat never before attempted.

The challenge will take place in July/August 2011.

The planned 450 mile route across the Arctic sea starts in Resolute Bay in Canada with timing being of the essence as the final section of the journey is only navigable for a few weeks of the year before refreezing.

The certified position of the North Magnetic Pole is 78 degrees, 35.724 minutes North, 104 degrees, 11.915 minutes West.  

It has only become possible to consider an attempt like this in recent years due to the increase in seasonal ice melt and the much-documented deterioration of the Arctic landscape.

The adventure will be captured online and on camera for UK and international audiences. It will follow Jock’s extraordinary preparations and the 4-6 week long row where his team will face dramatic ice-bound coastlines and shifting sea-ice barriers on their voyage and their haul of the boat over land which is necessary to complete the journey.

Preparations are already underway for their August 2011 attempt:

➢ A recce of the route took place by plane in August 2009

➢ An advanced rowing boat design is being constructed to make it possible for it to be man-hauled across the ice. At a later date, this specially designed boat will be unveiled – believed to be the first ‘ice boat’.

➢ Jock has begun the challenging process of finding and selecting his crew who will activate a ‘three on, three off’ rowing and resting regime.

➢ Planning has taken place with scientific research partners to deliver environmental data and insight from the journey

Jock is established as one of the UK’s leading adventurers and explorers, with a successful background in polar exploration, rowing and extreme navigational feats. He led the team which established fifteen new world speed records for powered circumnavigation and captained the team that broke the London to Paris rowing record in 1999.

He has a lifetime interest in polar exploration and in 1992 journey he was part of the first team to walk unsupported to the Geomagnetic North Pole.

‘A few years ago a good rowing friend joked that a row to the pole would be the ultimate challenge for someone like me, who is passionate about both polar exploration and boating,’ Jock commented.

‘It’s therefore incredible for me, after three years of planning, to be unveiling this expedition today and to begin the intense process of work and training that now lies before us to prepare for what will be the greatest challenge of my life.’