Grandfather returns home after epic voyage

A pensioner has become the first Briton to sail around the Arctic Circle and the first person in the world to do so in a clockwise direction.

73-year-old grandfather, Jeffrey Allison, returned to his home port, Hartlepool, yesterday, after 40 nights at sea in his 30-year-old, 52-foot yacht, Eshamy.

Mr Allison, who only began sailing seven years ago, sailed from north-east England around Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Russia and Scandinavia.

His journey has only become possible in recent years because of receding ice caps.

He said: ‘There was great beauty in Greenland, but the East Siberian Sea was bleak. There was no wildlife, no seals, no birds. That was a tough period.’

Mr Allison has made six Atlantic crossings, transited the Panama Canal and crossed the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

This voyage was made doubly difficult after an incident in 2009, when the Russian Coastguard accused him of sailing in the Barents Sea without permission.

Mr Allison’s Russian visa was revoked, banning him from the country until 2014, which meant he had to be very careful to avoid its waters this time.

Russian yacht completes Arctic circumnavigation.

Youngest crew conquers Northwest Passage.