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Rowing the North West Passage

Mark Agnew of Lochnaw yr is rowing the North West Passage in 2021, June/July start.  

Do look at this link

and buy some Gin to support him at:

Information about the expedition from Mark:

We are attempting to be the first people to row the Northwest Passage, the Arctic route that links the Atlantic to the Pacific. The Northwest Passage is packed with stories of explorers, from Sir Francis Drake and Captain Cook, to Sir John Franklin and Sir Ranulph Fiennes. So, this really is the last great first on earth. However, it is only possible because the ice is disappearing.

When Roald Amundsen became the first person to make it through, it took him over three years from 1903 to 1906 despite having a sail and a motor. He would make about two weeks of progress then the sea would freeze again and lock him in for 11 and a half months. But now, as climate change wreaks havoc on the Arctic, the ice is gone from the NWP for two or three months - long enough to row. 

To that end, we are collecting data on behalf of Professor David and Denise Holland. David is a professor at NYU and his wife is his field partner. We will be using the latest technology to measure sea temperature, depth and salination levels, which will inform the Hollands as to where the water is coming from - from melted ice, from Arctic sea currents, or god forbid from tropic currents changing direction as sea temperatures rise, forcing warmer water into the Arctic.  

We are also collecting plastic pollution data for the NGO Big Blue Ocean Cleanup.

Why you are doing it:

When I got my first job after university, I immediately started having an existential crisis. This cannot be it?! People wonder, why would I row for two months in non-stop shifts - two hours on, two hours off - in such a harsh environment and enjoy it.

But conversely, I find it equally confusing why most people would work non-stop in an office for years on end. They strike me as equally absurd - if they are both absurd, I might as well do the one that is more epic! It's stories for the grandkids, afterall. 

And since that epiphany, I've taken up a number of endurance sports and enjoyed them more and more with every adventure. I love being in the wild relying on nothing by my own human power to move, it feels liberating and primal. I love the simplicity moving through stunning environments using my legs alone, and I see ocean rowing in the Arctic as the ultimate embodiment of that combination of simplistic, environment and movement. 

How much do we need to raise

Each crew member is in charge or raising GBP50,000

Who are we doing this with:

Our Captain is Leven Brown, he is the godfather of ocean rowing. He's rowed across the Atlantic five times and holds the North Atlantic record, from USA to the UK. He also set the Indian Ocean record. The rest of the crew has been assembled by Leven. I met many of them in 2018, when I was preparing to row across the Atlantic. So, between us, we have a great deal of nautical miles under our belts. It's fair to say we are one of the most experienced ocean rowing teams ever assembled. 

Why Gin from Orkney?

Orkney was the traditional last stopping point for ships leaving to explore the Northwest Passage. They would stop and stock with water and men, then go off into the unknown for adventure, trade with the Inuit people and to settle. In fact, around 80% of the Hudson Bay employees were from Orkney. So, with that in mind, we decided to distil our Northwest Passage Expedition Gin in Orkney as a homage to those explorers.

It is made with water from Login's Well, the water source used by Captain Cook and Sir John Franklin to stock their boats before sailing West. It is flavoured with botanicals from the Hudson Bay and Orkney as a link between the two. 

Our bottle also displays Big Blue Ocean Cleanup's logo, to help raise awareness for their important work.

You can buy Gin here.

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