Jock Wishart and crew of five announce expedition in 2011

British explorer and endurance sportsman Jock Wishart announced today that he will lead a team of six rowers on a 450-mile journey to the North Pole. It is believed to be the first polar expedition to involve rowing since Sir Ernest Shackleton’s legendary 1916 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

‘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,’ said Jock.

‘ 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.’

Wishart is no stranger to a pair of oars having already rowed across the Atlantic and set a world record in the London to Paris rowing challenge. He’s also walked unsupported to the North Pole with a team of explorers and for many years held the record for powered circumnavigation in Cable & Woreless Adventurer.

The crew, as yet unnamed but already sponsored by Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky, will start in Resolute Bay, Canada, in July/August 2011 and will row in two watches. Their boat is still on the drawing board as it needs to be capable of being hauled across pack ice by the crew. Timing is critical because the section across the Arctic Sea is only navigable for a few weeks every year. The fact that it is navigable at all is testament to climate change and this expedition will gather environmental data to scientific research partners.