Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: Furthest North

This book tells the story of the expedition to row to the North Pole - the magnetic North Pole that is, or at least where it was in 1996 (most famously once the destination for the Top Gear crew).

I blogged about them at the tail end of 2011 after watching a TV program about it and then googling the expedition's web site.

It was quite an amazing if chilly story about rowing across 450 NM of icy waters (and in this case I do really mean icy) to get up to 78.595°N. Six crew were crammed into the boat you see in the pic above which must have been a cosy fit.

Soon after watching it I was at the London Boat Show and who should I meet but the expedition leader, Arctic veteran Jock Wishart. We had a brief chat of which the only bit I really remember is the need for really good sleeping bags.

After that I bought the book and put to one side to read later, which I did just recently.

It's glossy and short but that's all good as it keeps it to the point. It covers not just the row itself but also the critical stages of preparation, in particular building a boat able to be withstand impact with ice floes and yet light enough to drag over pack ice.

I certainly enjoyed it and admired the story and photos of what is certainly a remarkable part of the planet, further north than I'm likely to go. The book includes a serious message about global warming's impact on the polar ice but at the end of the day its really about adventure.

A book to read somewhere warm with a glass of the sponsor's prize Old Pulteney whisky to hand.

Rather appropriately Old Pulteney comes from the far north of Scotland and calls itself "the genuine maritime malt".

Sounds like required drinking for polar explorers!

Updated: on BBC1 tonight and afterwards in iPlayer - see here

Photo from: Amazon

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