Later this month a crew from the Northwest Passage Expedition team will be rowing from Newcastle upon Tyne to Kirkwall as part of their training for next year’s world-first row along the Arctic’s Northwest Passage.
The expedition teamed up with The Orkney Distillery last year to launch Northwest Passage Expedition Gin to help fund the arctic expedition and support the team’s marine conservation partners, Big Blue Ocean Cleanup.
The gin’s recipe includes botanicals from the shores of both Orkney and Canada’s Hudson Bay, including Sugar Kelp which was hand-collected by Orkney Distilling’s Managing Director, Stephen Kemp, and local expedition crew member, Davie Flett.
Orkney-based Davie is one of eight crew members taking part in the expedition, with the crew aiming to become the first to the row the 3,700km arctic route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The team are set to leave Newcastle on 19th July and are expected to complete the 350-mile journey to Kirkwall in 7-10 days. Eyemouth, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen have been identified as weather-permitting stop off points along the route.
The crew will be training in Avalon - a 44ft, eight crew rowing boat – and will be visible from the Scottish coast for most of the journey. Their progress throughout can be tracked via Marine Traffic’s website or app – just search the boat’s Automatic Identification System callsign, ‘Avalon’.
Speaking ahead of the trip north, expedition Leader Leven Brown said: "We are delighted to start our offshore training with a row from Newcastle upon Tyne to Kirkwall. Each of the crew have been training on their own under covid restrictions and with those gradually being lifted now is a chance to bring the team together.
The row to Orkney is a challenge in its own right and will help with team bonding and developing the appropriate skills required for the arctic expedition. The 44ft Avalon is a beast of a rowing boat, designed with the Northwest Passage in mind, and I am looking forward to seeing how the crew work together.
Hopefully the conditions will be fair but being prepared for the unexpected is part of our training. We are also excited about visiting the Orkney Distillery in Kirkwall, who are supporting us by producing our Northwest Passage Expedition Gin, that should make for a great night.”
For those looking to taste the gin and unlock their spirit of adventure, Northwest Passage Expedition Gin is available through our shop here!