Mark Agnew is the only Brit in an international crew kayaking 2,000 miles across the Arctic’s Northwest Passage this summer when his team of four follow the route of Franklin’s doomed Northwest Passage voyage in 1845
Mark suffered a mental health crisis in 2018 and credits kayaking with helping him to overcome it and plans to raise £25,000 for Wilderness Foundation UK
This will be the first time the entire Northwest Passage has ever been kayaked, all the way from Baffin Bay to the Beaufort Sea
July 1 – Team sets off from Canada’s Bylot Island, at Nunavut, and hope to finish 90 days later at Tuktoyaktuk, an Inuit hamlet in Canada, as they follow the route that links the Atlantic and the Pacific. This will be the first time the entire route has been kayaked – and first time it is completed with just human power alone – no motors or sails – in any type of craft in a single summer.
Edinburgh-born Mark, now in London, has been preparing on the Thames with the Putney Bridge Canoe Club and training with polar region expedition paddler, Jeff Allen, who has been helping him to build his stamina and hone his kayaking skills at sea. Yoga is also an important aspect of Mark’s training, helping him prevent injuries.
NorthWest Passage 2023
Mark twice attempted to set the world record for rowing across the Atlantic but didn’t successfully cross and after two failed attempts, suffered his mental health spiral, but fought all his challenges, and now looks forward to his Arctic adventure, and raising £25,000 for Wilderness Foundation UK, a charity offering education and therapy programmes for young people.
The route Mark’s team will follow is the same sought by the British Arctic exploration voyage led by Sir John Franklin in 1845 aboard HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, which became icebound and the crew of 129 men was lost.
Now, 178 years later, the Arctic’s ice conditions have changed with the region at the forefront of global warming, making this world first only possible as the sea ice melts and disappears.
Mark’s team will each consume 4,000 to 6,000 calories per day and re-supply halfway in Cambridge Bay. Each night they will camp on shore and set up a tripwire to let off a bang if they are approached by polar bears as they sleep.
The expedition can be followed online and with updates on social media https://www.thearcticcowboys.com and @adventureagnew on Twitter and Instagram.