An Orkney man will embark on a record-breaking challenge when he attempts to row across the North West Passage next year.
Davie Flett, from Kirkwall, has signed up to a gruelling 2,000-mile expedition he says will be the “toughest thing I’ve done in my life”.
He and his colleagues are aiming to negotiate the treacherous passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, a link which was originally discovered by Orcadian explorer John Rae more than 160 years ago.
Mr Flett has been involved in various initiatives on the water in recent years in the last decade and has even enjoyed TV stardom during his adventures – but the expedition has been described as one of the world’s “last great firsts”.
He said: “In 2011, 17 rowers and myself rowed a traditional Ness Yoal from Shetland to the Faroes.
“We covered the 200 miles in approximately 45 hours and that is where I started to get an itch for bigger challenges.
“In 2016, I took part in a programme for the BBC, called Neolithic Orkney, in which they were trying to prove it was possible to travel thousands of years earlier.
“The boat used was constructed from willow tree branches and cow hide and proved very successful in making a crossing of the Pentland Firth in just under five hours.
“But this North West Passage expedition is obviously on a much bigger scale. It will be the toughest thing I have done in my life and there will be all sorts of challenges.”
The team, led by renowned ocean rowing skipper Leven Brown, is being assembled to take advantage of the Arctic’s brief summer in making the arduous crossing.
But Mr Flett and his colleagues appreciate conditions will be extremely challenging, as they travel through some of the coldest and wildest seas on earth, in addition to facing freezing temperatures, high winds, ice and the region’s predators.
He said: “It won’t just be blisters, fatigue and so on, because the whole mental thing could be a huge issue when we are travelling such huge distances.
“And, of course, we could also be dealing with rough seas, extreme cold and the possible wildlife element.”
The rowers will depart from the north eastern tip of Canada and end in Alaska.
Mr Brown said: “We need rowers, preferably with a track record and who are able to raise funds their your part of this expedition that is set to make a little piece of history.
“This route has never been completed before by rowing boat and it is one of the final big challenges on the planet.
“We are going to be taking a small fleet of our new ‘Expedition’ class rowing boats.”
“She is a beaut and I think that she is the most able all-round ocean rowing boat ever produced.”
More information can be found at www.nwp2021.com.