x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Hayes crosses Arctic Circle

The longest unsupported Arctic journey attempt reaches a milestone, as a Dubai-based explorer's expedition progresses to its 18th day.

Derek Crowe, Adrian Hayes and Devon McDiarmid in Narsaq, Greenland
Derek Crowe, Adrian Hayes and Devon McDiarmid in Narsaq, Greenland

The Dubai-based British explorer Adrian Hayes and his two team-mates have crossed the Arctic Circle on the 18th day of their expedition to trek and kite-ski the length of Greenland. It was, Hayes said in a message sent from the ice, a "major milestone. For us this has always been a target ... which signified coming out of the difficult second phase of the expedition - the predominant uphill and headwind slog with sleds at their heaviest. "As it happens, we've had good south-east winds, but it's still a significant target to have reached."

The Emirates NBD Greenland Quest set out from the south of the island on May 20, with Hayes and the Canadians Derek Crowe and Devon McDiarmid aiming to make the longest unsupported Arctic journey in history. They are alternately hauling their 375kg sleds and, when possible, harnessing the power of the wind to kite-ski 3,500km across tough and uncharted terrain. They have travelled a total of 655km north.

The Arctic Circle is the line of latitude at which the sun is visible for 24 hours a day on the summer solstice, June 21. For psychological reasons, the three men have broken down the journey into degrees of latitude; a degree is 60 nautical miles, or 111km. "Latitude degrees are our small goals," Hayes wrote on his blog, "small milestones that break down the huge distance into feasible chunks." @Email:jgornall@thenational.ae