Driving back to reality

Inuk has been carried the length of Scotland and England on board of our trusty Landrover and is safely stowed away for a little rest. Thank you to all of you who beeped your horn and waved to us as you drove past! Also... note to anyone who wants to negotiate the M6 Toll gate with a 26ft kayak on the roof, make sure you go to a toll gate with a human operating the gate... There was a very large bang when the gate lifted up to let us through and met Inuk, who sticks out rather a lot over the front of the car. No damage caused to either the boat or gate - just a car full of giggling idiots!

Olly and George are back in the real world but still hairy - they aren't completely out of adventure mode yet!

Here are some more images of an incredibly exciting and special day in Balnakeil Bay. For high res versions and press enquiries please contact: press@ollyhicks.com

 Flairs! (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

Flairs! (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

 Happy Olly! (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

Happy Olly! (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

 Happy George! (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

Happy George! (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

 Reflecting on what has just been achieved (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

Reflecting on what has just been achieved (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

 George and Olly - in their full ocean crossing kit (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

George and Olly - in their full ocean crossing kit (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

 Straight into filming (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

Straight into filming (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

 Loading up Inuk for her journey home and close encounters with the M6 Toll Gate. (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

Loading up Inuk for her journey home and close encounters with the M6 Toll Gate. (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

 Washing off the salt water! (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

Washing off the salt water! (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

 Challenge Completed (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

Challenge Completed (Photo credit: Henry Hunt)

They did it!!

Earlier this morning on the stunning Balnakeil Bay, Olly and George completed the Greenland to Scotland Challenge. This is the culmination of over two months of paddling and years of planning. 

They boys are exhausted but happy. We are all incredibly proud of this brave pair. More to follow but here are some snaps of their arrival.

 Greenland > Iceland > Faroe Islands > Scotland > DONE!

Greenland > Iceland > Faroe Islands > Scotland > DONE!

 Setting off flairs, that thankfully they didn't need!

Setting off flairs, that thankfully they didn't need!

Scotland - they are coming!!

The final leg is well under way. Olly and George are battling the rain in their face to get home. This stretch from North Rona to Scotland is the very last hurdle of this epic challenge and the finish line and it is almost in sight!!

Keep your eyes on the tracker and if you are in Scotland then get yourself to Balnakeil Bay - they will be landing between 0900 - 1100 on Sunday 4th September.

Come give these hero's the welcome they deserve!

90% chance of departure tonight at 1800

The weather reports confirm that Olly and George have a weather window large enough to get them home starting at 1800 tonight. The reason that it isn't 100% certain that they are leaving is because the seas around North Rona are still very rough, so they cannot launch the boat off it's steep rocky shoreline.

If the weather reports are accurate then the roughness will subside and they can launch the boat to come home. 

If they were to depart tonight, they will paddle through the night and land at Balnakeil Bay, just outside Durness tomorrow morning between 0900 - 1100. If anyone is in the area then please come along and welcome them in!

For now, we cross our fingers for the seas to calm and for Olly and George to paddle safely home.

 

Fingers crossed....

We have all been studying the weather and there is potentially a window from Saturday night to Sunday, early evening. We'll know if this is going to be long enough and stay that way later on today. If that isn't a goer then sadly, then the weather reports show that it is likely that North Rona will be Olly and George's home for at least another week...

Pasta to last until Christmas...

Olly and George are happily 'looking after North Rona' for us, although they are surprised 'no one has come to check our passports yet'.  They have found food and water and are now living off mountains of pasta that they found in a hut and limpets.

They continue to sit out the storms that are going on around them and are looking forward to coming home.

Comms are minimal as they are conserving power for speaking with the weather team as and when a window opens.

 

 

Food and life on North Rona

Olly and George are still on North Rona and will be there for another few days at least. They had around 16,000 calories of food packs and 16 litres of water left on the boat when they made land yesterday. They want to save 8,000 calories of food and 8 litres of water for the final leg. This doesn't leave them with much in the meantime.

There is a hut on North Rona with a few basic supplies, (including whiskey), there is also a water butt collecting rainwater and a well with water in it for them to drink. They also have a fishing line, and a lot of time.

We are working on finding boats that are passing North Rona but with the tourist season over and bad weather no boats want to go out there and the fact that it is very hard to land a boat on we are not having much luck. There has been word of some Guga hunters on Sula Sgeir, the neighbouring island 10 miles away which we are exploring, however they may have gone back to Lewis and Harris before the weather got bad.

The boys are both hugely practical and very good a scavenging so we are confident they will be fine, however we'd also feel a lot better if they had a bit more grub to tide them over! They are no doubt having a lovely time going a bit feral!

 

 North Rona (taken about a week ago - not by Olly or george)

North Rona (taken about a week ago - not by Olly or george)

 1 Lighthouse and now two bearded men and a kayak.. (again, not taken Olly or george)

1 Lighthouse and now two bearded men and a kayak.. (again, not taken Olly or george)

Made it to North Rona

After 65 hours of paddling with no more than 3 hours sleep, Olly and George have made it to North Rona. 

The island has very few places to land so they had a few hours sleep last night, just off the coast of the island and then attempted to land in the day light. The tracker now shows that they are on dry land. We are all very happy about this.

They will rest now, they must be exhausted and then think about the final push home. The weather isn't looking good so they could be there for some days now. They will prioritise finding fresh water as they only have enough for a few days. The final leg to the mainland will take them around 12 hours - when we know an ETD or any other update, we'll let you know.

Even though this leg doesn't have an ominous sounding name like 'The Devils Dancefloor' it is proving to be one of the hardest. 

HEADING to North Rona

We have just spoken with Olly via satphone. They have made the decision to not push on for the mainland as the weather window is too tight and they are exhausted. They are heading for the small island of North Rona - this is the most remote island of the British Isles and has a population of 0 - you may have to zoom in on the tracker a lot, it is very small and occasionally not even included on maps.

They are completely on their own, no support boat and no team on North Rona to greet them in. They have food, a tent and some water so when they get there in around 5 - 7 hours time they will rest, eat and then review the weather tomorrow morning. 

We'll keep you informed on the boys progress here, and across social channels. We hope to speak to them tomorrow morning at some point.

A message from the North Atlantic

We have just heard from Olly and George. They have been paddling for 40 hours and have covered half the distance from The Faroes to Scotland - the current weather window gives them just 31 hours to cover the same distance. Any of those mathematicians out there can work out that this is not ideal news.

As of 30mins ago, the boys have changed course and are heading to the small island of North Rona. They are then reviewing the weather later today - if this current window extends then they will change course back to the mainland. If not, they will land on North Rona and take refuge there until the conditions change.

Keep Olly and George in your thoughts today, it is hard out on the sea and with the added pressure of making big decisions, it cannot be much fun for the moment. Especially as they are so looking forward to being home and seeing friends and family.

Looking good for departure tonight

Olly and George have checked, re checked and triple checked the weather and all their kit. Things are looking good for their departure tonight - current ETD 6pm GMT.

If this schedule remains unchanged then they will be landing in Scotland on Tuesday, however they are keeping the Island of Rona in their sights in case the conditions change for the worst and they need to take refuge there.

Keep the boys in your thoughts and here is to the final leg of this epic adventure!!

The window is opening... we hope

After a week of waiting, weather watching, sitting around and then doing a little bit more waiting teamed with a lot more weather watching it looks like there is a window opening tomorrow afternoon.

Mother Nature of course, could play more games but it looks like tomorrow afternoon is going to give Olly and George the opportunity to get back into Inuk and come home. If all goes to plan the boys should make landfall on Tuesday morning having had an 'alternative' summer bank holiday weekend than all of us. 

We will send out an email when they leave The Faroes so sign up for updates, if you haven't already, on the home page below the tracker.

 

 Is it really time to come home?

Is it really time to come home?

The Land of Maybe.....

From Olly:

The Faroese have a saying – Kańska – which means the land of maybe – because here everything depends on the weather… as we’ve been finding out… sadly our weather window to make the 200NM voyage to Scotland has evaporated – it closed out late last night as we made final pre departure checks – the boat was loaded and in the water, we were kitted up but a final weather check showed it would not be wise to launch into deteriorating conditions.

A depression to the south of Ireland is generating strong headwinds – up to 30 knots from the south east and corresponding rough seas at our location – not something we would choose to launch into. The Ocean is no place for bravado.

So we wait again, we must be patient, as there does not look to be a decent 72hr weather window for at least 10 days – as far as forecasts really stretch. 

So for now we watch the weather ready to launch again – the boat is ready to go and we are raring to complete the expedition as soon as weather permits!

Thanks to everyone on Suduroy for their help with our launch preparations and kayak storage too  @Ítróttaháskúlin í Suðuroy

 

 

If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm. 

A message from Olly and George

A brief update as we make our final plans to make the final and perhaps most challenging leap of our Kayak voyage from Greenland to Scotland - from Suderoy in Faroe Islands to Balnakeil Bay in Scotland - hoping for an ETD of 1000hrs-1200hrs local time on Monday. 

We're currently in Torshavn getting further provisions as our rations are low.... Also watching the weather very carefully with support from http://www.pm-pt.co.uk/ weather services.  For our final 340km leg we are going to be against the prevailing winds and will have to fight the currents both to escape the grip of the Faroes and then battle across the stream of the North Atlantic Drift. The kayak is ready and waiting for us in Vagur, Suderoy, being looked after by Dennis the mayor! We are aiming to launch in the early hours of Thursday morning before dawn when the southerly winds should abate before starting to swing to the north to help us along. 

Given the varialbles of current and wind on this leg we may put ashore on the isolated island of North Rona to avoid a strong band of winds and rough seas late on Saturday if we can before making our final 75km push into Balnakeil Bay near Durness. 

I'd be lying if I said we were looking forward to getting back in the kayak, but we CANNOT WAIT to get back to Scotland!! and North Rona will be an adventure if we end up there... 

Thanks to everyone who's helped us out so much in Faroe Islands and Torshavn - especially Dennis, Bjarti Mohr and Livar Nysted - everyone has made our waiting for the weather fairly painless with your kindness, generosity and support for the expedition. 

Hopefully see some of you on the beach in Scotland, in the meantime fingers crossed for smooth seas and fair winds!! 

Very best, 

Olly & George

 Standing strong still - looking forward to coming home

Standing strong still - looking forward to coming home

Still waiting

Olly and George have positioned their boat into position for the last leg of this expedition, however the weather isn't playing ball. The last leg is a tough one and the weather is not something they should gamble with. 

The temporary ETD from the Faroe Islands is Thursday 18th August which would mean they would land in Durness, Scotland late Sunday/early Monday, however this could change. We will update you when we have any new news.

Getting into position for the last leg

The last few days have been all about eating and sleeping. The Devils Dance Floor took it out of Olly and George and they needed a rest. Conveniently, the weather was rubbish so their resting has been 100% guilt free!

However, the holiday didn’t last too long. Today Olly and George got back into the kayak and headed down to the most southern tip of the Faroes – Suduroy. The weather is not going to clear for a while but they want to make sure they are ready for the final crossing when they get the chance to start. Today’s paddle was pretty choppy – it may come as a surprise to some but the Faroes are known for their selection of surfing beaches! The boys experienced this first hand (and face) and got pretty wet, losing a pair of sunglasses along the way!

The final leg is looming. While it does not have an ominous name like it’s predecessor, it is still a hard hurdle that lies between them and home. Their journey to the shores of Scotland will require them to spend a further two nights at sea and three days. It is a busier shipping lane so they will need to keep their wits about them. They are also tired – it has been a tough five weeks and it is beginning to show. Nerves aren’t helping either – it looks like there is going to be a few days of waiting ahead of them until the storms pass which will only add to the anticipation.

Both of them are looking forward to seeing that Scottish coastline and enjoying a whiskey!

 Resting and recuperating - the boys are on good form but tired 

Resting and recuperating - the boys are on good form but tired 

 Making sure everything is ready to go for the final leg

Making sure everything is ready to go for the final leg

Rest time

The kayak has been stripped down, washed off and is being stored safely in the Torshavn Rowing Club boat shed. The weather is set to be horrid for a few days so they are using this time to rest and enjoy not sleeping like this.....

 Roomy luxury in this bedroom...

Roomy luxury in this bedroom...

 Who would want to sleep in a bed, when this is the alternative??!

Who would want to sleep in a bed, when this is the alternative??!

And.. back in the boat!

After a good sleep the boys are just heading back to their boat to paddle from the beach where they landed to the capital city Torshavn down the Sundini channel. The tides and weather are in their favour, so despite being absolutely exhausted they are keen to get the boat to a place where they can strip her down, wash everything and prepare for the next few legs. 

Today they will be paddling through some extremely dramatic scenery, with some interesting tidal behaviour! The Sundini channel, at points, narrows to around 10m wide, this makes for some potentially very speedy progress providing they get the tides right. If they get it wrong, they aren't going anywhere! We are looking forward to seeing the photos from the boat today.

Just like Iceland, everyone in the Faroes is extremely supportive and are helping Olly and George where they can. They have already been given a new woollen jersey each (thank goodness, they have been in the same clothes for months now!) and the local rowing club are going to allow the boys to use their buildings as a base in Torshavn. It transpires that when they were crossing the Dance Floor, they were radioed by the local ferries as they passed by in the night and some of the locals even came out in their boats to meet them as they arrived in the Faroes on Friday morning. The spirit of adventure and exploration is strong here and the boys fit right in (their beards help).

Once they reach Torshavn then they are going to rest for a few days. Their hands are blistered and their fingers look a bit like sausages. It was a tough crossing from Iceland and their bodies need a bit of a break. The weather is also not looking very nice for the long final leg to Scotland which means a bit of a wait - no bad thing right now. 

This expedition is by no means done. Yes, the Dance Floor has been conquered but ahead of them is some tricky tidal channels and another big ocean leg. Morale is high but the bodies are tired. 

 

 

 Olly and George in their new jumpers! Proud as punch!

Olly and George in their new jumpers! Proud as punch!

 Their ocean dry suits having had a good wash are being left on shore today - the boys would have spent nearly 5 days in these so they were pretty stinky! Shorts and t-shirts is the kit of choice on this beautiful morning!

Their ocean dry suits having had a good wash are being left on shore today - the boys would have spent nearly 5 days in these so they were pretty stinky! Shorts and t-shirts is the kit of choice on this beautiful morning!

 TAKEN JUST AS THEY GOT IN ON FRIDAY MORNING - EXHAUSTED!

TAKEN JUST AS THEY GOT IN ON FRIDAY MORNING - EXHAUSTED!

 THE BEACH THEY LANDED ON. THERE IS NO DENYING, THE FAROES ARE STUNNING

THE BEACH THEY LANDED ON. THERE IS NO DENYING, THE FAROES ARE STUNNING