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North through Alaska for Scots pair

Thursday 18th May 2017, 2:38pm

Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) Explorers in Residence Hazel and Luke Robertson have now embarked on the first stage of their Due North:Alaska expedition. The two explorers are attempting to become the first people to travel the length of Alaska by human power alone.

The Due North:Alaska expedition will see Mountaineering Scotland member Luke and Hazel kayak, bike and run from the Southernmost point to the Northernmost point of mainland Alaska, passing through the Yukon region of Canada along their way. The pair will cover 1900 miles in around 80 days.

Luke and Hazel set off from Ketchikan, Alaska on Sunday 14th May and will now spend the next twenty or so days kayaking 400 miles up the Inside Passage of the Pacific Ocean to Haines.

Speaking to RSGS HQ just as they prepared to set off the couple said: “We are so excited that after months of preparation Expedition Due North: Alaska is now underway.  Touching the Southernmost point of the state of Alaska felt very special but now the hard work really begins. 

“Everything about this place feels big, raw and very, very wild. We cannot wait to explore this vast wilderness over the next few months. The temperate rain-forest region that we're paddling through is already living up to its name and it's been pretty wet so far.  We're sure there'll be plenty of sunny days to come though, especially with the 24 hour daylight we'll encounter as we head high above the Arctic Circle.

“It's a been a real team effort to get us to the start line and we'd like to thank so many people for their help, in particular the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for its support of this expedition and to everyone that's donated to Marie Curie too.  Thanks as well to Education Scotland who we will be working with throughout the expedition to share our journey with school pupils throughout Scotland.”

Hazel and Luke will be sending back footage from their trip as well as speaking live to school pupils via the ‘Glow Network’.

Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director at Education Scotland said: “We are delighted to support Luke and Hazel. Education Scotland looks forward to following their progress with learners through Glow, and to working with them to create an educational legacy from their exploration.”

Mike Robinson RSGS Chief Executive said: “Everyone at RSGS wishes Luke and Hazel the best of luck for Due North:Alaska.  There is danger and challenge in every step so we will be following them closely as they progress.”

You can follow Luke and Hazel’s progress live on their website www.duenorthalaska.com  

Expedition Stages

Stage 1 – 400 mile kayak up the Inside Passage of the Pacific Ocean (south-east Alaska) to Haines – aiming to take about 20 days (+ any weather days)

Stage 2 – 650 mile bike from Haines to Fairbanks, passing through the Yukon region of Canada – aiming to take about 10 days

Stage 3 – 550 mile run from Fairbanks to Deadhorse, along the Alyeska pipeline access pathway – aiming to take about 35 days

Stage 4 – 300 mile kayak from the Arctic coast just north of Deadhorse to Nuvuk – aiming to take about 15 days (+any weather days)

Luke and Hazel during training.