DESPITE his native North-East shivering in the snow, a lab technician has called off a daring expedition to the North Pole – because it’s not cold enough.
Durham University graduate Tim Williamson hoped to become the first person to walk to and from the top of the world unsupported, covering 2,200 miles in around 100 days, braving temperatures of -60C and towing a sled weighing about 120kg.
The Newcastle University worker was due to leave Resolute Bay, in Canada, on Sunday (January 13).
However, Mr Williamson has postponed his challenge, after one of the North Pole’s warmest summers on record turned his route to slush.
He has not given up hope of reaching the Pole and will spend the first four months of this year training in Iceland. However, no new date for the expedition has been set.
He said: “There have been a few polar expeditions that have been cancelled outright.
“It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for three years now. It might take a whole but we’ll get there.
“They say the most difficult bit is planning and organising it and that’s what it feels like at the moment.”
Mr Williamson, of Fenham, Newcastle, postponed the trip following advice from geological experts and seasoned Arctic campaigners.
He is currently in Iceland, trying to break the 1,000-mile barrier for a solo unassisted trek.
He said: “The purpose of this trip is to get a sense of the isolation and test some bits of kit. I’ll be over the moon if I manage 1,000 miles since I’m carrying everything in a backpack.”
On Tuesday, he tweeted: “Soaked and tired, I trudge into Reykjavik a day behind schedule. Skinned my ankle when my leg fell through a fissure hidden by snow.”
Adrian Simpson, director of Mr Williamson’s sponsors chillisauce.co.uk, said: “We’re disappointed that the expedition has not gone ahead but Tim’s safety and wellbeing has remained paramount in the planning and execution of this challenge.
“With Tim it’s always going to be a question of ‘when not if’ he will triumph at the Pole.”
Follow Mr Williamson’s progress at twitter.com/tim_williamson