‘Into the Maelstrom’ charts the story of Jim Breen, Angus Mathieson, Bill Turnbull and Peter Wilson who, together, paddled 394 miles (634 kilometres) as they circumnavigated the two island groups of Lofoten and Vesterålen in North West Norway, 200 miles within the Arctic Circle.
During the 28 day expedition, the team also successfully achieved the first ever crossing of one of the world’s largest whirlpools, the ‘Maelstrom’ or, as it is sometimes known, the ‘Moskenstraumen’.
The Scottish Kayak Expedition to North West Norway was the result of two years of planning and fundraising after Jim, Angus, Bill and Peter found themselves storm-bound on an island off the West coast of Scotland in 1978 and made a pact to embark on Scotland’s first major sea kayaking expedition together.
Setting off from Harstad in North West Norway at 8.30am on Tuesday 1 July 1980, the four travelled north, around the top of the island of Hinnøya, south down the West Coast of the Vesterålen and Lofoten island groups to the island of Værøy at the southern tip.
Here, between Lofoten Point and the island of Mosken, where the tidal currents are forced through the shallows creating a fast series of eddies and whirlpools, they crossed the infamous but deceptively ‘smooth’ Maelstrom.
As well as the challenges of the Maelstrom, find out how the team had to overcome very severe magnetic anomalies, bland, repetitive meals, only alleviated by occasional treats of Angel Delight and Cabana chocolate, food poisoning and an unexpected heatwave.