The Seven Settlements Solo Kayak Expedition sponsored by Folbot
In July 2010, I propose to paddle a folding kayak on a 450 km journey in the Uummannaq fjord area of North West Greenland (pop. 2784), 650 km north of the Arctic Circle. It is my intention to paddle solo, starting at the town of Uummannaq (pop. 1200) and travelling to each of the seven Inuit settlements (pop. app. 50-500) before returning to Uummannaq.
The expedition will focus on Greenlandic culture and nature as I explore the area I have grown to love and meet the people I have learned to respect, descendants of the first kayakers, whose craft is still held in high national regard.
Chris Paton, 1973, has a BA in Outdoor Education from the University of Strathclyde (1997) and a Danish Teaching Certificate (PGCE) from CVU Jelling (2006). Chris has worked for many years in the field of outdoor education in several countries and since 2006 has been employed as a teacher of English at Atuarfik Edvard Kruse in Uummannaq, Northwest Greenland. Aside from teaching, sledging and paddling, Chris is currently reading for a MA in ICT and Learning (2011) from Aalborg University.
Cooper on Ice
Starting in a hollowed log of wood - some thousand miles up a river, with an infinitesimal prospect of returning! I ask myself 'Why?' and the only echo is 'damned fool! ... the Devil drives'.
To me exploration isn't about conquering natural obstacles, planting flags... It's not about going where no one's gone before in order to leave your mark, but about the opposite of that - about making yourself vulnerable, opening yourself up to whatever's there and letting the place leave its mark on you.
The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal.Always there will be the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest; always there will be the exhilaration of the summits.These are for the seeking, and those who seek and find while there is yet time will be blessed both in mind and body.
"Parked" in Torssukátak fjord
To quote oneself ...
"... when you have lain in your sleeping bag and heard the Arctic Fox announce his arrival, the whale exhaust his lungs when passing by, boulders crash and icebergs calve then the wild has truly called, and I wish to live long to answer that call again and again."