The first question that people often ask us about the North Pole Expedition is “How far do you have to walk?” This is actually not as easy to answer as one would expect. The distance from Cape Discovery is 780km as the bird flies, but this is only part of the story. The complication is “arctic drift” – the movement and flow of ice from and around the North Pole. This arctic drift means that in a single day the ice can drift up to 18km away from the pole, meaning that on a day where you really push hard and walk 15 – 17km you could end up further away than when you started! The ice is moving and shifting all the time , even when we sleep, it can be very disheartening to wake up further away from your goal that when you lay your head on the pillow.
To give you an idea of the scale of this drift the map below shows the drift of individual marker buoys in the ice over the course of a year.