Bristolian completes unique Arctic endurance challenge for the Scouts

September 28 2018
Bristolian completes unique Arctic endurance challenge for the Scouts

AN adventurer from Bristol is part of the first duo in the world to travel from Marble Arch in London to the Arctic via human power alone.

Robert McArthur, 33, who works as a chartered surveyor in the city, and his team mate Leopold van Lynden recently arrived back in the UK after completing an expedition called Arch2Arctic. 

In total the trek took three months and saw the pair travel 5,000km by running, swimming, cycling and rowing to the Arctic island of Svalbard, the world’s most northerly inhabited location in order to raise £100,000 in aid of The Scout Association.

The money raised will support the Scouts in their ambition to provide access to Scouting for young people from all walks to life by helping them expand into a further 500 areas of deprivation and under-representation across the UK.

Beginning at Marble Arch on June 15, they ran the equivalent of a marathon a day for three days straight to reach Dover. From there they entered the cold waters of the English Channel where they spent the next 18 and a half hours swimming to Calais, France – a journey that less than 2000 people have completed. Leaving northern France, the two men set off on their cycle to Tromsø in northern Norway, travelling more than 3,500 kilometres across France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. In the final grueling stage, they had to row round the clock for 21 days through treacherous Arctic waters to cover the 950 km to the island of Svalbard located deep in the Arctic Circle.

Commenting on why they undertook the challenge, Robert and Leopold said: “The Scout Movement helps young people develop the skills and personal attributes they need to tackle life head on and win. As we have gotten older we have realised just how much of what we learnt at Scouts when we were younger has helped us in our lives and careers. On this trip alone, we have had to demonstrate grit, determination, teamwork, resilience and a real sense of humour. All things that helped us succeed in reaching our goal and all things that we learnt from being Scouts.

“Knowing that, we want all young people to have access to the same opportunities and to similarly develop skills that will help them for life. That is the reason we embarked on this challenge. Not just to test ourselves personally, but also to raise £100,000 to support young people from some of the most deprived parts of the UK. We hope in doing so we will inspire the next generation”.

Congratulating the pair on their feat of endurance, Chief Scout Bear Grylls said: “I’m super proud of the outstanding achievement… using skills and human power alone Rob and Poldy have run, swam, cycled and rowed from Marble Arch to Svalbard in the Arctic Circle. 

“They have travelled an incredible 5000 KM, that’s simply an outstanding achievement. What I love most about this challenge is the example they are setting for Scouts everywhere - that if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything- so I want to wish them congratulations and a huge thanks for all the money they raised to support Scouting.”

To find out about the expedition and to make a donation, visit: