A team of six women - who are rowing 2,000 miles around Great Britain - have successfully navigated a dangerous stretch of water between Orkney and the Scottish mainland, and are now heading south.
The Pentland Firth is widely known as one of the world’s most treacherous channels because of its powerful tidal streams. The strait joins the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea.
‘Team Ithaca’ is currently circumnavigating Great Britain in the GB Row Challenge, the toughest rowing challenge in the world.
They’ve been rowing for the last 25 days and if they finish within 50, they’ll break a Guinness World record for the fastest female team and first team of six to have ever completed the row.
Jim Bastin, Director of Operations for GB Row Challenge, said: “As extreme endurance challenges go, they don't come much tougher than this one. It's great to see the team progressing so well and we’re all looking forward to welcoming them back to Tower Bridge, London, soon.”
While rowing, the team is making an enormous contribution to an ocean pollution map of UK waters as they collect important data on microplastics, temperature, noise pollution, and biodiversity.
So far they have collected 19 samples of microplastics using a specially designed sampling system, thanks to an innovative collaboration between University of Portsmouth scientists and engineers from Harwin and Porvair Filtration Group.
Ben Green, Harwin’s Head of Sustainability, said: “The performance by Team Ithaca has been nothing short of exceptional. They’ve now completed more than 50 percent of this epic journey, collecting vital data as they go. Harwin is very proud to sponsor this endeavour and wishes the team all the best as they make their way back to Tower Bridge."
The team has also collected 37 samples of Environmental DNA (eDNA) using an automatic pumping system, which will provide data on biodiversity.
Rower and cyber security expert Amy Wood is no stranger to sport and adventure. She rowed the Atlantic at the age of 25, has represented England at karate and competed internationally in gymnastics.
Amy said: “We’ve seen some incredible sights and still have awesome places to pass, but it also now feels like we’re on the way home. This has been such an immense journey so far and I’m so glad to be here with a bunch of fantastic ladies who are forever smiling, laughing and enjoying our journey.”