23rd September 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

‘The Last Viking’ plans his return

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A famous Norwegian adventurer known as “The Last Viking” is planning to row from Norway to the isles.

Ragnar Thorseth, 68, is hoping to arrive in Lerwick at the beginning of July, 46 years after he rowed across the North Sea for the first time.

On arrival in Lerwick in August 1969, he was greeted by crowds of Shetlanders as well as Queen Elizabeth II who was also visiting the isles.

As well as his North Sea voyage, Mr Thorseth is famous for having built several replicas of Viking ships and sailing them around the world.

Given his age, this is perhaps the most demanding and spectacular of all his journeys. He he is committed to rowing an exact replica of the 15-foot boat that was used during his original voyage.

It was on Wednesday 23rd July 1969 that he set out from Måløy in his boat, but after covering about 60 miles down the coast bad weather forced him ashore.

His direct crossing had started on Monday 28th July and he arrived in Lerwick a week later.

“I was deeply moved by the warmth of the welcome given to me by Shetlanders and Norwegians alike when I reached Lerwick,” he said in 1969.

This time too he will depart from Utvær, the westernmost point of Norway, with the aim of coming in past Skerries in less than a week.

He will then turn to oar-power, rowing back to Norway.

“I am well prepared,” Mr Thorseth said.

“Over the past year I’ve trained systematically for the trip. I’ve never been in better physical shape.

“I have many good friends in Shetland and look forward to seeing everyone again.”

If the weather conditions are favourable, Mr Thorseth will depart from Utvær on 1st July and arrive at Skerries between 5th and 9th July. A day later he will be in Lerwick.

In addition to raw muscle power, Mr Thorseth will have some help from a small propeller which runs on a tiny solar panel.

The boat is also equipped with flotation aids which means she cannot sink, as well as a solid tarpaulin to prevent breakers from filling her with water, an arrangement which also was also used in 1969.

The boat will be docked at the pier in Lerwick so that people can come and see her up close.

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