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Ragnar repeats his North Sea rowing saga

North Sea adventurer Ragnar Thorseth arrives in Lerwick harbour on Thursday evening. Photo Ian Leask

A NORWEGIAN pensioner who managed to beat gale force winds to row 350 miles across the North Sea to Shetland in a 15 foot boat is gearing himself up for the return trip.

Ragnar Thorseth left his home in Fosnavag over a month ago to prepare for a repeat of a journey he made almost 50 years ago as a 21 year old, the first single-handed row across the North Sea.

Now aged 67, Thorseth set off last Saturday from Utvar to aiming for Shetland’s Out Skerries where he landed on Wednesday after a tiring trip on a replica of his original boat Brattholm Havila.

During the journey he had problems with his neck and shoulder that forced him to rest.

“I did something which I think no vessel of this size has ever done, I anchored in the middle of the North Sea and slept some hours and then continued rowing,” he told the BBC.

Thorseth is an experienced adventurer who sailed a Viking longship around the world and led the first Norwegian expedition to the North Pole.

As he approached the last leg of his trip he was spurred on by warnings of a gale on its way.

He said that Lerwick bore little resemblance to what he witnessed back in 1969, and he was not impressed with the changes.

“The only thing which is still here is Thule Bar but it has changed so much, I liked it much better as it was before,” he said.

Now he says he is waiting for a “weather window” and hoping his neck and shoulder make a full recovery before heading back east for home.