While much of Britain remains in the grasp of a wintry blast, a would-be Arctic explorer has had to postpone his plans because of record warm temperatures at the North Pole.
Ultrarunner Tim Williamson was due to set off on a record-breaking trek across the Arctic ice, but after receiving advice from an independent geographical society and several seasoned Arctic expedition campaigners, he has postponed his trip.
Mr Williamson, a virtual unknown on the global adventure scene planned an unsupported walk to and from the North Pole.
The 25-year-old was due to set off on 13 January from Resolute Bay in northern Canada for a walk, without skis, of at least 3,540km (2,200 miles) lasting between 100 and 120 days.
He said in September last year: “The majority fail because they aren’t built for walking long distances.
“This is the thing I’m specially built for. The North Pole holds a great amount of wonder to me, and as an ultrarunner, it is the ultimate challenge.”
A spokesperson said: “It has been one of the warmest summers on record at the pole and consequently the ice is in a very poor condition which would have rendered his attempt almost impossible from the start.
“Also it was felt that he needed more cold weather training before undertaking such a challenge to give himself the best possible chance of succeeding.”
Adrian Simpson, director and head of communications team at events company Chillisauce, which was backing Mr Williamson’s venture, said: “We are disappointed that the expedition has not gone ahead, but Tim’s safety and wellbeing has remained paramount in the planning and execution of this challenge.
“With Tim it’s always going to be a question of ‘when not if’ he will triumph at the pole.”
There has been no date set for when the expedition will go ahead.
Mr Williamson will now spend the first four months of the year training from Keflavik, Iceland, where he will condition himself to prolonged isolation, sustained cold and navigating in barren, featureless landscapes.
After this decisions and assessments will be made on future expeditions.