Day 55 – “Mad, but marvellous”

Isabel Burnham By

Day 55 – “Mad, but marvellous”

We are extremely fortunate to have received support for our row from a number of sources: sponsors, experts, previous ocean rowers, family, friends, and even absolute strangers! While I was rowing this morning, I was thinking about one particular supporter that inspires me and that the team and I are immensely proud to have behind us: the Transglobe Expedition Trust (TET).

The Transglobe Expedition took place between 1979 and 1982 and was the first expedition to make a circumpolar navigation of the globe, traveling the world “vertically” traversing both of the poles using only surface transport. The TET is a charity which was established to perpetuate the memory of the Transglobe Expedition by supporting projects which follow in the expedition’s tradition of adventure and perseverance. We are hugely lucky to have the TET support our expedition, awarding us the largest grant that they have given to a single project to date. We can’t thank them enough for their trust in us and their support in getting us to the start line.

I remember reading in awe about the Transglobe Expedition growing up. Starting from Greenwich (UK) in 1979, adventurers including Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Charles R. Burton went south, arriving at the South Pole in December 1980. Over the next 14 months, they went north again, reaching the North Pole in April 1982. Travelling south once more, they arrived again in Greenwich in August 1982. The 100,000-mile route took the Transglobe Expedition team across deserts, through jungles, over huge unexplored parts of Antarctica, through the inhospitable North West Passage and across the Arctic Ocean. It was a great, British effort and a truly historic voyage, ranking among the great expeditions of all time.

I have always been struck by the scale and pioneering nature of the venture. What initially seemed like a crazy idea, ten years later had been nurtured, and through sheer hard work, made into a reality and successfully completed. The perseverance and will to succeed shown by the Transglobe Expedition team has always inspired me and we are honoured to have received their support for our row.

Although our journey pales in comparison to theirs, it appears that we share at least one similarity. As a crew, we agree that the most common reaction we receive when we tell people about the row is: “you’re mad!” It appears that the Transglobe team also received this response. Their expedition was described by its patron HRH the Prince of Wales as “mad, but marvellous”. We’re in good company then.




  1. Jean burnham says:

    TGE sounds inspirational. Fantastic miles made good today. 3 cheers.

  2. Simon TY says:

    Unbelievable progress, you can probably smell the surf. Presumably many more birds now ? And dolphins or whales ? Be safe, be careful as you approach. I can imagine ( I know from trekking too far) that a kind of delirium can overtake the last few miles as sheer exhaustion leads to stumbling and a loss of concentration. Still a few miles to go, so be safe. Mad but Marvellous. Lunatic but lovely. Barking but brilliant. Stupid but stupendous. Raving loony but ravishing. Insane but inspiring.

  3. […] Thankfully, Anton Bowring of the Transglobe Expedition Trust (one of our top supporters – see Izzy’s blog from Leg 1), put Izzy in touch with Lawson Archer of Transglobal Express and it was from here that they kindly […]

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