Explorer, Advocate & Visionary
Protecting the North Pole’s ocean wildlife
Pen Hadow is a leading explorer of the Arctic Ocean, and is now dedicated to the United Nations process that will advance protection for the threatened wildlife and ecosystem in the international waters around the North Pole.
Hadow leads the not-for-profit 90ºNorth Unit which advocates for an international agreement to create a protected area for the international waters of the Arctic Ocean; and he is director of the annual scientific research and public engagement programme, Arctic Mission, which supports the Unit’s work.
The 90º North Unit is introducing a significant new perspective on the Arctic’s diminishing sea ice, revealing that the environmental issue is less about the geophysics of a melting layer of frozen sea water, and far more about the potentially catastrophic loss of a globally unique “floating ice-reef ecosystem” which includes some of the world’s most loved species.
In 2017 Arctic Mission sailed two 50’ yachts into the North Pole’s international waters, the first non-icebreaking vessels in history to do so, to demonstrate the increasing accessibility of these waters to surface commercial shipping, fishing, tourism and mining, and therefore the emerging human threat to the wildlife already stressed by its reduced sea-ice cover habitat.
Previously, Hadow led the multi-award-winning £7.5m international scientific research programme, Catlin Arctic Survey (2007-2012) investigating the rates, causes and impacts of the Arctic’s rapidly melting sea ice.
In 2003 Hadow became the first person to trek solo, and without resupply, across the sea ice from Canada to the North Geographic Pole – a feat unrepeated to date, that took three attempts over 15 years to achieve. He is also the first Briton, without resupply, to both the North and South Geographic Poles from their respective continental coastlines.
Hadow has written books, including the best-seller, Solo, self-filmed a TV documentary for National Geographic, presented a series on BBC Radio 4, and contributed to numerous TV documentaries and books about adventure and exploration.
Hadow is an honorary patron of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, British Exploring Society, Scientific Exploration Society, and The Explorers Club (UK Chapter).
In 1977 he became Harrow School’s first recorded pupil to have run its legendary 20-mile Long Ducker, running it solo – an event that went on to become the largest annual event in the school’s calendar.
Hadow’s affinity with the polar regions and its wildlife began through his extraordinary childhood connection with the dying words of Captain Robert Falcon Scott (‘Scott of the Antarctic’) and his son, the world-renown naturalist and WWF founder, Sir Peter Scott.