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Monday, 20 May, 2002, 05:08 GMT 06:08 UK
Explorer 'euphoric' at rescue
Polar explorer Dave Mill
Dave Mill was making his third attempt at the journey
A Scottish explorer who had been stranded on an ice floe at the North Pole is said to be "euphoric" after he was rescued.

Dave Mill from Perthshire used his sledge to mark out a 400 metre runway in the ice, and e-mailed a digital photograph to Canada's First Air company in Resolute Bay.

Mr Mill set out last month on an attempt to become the first man to complete a solo and unaided walk from Canada to the North Pole.

However, his third attempt at the journey was scuppered by delays, leaving him trapped on an ice floe.

North pole
Mr Mill was stranded on an ice floe

The 34-year-old, from Kenmore in Perthshire, was said to have a week to find ice which was solid enough to build a runway for a rescue aircraft.

His crew warned he was facing "certain death" if he did not make it in time.

During his trek Mr Mill experienced a close call with a polar bear - as well as receiving a telephone call from acclaimed singer-songwriter David Gray.

He said that conversation had been "as inspiring as it was surprising".

"He promised me champagne and tickets to one of his gigs.

Walking to Babylon

"I have been listening to White Ladder for weeks now - it is my only real luxury, my disc on a desert island of ice," Mr Mill wrote on his website.

And referring to one of David Gray's songs, he said: "I am, literally, walking to Babylon."

Mr Mill told his website that he was heading north in search of a pad of ice with enough space to enable him to build a runway.

David Gray
David Gray spoke to the explorer
"I am feeling fit and fine - but I am all too aware of just how much effort and strength it is going to take to clear the rubble fields and to build a 400 metre runway in time for the rescue aircraft.

"Now is not the best time to be an unaided and un-supported explorer.

"I will need the strength of an army of navvies once I start to build - but I am feeling strong."

Mr Mill told of a "brief encounter" with polar bear tracks in recent days.

But he added: "Polar bears are the least of my problems right now - I am far more worried about thinning ice.

Melting ice

"I have made a mental note to brush up on what's going on with global warming when I get back home. And get back home I will. "

Mr Mill set off from Canada at the end of March in his third attempt to complete the journey.

Last year he returned home after setting a new record for walking solo and unaided towards the North Pole before melting ice forced him to abandon his attempt.

Mr Mill was also on the back-up expedition that followed Sir Ranulph Fiennes in 2000 when the English explorer had to abort his attempt due to frostbite.

The Scottish explorer fell behind schedule on his latest expedition after experiencing a number of problems, including a broken stove.

This meant that he found himself in an area which is more prone to ice break-up as the North Pole approached the longest day of the year.

See also:

18 May 02 | Scotland
25 May 01 | Scotland
03 Apr 01 | Scotland
17 May 00 | Scotland
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