When you have reached the world’s northernmost bit of terra firma, and nothing but the Arctic Ocean lies between you and the North Pole, you have reached Ultima Thule. Several have claimed to stand at Ultima Thule, but the question remains, is it really Ultima Thule?
In the fourth century BCE the Greek explorer Pytheas of Massilia claimed to have sailed six days north of Britain until he reached a land he called Thule. He may have sailed to
Norway, or to Iceland or even to Greenland, but as his account of the journey has been lost, its exact location remains a mystery. All we know is that it is: a cold place beyond human habitation, a place on the edge of a frozen sea, a place not found on any map. Since his Thule could have been any number of geographic locations, it has become a mystical location known as Ultima Thule. Philosophically it means an extreme has been reached, geographically Ultima Thule means that a northernmost point has been reached. Over the past hundred years many places in the Arctic have been called Ultima Thule: Cape Morris Jesup, Kaffeklubben Island, Oodaaq Island and several lesser known islands. Of these all but one has been displaced, either by new discoveries or by the scouring action of the Arctic Ocean.
My book Beyond the Edge will take the reader on a one hundred and fifty year journey of discovery leading to Ultima Thule.
Interested in learning more about attempts to reach Ultima Thule? Get your copy of Beyond the Edge today!