A RECORD-breaker’s attempt to row nearly 1,000 miles in the Southern Ocean just months after undergoing open heart surgery is due to get under way today (Thursday).

Jamie Douglas-Hamilton is part of a six-strong crew attempting to row from Elephant Island to South Georgia.

The challenge follows the route of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s James Caird boat in 1916.

Mr Douglas-Hamilton has vowed to raise £100,000 for the British Heart Foundation during the expedition in recognition of his experience and the care he received at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh last year.

The 41-year-old, from North Berwick, underwent open heart surgery after being diagnosed with a hereditary condition.

East Lothian Courier: Jamie Douglas-Hamilton, pictured with Vincenzo Giordano, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, is getting ready for a record-breaking challenge just months after open heart surgery

Jamie Douglas-Hamilton with Vincenzo Giordano, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

Named The Harry McNish Row, the voyage will follow the route sailed by the James Caird, which saved Shackleton and his crew after their main expedition ship, the Endurance, was sunk by pack ice in October 1915.

The Scotia Sea is considered the most dangerous ocean crossing in the world, extending from Drake Passage to South Georgia.

The relationship between Shackleton and the outspoken McNish, who built the boat, was difficult and Shackleton awarded almost all of the team the Polar Medal except McNish.

Believing this to be a great injustice, Mr Douglas-Hamilton is calling for the Polar Medal to be awarded posthumously to McNish’s family.

READ MOREJamie taking on Southern Ocean rowing challenge

The half-dozen rowers will take on the challenge in 90-minute shifts around the clock and hope to reach their destination in three weeks.

The crew will write their names into the record books as the first to row from the Antarctic continent, first to row the Scotia Sea by human power alone, and first to row the Southern Ocean from south to north.

Mr Douglas-Hamilton, a former Belhaven Hill School pupil who was part of a team that rowed from Chile to Antarctica in 2019, took to social media ahead of the challenge.

He said: “All packed, prepared and leaving Ushuaia to sail the Drake Passage to Arctowski research station on King George Island (northern Antarctica). One step closer.”

Go to justgiving.com/page/jamie-row-challenge to make a donation.