At just 14 years old Benji Edwards is aiming to become the youngest person ever to sail around the North Pole.

The mission is also a personal goal for Benji, who lives with a painful long-term condition affecting his gut. By undertaking this task, he hopes to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Since setting sail at the beginning of July, Benji has been writing for ITV News about about his incredible journey.

Benji and the crew began their journey in July Credit: Polar Ocean Challenge

Tuesday 9 August

"As it turned out in the end there were two major benefits in staying where we were in that bay for as long as we did. The first is that we did eventually leave, the second is that I got my wish - I saw a polar bear.

"It was yesterday, we'd got the dingy out and inflated it. That alone took a good hour-and-a-half because we hadn't done it before on this trip so to some extent we learnt as we went. Denis has hurt his back, so our most able bodied crewman was, to an extent, out of action.

"After assembling and inflating the RIB (ridged inflatable boat) we had to lower it into the water off the side.

"To do this you attach the rib to one of the halyards we have and then hoist the dingy up and lower it over the side. This is as tedious as it sounds. You have one person on the winch hoisting the boat (David), and at least two people pushing the boat over the side into the water(me and Nikolai).

"After that merry escapade Nikolai took the rib out with me in it - he was steering, I had a GoPro and found a shallow beach where we could get off onto land.

"When we returned to Northabout, Mum, Barbara and Constance got on board and we went ashore. Once we were ashore we went about doing all the usual touristy things, taking pictures and so on.

"We then walked about two hundred and fifty meters along and up to a cairn with a large stick sticking out of the top. It was the only man-made thing I could see.

"The land there was fairly flat and honestly could just have been Scotland, so from our meagre vantage point we could see the entire bay. I want to go back there.

"We then started walking back down to the beach to the dingy at which point Ros (mum) looked up at the other side of the bay and said 'that's a polar bear'.

"I immediately looked round to where she'd been facing and saw three white dots making their way along the bay towards us. I shouted 'bears!' to alert anyone who hadn't heard Ros or needed any encouragement to start running.

"We all ran back to the boat and got in quickly, I pushed it off and jumped in while Nikolai started the engine. Once we were in the water we were safe, the RIB could outrun a polar bear in the water so there was no reason to panic.

"Nikolai brought us in a little closer and we could see that it was a large mother with two decidedly messy cubs. We hung around a bit taking pictures and generally feeling pleased with ourselves and then went back to the yacht.

"When we got back I got out with Ros, Barbara and Constance, David and Denis got in. They then went and had a look as well.

"As the bears went away they got out of the dingy and walked about the beach a bit, but nothing as adventurous as our trip to the cairn. From the boat as they landed we could just see the three white dots disappearing over the hill, and that was how I came to see a polar bear - box ticked.

"Three days earlier it had been Denis's birthday. He's now 33 and tomorrow Nikolai turns 61.

"Barbara, Constance and Ros made a cake for Denis using the bread maker we have and the microwave. It was very nice.

"I hadn't been able to get Denis a birthday present in Murmansk but I did get Nikolai one in Lerwick. I think he'll appreciate it.

"We left the bay this afternoon. At about one o'clock we hoisted the anchor and went off.

"I was asleep for all that unfortunately and only woke up when we put the sails up. This was because the engine turned off and the boat tipped, so I fell out of bed.

"With luck we should pass the next strait, the Viltitsky strait, which is notorious for being blocked with ice for most of the year, within the next forty eight hours and maybe come across some pack ice.

"The first people to pass the Vilkitsky strait, when there was more ice than there is these days, took several attempts over several years. Ice would slow us down but would be a lot of fun.

"I'll write again when we pass the strait and get into the Laptev sea".

The crew spotted a family of polar bears Credit: Polar Ocean Challenge

Tuesday 9 August

"We have now reached the ice. Since seven o'clock this morning we've been weaving around chunks of ice varying in size from a pebble to much much larger than this boat.

"The experience is more or less what I expected: you have to be concentrating all the time to find the right passage and much to my frustration it is often necessary to double back to find a space through the ice that you can fit through.

"We have seen a few tall icebergs. These are all from sea ice rather than having been detached from a glacier so almost all of them are just at sea level.

"We had to turn the engine on and take the sails down so that we can manoeuvre properly.

"This isn't a worry however, because of how much sailing we did between Murmansk and this strait we now have enough range by fuel to go all the way to Point Barrow under engine, but hopefully it won't come to that.

"I have found that I really enjoy steering the yacht through the ice flows, but much to Ros (mum)'s disappointment all the bits of ice she's pointed out to me I had already noticed.

"The air temperature is the coldest we've had so far - only one degree - but it's enough for me to wear five layers on watch.

"Today is Nikolai's birthday. He's 61 and still doing this sort of stuff on a regular basis.

"In Bristol before we left we were visited by a lady named Margaret Gorely. She had followed the progress of the shakedown voyage last year and had learnt that she and Nikolai share the same birthday.

"When she came to see us she gave me a bottle of champagne as a present for him and asked me to bring back the cork from the bottle. I've kept this a secret from everyone except Dad who was there when Margaret visited so that they couldn't let slip to Nikolai, I've been using it as a pillow so no one sees it.

"We're going to celebrate his birthday at dinner, I'll give it to him then.

"If we manage to get through this strait we're attempting at the moment the entire trip should be all OK.

"It's the one real tight point that still has potentially troublesome ice in it from here to the North West Passage, so we'll see. I'll write to you again to report on Nikolai's 61st".

Benji has been doing some late-night watches Credit: Polar Ocean Challenge

Wednesday 10 August

"Hello. So it's three in the morning at the moment and I'm on anchor watch. "On my watch last night we were wandering along happily when we suddenly came across some ice that was too thick for us to go through. As a result we've had to turn back and try to go closer to the shore where we thought it would be thin enough to get through.

"I went to bed after my watch so I'm not sure what happened next but now we've beached ourselves on a massive chunk of ice as a sort of anchor and I assume waiting for a couple of days for the ice to clear a bit.

"I hope to be able to get off and walk around the iceberg a little, who knows how strong it is though.

"Nikolai's birthday was good. There was cake and mashed potato and fishcakes - a feast by the standards of the boat.

"As a present I gave him a woolly puffin hat from Lerwick and he got various other things from other people as well. I wasn't actually there for the blowing out of the candles or the much of the actual meal because I was steering and the ice was a little tricky at that point.

"I really enjoy helming through ice though, you can treat it as a sought of game.

"Don't hit the icebergs is the objective and if you hit one that's large enough at the right speed it's game over. Fortunately that hasn't happened yet.

"Given where we are for the moment I intend to get a lot of pictures of the ice and the boat together, with luck that should be possible, the weathers good enough at the moment anyway.

"I'll write again when we start moving or we see another polar bear or something".

Birthday cake for the birthday crew member Credit: Polar Ocean Challenge