Greenland for go in polar kids trek trial

TEN teenagers have been selected to work with ground-breaking Scottish charity The Polar Academy on a trip of a lifetime to Greenland.

Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 8:30 am
The polar academy selection weekend included tough hiking in the hills near Glenmore Lodge by Aviemore
The polar academy selection weekend included tough hiking in the hills near Glenmore Lodge by Aviemore

The seven girls and three boys will take part in a self-guided 100km, 10-day expedition in Eastern Greenland next April.

All of them are pupils at Bathgate Academy in West Lothian.

Teacher Ellis McKay is also part of the expedition team while an additional ten pupils from Bathgate Academy have been selected for the back-up leadership team.

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Mollie Hughes, an explorer and Tiso ambassador – who in 2017 became the youngest woman in the world to successfully climb Mount Everest from both the north and south sides – is one of the expert guides on The Polar Academy expedition team.

The charity was set-up in 2013 by Scots polar explorer Craig Mathieson. His vision is to inspire youth through exploration and to help young people positively transform a life blighted by crushed self-confidence, anxiety and/or a lack of self-esteem.

Over the past five years, Mathieson has worked closely with teachers to identify what he calls ‘invisible’ youths.

To date, four expeditions involving pupils from a total of ten secondary schools have experienced the life-changing methods deployed by the charity that helps participants to redefine their physical and mental limits.

Mathieson, 49, said: “The pupils from Bathgate Academy who have come through the selection process should be proud of their achievement.

“It has been extremely hard to decide on those who can most benefit from being part of the 2019 Polar Academy expedition team. For those selected, the hard work starts now. Supported by the charity, their school and families, the youths can expect to fully commit to a programme that will include undertaking regular physical training.

“Like the many positively transformed youths who have gone before them, The Polar Academy will prepare the expedition team for the experience of hauling a 45kg sledge, navigating, camping, cooking and skiing across the wilds of Greenland in temperatures as low as minus 30C.

“Crucially, in the months ahead, as a team and individuals, they will encounter and overcome challenges that develop self-confidence and awaken the realisation that with focus and effort the seemingly impossible can be achieved. Just as importantly, their post-expedition talks to peer groups across Scotland will inspire thousands of other youths to pursue goals they too previously thought unattainable.”

More than 60,000 young people have already been involved with what’s been dubbed the toughest youth training programme in Europe. The explorers will head off in April next year for the ten-day trip.