Edinburgh pupils to haul 15kg tyres ahead of trip to Arctic

Polar Academy expedition training with tyres on St Andrews beach. Picture: The Polar Academy
Polar Academy expedition training with tyres on St Andrews beach. Picture: The Polar Academy
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IT will be an exercise class like no other – and one few would relish on an otherwise lazy Sunday afternoon.

But for adrenaline mad pupils from Broughton High and Fettes College the chance to set an unofficial world record for tyre-hauling is not an opportunity to miss.

Tomorrow they will take part in an eight-hour energy sapping test and fundraising event, less than a month before many of them undertake a life-changing 100km expedition to Arctic Greenland.

Within the grounds of Fettes, 100 pupils aged between 14 and 17 will take turns over eight hours to haul a 15kg tyre, attached to their body with a harness, to simulate the load of a sled being pulled over ice. In Greenland, each pupil will haul a sled of 40kg for up to eight hours a day.

The challenge will ensure that eight pupils at any one time are hauling tyres over the one-mile course.

Craig Mathieson, expedition leader and founder of the charity The Polar Academy which is taking the pupils to Greenland, said he hoped the public would be inspired by the world record attempt to attend and to donate to the cause. Every year it needs to raise £170,000 to operate and since 2013 – and with the support of Edinburgh-based outdoor retailer Tiso – has pursued a vision of inspiring youth through exploration, giving “invisible” pupils lacking in self-confidence and self-esteem, the opportunity to positively transform their lives.

Mr Mathieson said: “Two previous expeditions by The Polar Academy have shown how ordinary pupils can achieve the extraordinary and positively transform young lives.

“On Sunday, members of the public can come to Fettes College and watch the third expedition team, the ten-strong leadership team and additional pupils from Fettes College work together as they aim to set an unofficial world record.

“Significantly, the 20 pupils within The Polar Academy will be achieving yet another personal milestone on a journey that is helping a previously shy and invisible teenager transform into a fit, confident and inspirational young person and to become a role model in their community.”

While the pupils’ mental and physical strength is tested by continuous tyre hauling, members of the public are being invited to test their own fitness tomorrow with two challenges on offer. They involve helping to haul a two-tonne Isuzu Yukon truck and participating in a 30-minute work-out session that is typical of the pupils’ daily fitness regime.

Rhys Rowlands, head of outdoor pursuits at Fettes College, said: “There is still a lot of training and preparation to take place but the students are on course and doing really well.”