Craig Mathieson, December 2014
The Polar Academy continues to flourish, and the participants have now completed their week-long training at Glenmore Lodge. They were all put through their paces, covering everything from navigation to expedition first-aid. The final three days saw the team out on the hills, this mini-expedition teaching them the importance of team work and basic expedition camping.
Each member had to carry a heavy rucksack over very rough ground, across rivers and up hills for several hours each day, before having to set up their camp and prepare their own food. By the end of the week, they were left with no doubt on the levels of fitness required for the expedition to the Arctic.
Training never stops however; each week team members have to attend after-school training sessions, plus multi-trips to their local gym (North Lanarkshire Council kindly gave everyone a free gym pass as part of their support).
Looking forward, discussions have taken place with other local authorities, including Edinburgh and Perth & Kinross, to replicate what we are doing in North Lanarkshire. My vision would be for every local authority across Scotland to put a team forward and let the invisible kids in our schools shine and be true role models to their peers.