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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 01:20 GMT 02:20 UK
Schoolboy begins Arctic adventure
By Mona McAlinden
BBC Scotland news website

Jordan Maguire
The 15-year-old will sit his exams shortly after he returns
While most school pupils are spending the Easter holidays contemplating exams, Jordan Maguire is setting off on a epic journey to the North Pole.

The 15-year-old from Uplawmoor, East Renfrewshire, is embarking on a world record attempt to become the youngest boy to walk to the Earth's northernmost point.

Jordan said he had always dreamt of going to the Arctic.

On Monday, he will begin that journey; making his way across the North Sea to Norway, then to northern Russia, where he will start his 10-day trek.

Yet the fourth-year pupil, who will sit his standard grade exams just four days after he returns, seemed surprisingly laid back about his extraordinary hike across some of the world's most extreme terrain.

The pragmatic teenager spoke about the trip of a lifetime in the same vein as a Sunday afternoon stroll.

A training expedition to Norway in February, which involved dragging tyres uphill in temperatures of -20C, gave him a taste of what to expect in the Arctic.

But he said the most difficult aspect of turning his dream into reality had been raising the 18,000 needed to fund the trip.

"The physical training was tough but getting the sponsorship has been the hardest part," he said.

"We've been planning the expedition for more than a year but I did have concerns at the beginning that I wouldn't be able to do it.

"It's a lot of money to raise, you send off hundreds of letters and might only get a handful of positive responses."

The biggest danger will be falling through the ice and coming across polar bears
Jordan Maguire

The Hutchesons' Grammar pupil also aims to raise 4,000 for the children's charity WellChild.

Jordan will make his way to the North Pole, alongside six other travellers, by Nordic-style uphill skiing.

He will also have to drag an 80kg sledge some 70 miles in heavy snow for nine hours a day.

Temperatures could be as low as -40C, while ice ridges and polar bears could present further dangers.

But the schoolboy is philosophical. "You can't do anything about the temperatures, you just have to face it," he said.

"The biggest danger will be falling through the ice or coming across polar bears. The crew will have a rifle though, to scare away any bears."

At a time when most people his age will be munching on Easter eggs, Jordan will survive on high calorie food cooked in handfuls of snow.

Training in Norway in February 2006
Jordan trained for his 70-mile trek in Norway in February

He will sleep in a tent on the ice and will even have to curl up with bread and jam to prevent them from freezing.

His family will see him off at Glasgow on Monday and mum Karen appeared more nervous about the expedition than her son.

She said: "I'll be glad when it's over, to be honest.

"Initially I was against him doing it but he persisted and I realised what a fantastic experience it would be for him."

Yet, step-dad Bernard seemed to share Jordan's adventurous spirit.

He said: "My attitude was that he should go for it. People should push themselves as far as they can."




SEE ALSO:
Nurse set for North Pole marathon
31 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Pole adventurer in academy call
26 May 05 |  Scotland
South Pole success for Scots team
29 Dec 04 |  Scotland


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