Here at Nordic Outdoor we love to hear about your adventures and there isn’t a better adventure this year than the 2019 Polar Academy. Founded in 2013 by Craig Mathieson, 2019 will mark the fifth Polar Academy expedition and is the most exciting to date. The core principle of the Polar Academy is identifying ‘invisible’ 14-17 years old secondary school children, crushed by a lack of self-esteem and giving them the chance to redefine their physical and mental limits through what has been described as Europe’s toughest youth training programme.


Founder of the Polar Academy Craig Mathieson has been exploring both the Arctic and Antarctic regions for over 20 years and in this time has successfully led the first dedicated Scottish Expedition to the South Pole and led an expedition to the North Pole which included a 16-year-old boy. In the same year Craig founded the Polar Academy he was Appointed the first explorer in Residence by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, the first to be awarded this position in 129 years.

For the 2019 expedition Craig and the team will be joined by Edinburgh based explorer Mollie Hughes who in 2017 became the youngest woman in the world to scale both the North and South sides of Mount Everest. Having been a part of the Polar Academy adventure for several years now Mollie will be joining in 2019 for her first full Polar Academy expedition.


Polar Academy


After a year’s rigorous training the ten hand picked students from Bathgate Academy will undertake a gruelling and life changing self-guided 100km, 10-day expedition through Eastern Greenland.  This expedition is the hardest challenge any of the participants will ever have undertaken to date and is designed to provide a life changing experience and show the participants what they can achieve.  During the 10-day expedition those involved will face temperatures below -20C and will haul their own 45kg sledges across sea ices and remote mountain passes on x-country skis. The daily undertaking will not only test the participants mentally but will also see them burning over 3,000 calories a day.

On their return to Scotland the pupils will speak to more than 20,000 school children in their region and become walking examples that dreams are attainable and that ordinary pupils can achieve the extraordinary. Describing how the challenge will affect the lives of those involved Craig Mathieson stated;

“As a team and individuals, they will encounter and overcome challenges that develop self-confidence and awakens 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.”

The 2019 Polar Academy expedition is looking to become the most exciting expedition to date thanks to the involvement of the BBC who will be filming the entire process from selection to completion for a feature length documentary which is set to air at the end of 2019. Alongside this the Polar Academy will be the focus of two 30-minute BBC radio productions and a CBBC show which will follow three of the participants throughout their intense training regime.


Polar Academy Nordic Outdoor


Nordic Outdoor are proud to have an association with such a brilliant charity such as the Polar Academy and for 2019 the team will be using one of our Tentipi Safir 15 CP’s as their evening base camp, somewhere to cook, decompress and bond as a team after a long day in the Arctic.  As a charity everything the Polar Academy do is self-funded so if you want to get involved and help an organisation which truly makes a difference you can head to the Polar Academy website. You can also donate via text, Paypal and Just Giving (head to the Polar Academy website for details). While you are waiting for the upcoming documentary you can see some footage from the Polar Academy 2016 expedition below;


You can follow the Polar Academy trip through their social media channels and if you want to find out any more information about what other expeditions Nordic Outdoor supports with then drop us an email at [email protected] or find us on FacebookInstagram or Twitter