Gavin heads off on Arctic expedition

AN ARMY recruit is taking on the challenge of a life time deep within the Arctic Circle.

Thursday, 22nd July 2010, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd July 2010, 12:30 pm

Gavin Rae (16) from Seafar, flew out to Svalbard, in the Arctic Circle on Sunday, to undertake a month long Coastal Svalbard expedition, which will involve kayaking and mountaineering in one of the harshest, most remote landscapes in the world.

The former Greenfaulds High School pupil was selected for the adventure through the Army Award Scheme, after recently completing a year long NVQ carpentry joinery course at Anniesland College.

He said: "I'm looking forward to the expedition, although I do have a few nerves as well. It's unreal the amount of kit I need to take, as well as lots of warm clothing.

"I have always wanted to join the armed forces and I am sure that this expedition will provide me with some of the vital skills I will need when I join the Army later in the year."

The expedition has been organised by the British Schools Exploring Society (BSES), a youth development charity which arranges challenging scientific expeditions for young people aged 16-23, to help develop confidence, teamwork and leadership skills.

The trips gives youngsters, like Gavin, the opportunity to live and work in some of the remotest areas of the world and undertake valuable environmental research which is provided to local and UK academic and charitable bodies.

Gavin, who is to begin his training with the 1st Royal Tank Regiment in September, is the first person from Scotland to take part in a BSES expedition.

And with temperatures in the Arctic averaging -4 degrees, Gavin headed to the slopes of Glasgow's SnoZone for some practice, before heading off on his adventure.

He added: "I was surprised and excited when I was asked to take part in the Coastal Svalbard expedition. I can't wait to get out there and take on the challenge."

Major Connell Webb, Army Careers Advisor for South West Scotland said: "Gavin has been working hard for over a year to achieve his aim of joining the Army and I am delighted that his commitment has paid off. This expedition is a fantastic opportunity for him to experience a unique environment. It is a real demonstration of the opportunities on offer to young men and women through the choice of an Army career."