Fife Polar Academy pupils start ‘insanity’ training

The pupils and parents taking part in the 'insanity workout' sessions.
The pupils and parents taking part in the 'insanity workout' sessions.

Bell Baxter pupils have been learning the meaning of the word ‘insanity’, in preparation for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Greenland.

Twenty children have been selected to take part in the Polar Academy, dubbed the toughest youth programme in Europe.

The team – made up of an expedition group, ten children chosen to go, and leadership group, ten who are back-up – have been training for the last three weeks.

The training will continue until next Easter, when the pupils take part in an expedition. The 10-day expedition will take them to Greenland – and that is where the challenge begins. It is self-guided, with the students deciding on the route, all the while dragging a sled with their gear on board.

To make sure they are ready for the challenge, explorer Craig Matheson is improving their cardio and endurance, putting them on the ‘insanity workout’. The children, and even some of the parents, take part in half hour sessions after school on Thursday.

“It’s insane,” explained parent Corrinne Davidson, whose daughter, Ember, is part of the expedition team.

“All the 20 kids do it and some of the parents join in. It’s really good fun. The first week, we had kids crying and one threw up. But he got straight back in and continued. The second week, they were all back in, smiles on their faces. This week, all week, my daughter has been ‘I can’t wait until Thursday and the Insanity training’. It’s grown on them.”

Ember added: “The first week was tough, but the more we do it gets progressively easier.”

The training sessions will continue until the end of the year, when the team start with endurance training.

When they are not improving their fitness, the team have also been raising funds for the trip, which costs £170,000. They have been organising everything from bake sales to hallowe’en events, and attending galas and fetes to share information about the Polar Academy.

To keep up-to-date with the team, visit