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Craig Mathieson

Founder The Polar Academy


"Taking the lessons learned from my time in both the Antarctic and Arctic, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to share my experiences. I believe everyone has their own ‘South Pole’ ambition and whatever it may be, I can show you how to achieve it.”

As well as having many years experience in the military and as a mountaineer, Craig has expedition experience in both Arctic and Antarctic regions. More recently, he has established ‘The Polar Academy’, a project aimed at the youth of Scotland which will instil confidence and self-belief through participation on polar expeditions.


At its heart is the objective of positively turning around the lives of 13-17-year-old youths whose self-esteem and self-confidence has been crushed by personal circumstances at home and / or school.  Many suffer from mental health issues.  Deemed by Craig as ‘invisible’ at school, annually the explorer selects ten teenage boys and girls who he believes can most benefit from his training methods.  After ten months of rigorous training at school, in the Scottish Highlands and in Arctic Greenland, the youth’s life is transformed.  Given the chance to redefine his or her physical and mental limits, each participant returns from Greenland with a ‘can do attitude’ and equipped to be a positive role model for the local community and among his or her peers. 

The Polar Academy trains the young adults participating to lead and to become future role models and leaders.  The children lead the 10-day Arctic expedition in Greenland. Because they are given the opportunity to lead, they are also trusted to lead.  They then become confident leaders. 

On their return to Scotland, each pupil shares their experiences with their peer groups, speaking to more than 30,000 school children in their region.  They are living, breathing proof that dreams are attainable and that ordinary pupils can achieve the truly extraordinary.  


Craig is also the Explorer-in-Residence for the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and the Director of Membership for the UK and Northern Ireland Chapter of The Explorers Club.


When he has spare time he enjoys leather and horn carving and is often seen on the rivers with his fly rod.

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