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First steps towards North Pole

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 09, 2012

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  • PULLING POWER: Cornish Scout leader Wez Swain hauls tyres across Whitsand beach, simulating the sledge he will aim to pull across ice on first Scouts' expedition to the North Pole.

  • Cornish Scout leader Wez Swain on Whitsand beach. Photograph by Emily Whitfield-Wicks

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A SCOUT leader from Torpoint who plans to lead the first Scouting exhibition to the North Pole has come one step closer to selecting his team.

Last weekend, 33-year-old Wez Swain took a group of 12 Scouts, aged between18 and 24, to Dartmoor for the first stage of the selection process.

"It's more than just physical strength," he said. "We're looking for people who are good all round and those who can help us fundraise to make this happen."

The weekend started with a presentation from polar expert Antony Jinman, who teaches at Plymouth University.

"We gave them a big presentation on what life is actually like in the Arctic so they know what to expect," said Mr Swain. "They need to know what it is they are signing up to."

The next morning the team was woken up at 7.30 and completed a 30km hike across the tors. They faced what Mr Swain described as "typical Dartmoor weather", with a mix of sunshine, rain and hail.

The Scout leader, who works as a circus skills tutor, was impressed by all of those who took part. "It was really good. They are a fantastic bunch of Scouts," he said.

Mr Swain had planned to narrow down the group from 12 to 8 but he now hopes to expand the team.

"We have decided to extend the offer to all of those who took part because they were so good," he said.

"We thought that, if they are all prepared to find ways of raising the money, we would give them all the opportunity to go to the next stage in Norway."

In March next year the team will spend four days in Scandinavia to get used to Arctic conditions.

Afterwards the final team will be selected and will begin preparing for the trip to the North Pole, which will take place in spring 2014.

The Scout leader said he came up with the idea of going to the North Pole after watching a documentary when he was just 14. Now his dreams are finally coming true.

"It feels like it's a real project. It's actually going to happen," he said.

Mr Swain estimated the trip would cost around £200,000 and is now seeking sponsorship to help raise the funds.

To find out more about what makes Wez Swain tick, see his answers to our 20 Questions, below.

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