South Scotland

Dumfries adventurer Jock Wishart prepares polar rugby challenge

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Media captionPolar adventurer Jock Wishart is leading a team of rugby players for a game at the North Pole for charity

Dumfries-born polar adventurer Jock Wishart is about to embark on his latest challenge.

Three years after rowing to the North Pole, he will trek there with 14 rugby players.

Their aim is to play the most northerly game of rugby sevens in the sport's history in temperatures that could reach -50C.

As well as being physically and mentally ready, he said players needed to respect the hostile environment.

"We would rather they be scared than be over-confident," he said.

"Because once you are scared then you listen and once you listen then you achieve.

"I don't see major problems in the physical side, it will probably be in the mind and how they take in what we call 'polar shock'."

'Badly wrong'

Image copyright Wooden Spoon
Image caption Jock Wishart, right, has been preparing the rugby players for their trip

He said everyone suffered from the extreme cold, especially in their first days.

"It is usually in the first week that they make the mistakes - and a mistake up there very easily can go very badly wrong," he added.

Andrew Walker, from Closeburn, is one of four Scottish players taking part in the challenge which aims to raise £300,000 for Wooden Spoon, rugby's charity for children.

"Jock has mentioned previously that you can't really prepare yourself mentally so I will just need to hope I hold up for that," he said.

"Physically I feel good, about three weeks ago I really thought I turned a corner and feel good-to-go.

"I feel fit, strong and I'm only 27 at the end of the day - Jock's got about 40 years on me, so if he can do it I can do it."

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