TWO Edinburgh ex-Servicemen have launched a challenge to raise as much money as possible for Poppyscotland – by driving across volcanoes.
Operation RagnaroK will involve driving on tricky off-road terrain to the summits of five or six volcanoes across Iceland in a pick-up truck during August.
Matt McHugh, 26, and Rhys Rowlands, 29, have begun training for the trechearous conditions they will face during their challenge – including wiching their pick-up truck, named Louis, on a rock face at a near vertical angle.
Matt trained as a mine clearance diver with the Royal Navy for two years but had to leave after being diagnosed with a heart condition. After discharge he received employment training support from Poppyscotland.
Rhys served with 2 SCOTS and retired from the Army last year following a serious leg injury sustained while on tour in Afghanistan.
Both men are passionate about the work of Poppyscotland and are raising funds to ensure that serving and ex-Service people and their families can receive support when they need it, both now and in the future.
Their challenge is entirely self-funded which means that all money raised will be donated to Poppyscotland.
The name Operation RagnaroK is derived from an old Norse term that is interpreted as Final Destiny of the Gods and the pair are bracing themselves for a tough time ahead.
Matt said: “I have always wanted to see lava and, admittedly, there might be simpler ways to do this but tackling these volcanoes and reaching the summits is going to be a huge adventure and will test our endurance and stamina to the maximum.
“Raising money for Poppyscotland is just as important as the physical challenge. I was helped by the charity to train for a new career and I want to give something back so that they can carry on helping veterans lead fulfilling lives on their return to civilian life.”
Rhys added: “The rocky, off-road environment and varying climate of Iceland will test our resilience, and perseverance. The attributes and skills we learned in the military will help us to operate in this remote area but it will still be extremely hazardous.
“As a former soldier, Poppyscotland is a cause close to my heart and I really hope people will get behind Operation RagnaroK and donate as much as they can to help the charity continue to make a difference to those in need.”