A man from Northern Ireland and his teenage son are to make an epic, record-breaking journey to the North Pole to raise funds for charity.
Niall Carton (45), the Russia-based head of financial investment at ING bank, and his 15-year-old son James are preparing for their big adventure in Oslo, Norway, at the moment.
On Friday they will fly to the Russian ice station at Barneo to start their odyssey to the North Pole, and if successful it is thought James will be the youngest person ever to have done this.
The intrepid duo will be pulling a sledge in temperatures that vary from -5C to -40C, and after a long day walking will set up camp, sleep in tents, cook their own food and even dig their own toilet, while running the risk of bumping into hungry polar bears.
Mr Carton, who is originally from Newcastle, Co Down, and his son have raised £7,400 for Barnardo's Ireland in advance of their challenge. Mr Carton, who has completed treks to the North Pole and South Pole, praised James' efforts and urged people to support their fundraising campaign.
"James will be youngest ever to ski to the North Pole unaided," he said. "As far as we can tell, four 15-year-olds have done it previously, but at 15 years and four months we think James will be youngest ever by around two months.
"As any parent, Sarah and I are so proud of James (right), and his commitment to the training has been so inspirational to us all. Any amount is super – please help us reach our target (£20,000). We feel truly blessed in our lives and very thankful to be able to do this and in some way make a difference to those in need."
Speaking from her home in Moscow yesterday, James' proud mum Sarah told the Belfast Telegraph her son and husband had been training hard for four months.
"They will walk the last degree, that is 60 nautical miles," she said. "When I say walk I mean walk on skis. They wear shorter, wider skies with skins on the bottom to stop them sliding backwards.
"They will walk for 10 hours a day on the continually moving ice."
Helena Carton – Niall's mother and James's grandmother – also said she was thrilled for her adventurous relatives, but admitted to being a little anxious about the challenge facing them.
"I am a wee bit worried," she added. "The last time Niall did it he broke ribs and punctured his lung.
"But we are very proud of them for taking on such a big challenge."
Follow the Cartons' progress from Friday by visiting this blog: http://polar explorers.com/polarexplorers- media/blog/north-pole
Barnardo's Ireland supports children whose well-being is under threat by working with them, their families and communities and by campaigning for the rights of children.
Niall and James Carton are fundraising for the charity by journeying to the North Pole.
To make a donation visit the 'Father and Son – Niall and James North Pole' donation page: www.mycharity.ie/event/the_youngest _person_to_ do_the_north_pole/