Active Activities Outdoors

British Exploring Society will select 12 Young Explorers to develop their leadership

Brish Exploring Society’s new Pinnacle programme takes the best of 87 years’ experience in cultivating character, knowledge and skills to support the development of leadership talent for the future.
Photo by Galen Crout on Unsplash

 British Exploring Society will run a selection day to find up to 12 participants from across the UK, from any background, for this programme, simply looking for commitment, determination, resilience, and a ferocious appetite to learn.  Successful candidates will work with the charity’s professional expedition Leaders to design and organise the entire expedition – which will include a strong element of field science – to the world’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Baikal, in Siberia. The expedition will depart early in 2021.

In June 2019, the CBI published a new report: Getting young people ‘work ready’. In it, John Cope, CBI Head of Education & Skills, commented: “Young people have knowledge and potential in abundance, but the rounded character, real world experience and creativity needed to apply knowledge is sometimes lacking….”  This is what the Pinnacle Programme will deliver in abundance for those taking part.

The participants will be young adults with previous outdoor experience. A Pinnacle Explorer will be given access to remarkable opportunities to develop their character, knowledge and skills, both pre and post expedition. Working with exceptional Leaders for an entire year before departure will mean that the participants will work together as a team on everything from logistics, navigation, and medical provision to setting their science goals. 

Post-expedition, the Charity hopes that Pinnacle participants will apply their new skills and experience to progress their careers  – as all past explorers have done over the last 8 decades – also advocating for the benefits of challenging experiences outside the classroom as a an essential part of preparation for a successful adult life. 

Lake Baikal is an environmentally unique location. It will be the first time that British Exploring Society has undertaken an expedition there. The physical challenges will be considerable, as the explorers will be living and working on the frozen lake at temperatures of around -10 degrees for much of the expedition.

The programme will involve pre- and post- expedition UK training, as well as 3 weeks in Siberia. The Pinnacle Explorers will be supported by 4 professional leaders – Chief Leader, Adventure Leader, Science Leader, and Medical Leader. All British Exploring Society Leaders are volunteers.

The Pinnacle programme has been made possible by the Sandy & Zorica Glen Charitable Settlement and inspired by the remarkable life of Alexander (Sandy) Glen. Born in Glasgow in 1912, he read geography at Balliol College, Oxford and whilst there led two expeditions to the Arctic, learning how to control husky dogs and dig igloos. His first expedition was in 1932, the same year British Exploring Society was founded, to Spitzbergen, Norway. He was part of an eight-man crew of a 45ft Peterhead fishing boat that completed 4,000 miles of sailing and two months of surveying.

A year later, Sandy led a 16-man undergraduate summer expedition to Spitzbergen to carry out topographical and geological surveys, spending some winter months with the Lapps of northern Sweden. In 1935, he led another expedition, establishing a research station on the ice cap of North East Land. 

Between leaving Oxford and World War II Sandy worked in banking in New York and London. He joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1938. He was precluded from an executive commission because of defective eyesight and so trained as a meteorological officer. He later transferred to Naval Intelligence where he worked with Ian Fleming. In 1940, he became assistant naval attaché in Belgrade where he met his future wife, Zorica.

Sandy was awarded the Norwegian War Cross in 1943, appointed as Knight of St Olav in 1944, received the Patron’s Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1940, the Polar Medal (silver clasp) in 1942. and in 1967 he was given a knighthood (KBE).  In 1975 he published his memoirs “Footholds Against a Whirlwind”. He died on March 6th, 2004.Applicants have until the end of the 2019 to complete their applications. For further information visit

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