A GROUP of intrepid Lornshill Academy boys will try to conquer the unforgiving Canadian wilderness in an effort to earn their Duke of Edinburgh Gold award.

The quintet will be travelling to Nova Scotia next year along with their leader John Nicolson and a group of girls from Broughton High School in Edinburgh.

Over the course of 11 days, the teenagers – Alexander Payne, Kye O'Hagan, Thomas Nimmo, Keir Wedlock and Alexander Young – will have their canoeing skills put to the test.

Furthermore, six days will be spent in the wilderness of Kejimkujik National Park in the south of Nova Scotia, where there will be a focus on being self-sufficient.

The group will all sleep in tents, with each youngster expected to do their fair share of cooking and cleaning.

A friend of John's works with the girls from Broughton and brought up the idea of taking the trip to complete the Gold award. From there, the trip began to take shape.

"This is not a jolly by any means," John said. "These guys are going to work really hard.

"They only started paddling canoes in April this year. They've learned how to canoe to a high standard very quickly."

Although the trip is a huge challenge for the boys, John has no doubts about their ability to adapt to new surroundings and challenges.

He added: "I had no hesitation about saying yes to this trip. These boys are really fast learners and they're a superb group to work with.

"I messaged the boys saying the opportunity had come about. They were all right up for it."

The group will also be visiting a First Nations community to meet with people their own age and learn about the heritage of the Mi'kmaq people, and will be exploring the long links between Clackmannanshire and Nova Scotia.

Kye, one of the boys in the group, is especially excited for the trip.

He said: "I'm looking forward to it a lot. I've never been to Canada but it sounds and looks beautiful."

Kye only just learned that it will be up to the boys to prepare the meals, although he doesn't have any doubts about it.

He added: "I didn't know we would be doing the cooking, but it's all part of the experience. When we did our Silver (Duke of Edinburgh award) it showed how much everyone relies on each other."

Alexander, another member, said is most looking forward to representing the area.

He said: "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"It's a lot of responsibility to represent Clackmannanshire, but it gives us the chance to show what people from here can do."