Stonehaven teenager Liam Byrne has set off in the hope of becoming the youngest person to scale Europe’s highest mountain.
The 13-year-old, who already holds the title of youngest Scot to scale Kilimanjaro, will attempt to climb Mount Elbrus in Russia accompanied by his former Royal Marine dad, Mike.
The pair will also be joined by polar adventurer Charlie Paton who has reached the magnetic South Pole a record-breaking eight times.
The trio have allowed themselves 10 days to conquer the mountain, which lies on the geographical dividing line between Europe and Asia.
They flew to Moscow last Tuesday, then travelled to Min Vody, the nearest access point to the summit.
Speaking before the climb, Charlie (44) said Liam would have to contend with ice-climbing.
He added: “He will get a good introduction to crampons, ice axe and being tied on a rope as a team.
“For us, the last day is probably the hardest day just because it is a big climb.
“It is 1700m (5577ft) so that is a long last summit challenge which gets a lot of people with the altitude sickness.”
Liam said: “I am just excited really and looking forward to it. It is something new for me.
“On the Kilimanjaro climb, the most difficult thing for me was the lack of sleep. For me it is about climbing and the experience.”
Mike added that Liam, who has been playing rugby since the age of five and holds a brown belt in kickboxing, was planning to climb the seven highest mountains in the world over the next few years.
He said: “I couldn’t be prouder of him- he really is a little legend.
“His attitude is just fantastic, he has the mental strength and physical fitness of someone far older than himself .
“I guess some of my time as a Commando has rubbed off on him because he always wants to train.
“We go for runs in the snow and rain and he even says the old Marine motto ‘if it’s not raining, it’s not training’.
“We are expecting temperatures around -20C and have educated him about frostbite and other parts of arctic training.
“It’s slightly less high than Kilimanjaro although it’s steeper and colder.
“But he has absolutely no fear- he just can’t wait to get going really.”