A DEPUTY with a head for heights and a thirst for adventure is preparing to pack up everything he needs to keep himself alive in Europe's last remaining wildness inside the brutal and unrelenting Arctic Circle. Essentially that includes chicken korma, sweet and sour and chocolate pudding!

It also includes socks, gloves, hydration salts and recovery shakes to help Steve Hill's body recuperate as he spends hours each day pounding marathon distances across the ice and snow in temperatures dipping down to -30C in Sweden's frozen north.

Despite having to travel light, the thrill-seeking St Joseph's RC Primary School teacher - who was given an MBE in 2015 - has also made room for a few things equally vital to his survival and motivation as he undertakes what is set to be his most testing challenge yet - the brutal Ice Ultra Marathon covering 230km (143 miles) in five days.

Tucked alongside dehydrated food and spare clothes will be letters addressed to "Mr Hill" from his Year 6 pupils, good luck charms and keepsakes to remind him why he's putting himself through one of the toughest foot races and extreme challenges on earth.

His previous feats include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, completing the North Pole Marathon and last summer the Amazon Jungle Ultra Marathon and the Petra Desert Marathon and over the years he, with the help of his classes, have raised over £80,000 for local and national causes.

But this, he says, is "the biggie", having to be totally self-sufficient in one of the most demanding environments in the world and those little messages from youngsters at the Shaw school will take on greater significance as he draws on everything he's got to get through it.

"The kids write me letters saying thing like "We believe in you sir" and "We know you can do it"," said 46-year-old Steve.

"I tend to open a couple at the start of each day and it's a lovely motivation knowing they're all rooting for me back home.

"They also give me things to take like good luck charms and I always take a school tie. When your spirits get low and things get tough this is what lifts me.

"The thought of coming back having not completed it frightens me to death.

"Kids think you're invincible and I'm always telling them to push the boundaries so I can't even contemplate not finishing.

"It's going to be tough, there's not doubt about that, but the kids drive me on."

During the day Steve will fight across varied terrain including forests and frozen lakes, in whatever the weather throws at him, covering around 24 miles a day which builds to a staggering 57 miles in the final fifth stage.

Last year just 12 out of the 30 taking part finished with many being redrawn due to the threat of hyperthermia and frost nip.

"The important thing is to keep warm and keep moving because once that cold sets in its hard to get warm again and that's when the danger of hyperthermia and frost nip set in and you will be pulled out of the race if that happens," said Steve.

"I always tell my class keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward and that's what I'll be focusing on.

"The kids have been helping me a put a playlist of music together to keep me inspired including "Runnin" by Beyonce. Stuff to help me through and keep me going through the tough times."

At the end of each stage he will sleep in Sami tents, tepees which are home to the area's native Sami people.

After a choice of korma or tikka masala, sweet and sour or macaroni cheese for evening meal, it's time to get as much sleep as possible before starting all over again over five days.

"Once you're inside the tent and settled you just pray you don't need to nip out to the loo," said Steve.

"But once that thought is in your head you know you've got to go!

"It's porridge for breakfast and I'm taking Kendal Mint Cake, energy bars, liquorice and nuts to keep my energy levels up while I'm on the moves. I'll also take Fisherman's Friends to awaken the senses."

Steve brought a selection of his meals in for his class to try and with a mix of reactions.

"It went down pretty well in fact they ate it all and I've had to order some more so it can't have been that bad," he said.

Our pictures show it wasn't to everyone's taste but 11-year-old Phoebe Barlow told us: "I tried the curries and I thought they were really nice, especially the korma. The chocolate biscuit pudding was really good. It was just like eating melted chocolate.

"Mr Hill is really inspiring and a really good teacher and he's going to do this no problem."

Fellow classmate Milly Newall, aged 10, said: "The food was a bit different but tasted really good.

"I think Mr Hill is going to do really well in this challenge. He's the best teacher and we can't wait to see him back in class with his medal."

Steve - and Year 6 children who have been holding all sorts of events to raise money in school - is aiming to raise around £4-5,000 for Dr Kershaw's Hospice, Cancer Research UK, RSPCA Oldham, St Joseph's PTA and Supporting Shane, a fund which helps out Year 6 pupil, Shane Keating, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Steve, who is self-funding the trip, flies out on February 18 to begin his latest epic adventure.

"The race starts on the 20th and finishes on the Saturday," he said.

"I'll be flying back on the Sunday and back at my desk on the Monday, hopefully with a medal. If I'm not there I'll be lost in the wilderness somewhere so send out a search party!

"I'm really starting to get excited now and everything is laid out ready to go.

"It's a weird feeling when you're on the start line and everything you need to survive for a week is on your back. It's a liberating feeling to be self-sufficient.

"I'm always telling the kids how important it is to come out of your comfort zone and do you best. It's about having self belief, dream big, aim high and work hard to achieve. It's a big world out there so get out and explore it."

You can follow Steve's progress at www.beyondtheultimate.co.uk via a tracker which goes live on February 20.