Afghanistan veteran and former Banchory Academy pupil Ruaraidh Stewart has put down his weapons and picked up his weights to start a new career as a personal fitness instructor.
The 20 year-old has just qualified as an instructor after six months with 3 Scots (The Black Watch) in Afghanistan and set up his own business helping people get in shape.
Fitness fanatic Ruaraidh missed the gym so much on his tour that he took it on himself to build his own, using anything that came to hand for his comrades to work out on.
He said: “Building the gym while were on tour was quite a challenge. At places like Camp Bastion the facilities are great but some camps are pretty basic. However we managed to make a bench press out of planks of wood and picket rails, a squat rack from sticks from the fortified walls, a pulley machine that incorporated wheels from a wheelbarrow and cable machines from rope, wood and other wheels we found lying around.”
Ruaraidh explained that soldiering was in his family: “I first did basic training through the TA in summer 2010 immediately after I finished sixth year at Banchory academy. My father was in the Seaforth Highlanders so the seed was planted from a young age. Aspects of the tour were very hard, the temperature plummeted from forty degrees Celsius to minus fifteen overnight in the week before Christmas making adapting to the physical demands involved all the more difficult.”
He is however looking forward to the more comfortable climes of Deeside and his new career: “It’s great to be doing something I enjoy while making a living from it and helping people to get fit.”