Survivors of the Edinburgh Academy child abuse scandal are among those aiming to scale Mount Everest to raise money for charity.

Giles Moffat, 51, gave evidence about the cruel and abusive behaviour he experienced while he was a pupil to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry last year.

He also recently gave evidence during an ‘examination of facts’ at Edinburgh Sheriff Court involving former Edinburgh Academy teacher John Brownlee, when the Sheriff ruled that Brownlee had committed a number of violent assaults against children at the school.

He's one of 12 men and women in ‘Team Uprising’ who have travelled to Nepal to trek 150km at ultra-high altitude on the world’s highest mountain.

The team will trek over nine days to Everest Base Camp together, and then Mr Moffatt will continue with fellow Edinburgh Academy abuse survivors Neil MacDonald and Neil Russell plus friends and supporters, Andy Leslie and Mitch Smith, to undertake an ice climb to the 6,119-metre summit of Lobuche.

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Mr Moffatt and Mr Leslie will then aim to summit the world's highest mountain, with the intention of reaching the peak by the end of May.

Mr Moffat, who lives in Rye, East Sussex, said: “Childhood abuse causes mental health problems, addictions, self-harm, low self-worth, anxiety, relationship and work problems throughout life. 

“We want to use our own negative childhood experiences to help other children who have been abused, and those who may be at risk, and raise awareness of the wide-ranging and long-lasting impact of childhood abuse.

“This trip is part climbing, part fundraising, part therapy.

The Herald: Giles MoffatGiles Moffat (Image: NSPCC)

“We can’t change our past, but we can do something to prevent other children from experiencing the horrors that we endured. We want a zero-tolerance of any form of abuse of children and hope to inspire others to have the courage to speak up and seek support.”

Another member of Team Uprising, Neil Russell, 67, also gave evidence at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in Edinburgh last year about his experience of physical, sexual and emotional abuse when he was a pupil at Edinburgh Academy.

The main perpetrator of his abuse was Hamish Dawson, who died in 2009. At the inquiry Dawson was accused of multiple instances of emotional and physical abuse on young boys at the school, some of which Neil experienced and witnessed.

Mr Russell has struggled with the impact of the abuse throughout his adult life. It has caused him difficulties with his mental health, including severe depression and anxiety, emotional and physical breakdowns and he has attempted suicide.

He has also struggled to maintain relationships, including previous marriages, because he finds it hard to trust people.

The Herald: Team Uprising in Glencoe training for EverestTeam Uprising in Glencoe training for Everest (Image: PA)

Mr Russell, who lives in Bedfordshire but plans to move to Perthshire this year, said: “Dawson would beat all the boys if something happened, and no one confessed. The incidents of abuse by Dawson have haunted me and tormented my mind throughout my life.

“The habitual and extreme violence have stayed with me. It took me two years of psychotherapy before I was even able to say his name.”

Straddling the border between China and Nepal, Everest is the world's highest peak at 8,848.86m.

The first confirmed ascent was in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, and by the 2010 season more than 3,000 individuals had reached the summit.

Almost all climbers bring supplementary oxygen as the pressure above 8,000m in the so-called 'death zone' is so low it can cause accidents due to poor decisions caused by impaired brain function or death in itself from a lack of oxygen.

Close to the summit of Everest lies 'Rainbow Valley' so called for the brightly coloured jackets of climbers who have died either attempting to reach the top or on the way down.

Due to the altitude helicopters can not usually operate near to the summit and the exertion involved makes it difficult for other climbers to retrieve bodies - as such there are believed to be around 200 on the mountain unrecovered.

In 1998, Francys Arsentiev became the first woman to reach the summit without supplementary oxygen but both she and her husband died on the descent. Her body lay near to the climbing route until 2007 when it was moved to a more discreet location on the mountain.

Only Mr Moffatt and Mr Leslie will attempt to reach the top of Everest, with the rest of Team Uprising climbing either to base camp or Lobuche.