Updated: Saturday, 20th October 2018 @ 4:55pm

Dane on a plane: Peter Schmeichel fears volcano ash cloud repeat ahead of Man Utd charity cycle in Iceland

Dane on a plane: Peter Schmeichel fears volcano ash cloud repeat ahead of Man Utd charity cycle in Iceland

| By Kenny Lomas

Peter Schmeichel admitted having sleepless nights ahead of his 150mile charity cycle around the volcanic landscape of Iceland – which has seen earthquakes and eruptions in recent weeks.

Speaking ahead of the Fire and Ice Cycle Challenge, the Great Dane revealed he had feared a repeat of the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, which left millions stranded due to air travel disruption.

It seems Schmeichel’s fears may well come to fruition, after a dramatic lava eruption near Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano early on Sunday prompted the Icelandic Met Office to raise its ash warning for aviation to red, the highest level.

“I’ve been very, very worried about the volcano," Schmeichel told MM.

"It's not so much that I’m afraid I will come into harm’s way, but of getting stranded there.

“Last time there was an eruption in Iceland I got stuck, and I have a busy life, with commitments, contractual commitments, and I’m really scared I’ll get stuck in Iceland if anything happens.”

CHALLENGE OF A LIFETIME: The team know they have their work cut out

Since August 16, a series of earthquakes in the area have created breaks in the Vatnajokull glacier, northeast of the volcano.

The tremors have created cracks in the glacier, allowing streams of lava to pour through.

Fountains of lava shooting 70 metres into the air could be seen from Bardarbunga volcano, along with thick clouds of smoke, containing dangerous vapour and gas.

The eruptions carried on through to Monday, though the alert was reduced from reduced from red to orange, with the Met Office saying the eruption was not creating ash.

Schmeichel, 50, added: “In a way I’m not really looking forward to it, but I’ve packed my bags, I’m ready. It’s going to be interesting.”

The former United keeper will lead a team of Red Devils fans to raise money for the Manchester United Foundation, after flying out to Iceland yesterday.

James Duncalf, 18, from Wythenshawe, volunteers at the Foundation’s Street Reds project at Manchester Health Academy, and will be among the group.

The cocky 18-year old, 32 years Schmeichel’ junior, claimed he would ‘run circles’ around the Great Dane.

READY FOR ACTION: James is confident he's going to obliterate the challenge

“I’m really up for it. ’ve been jogging at the weekends and getting on my bike more and turning up at the gym,” he told MM.

“I’m going to absolutely smash it. I’m going to run circles around him.”

The United legend didn’t rise to the young pup’s taunts however, and reminded him he will take the challenge at his own pace.

“The fire and Ice challenge is just that – a challenge,” he said. “This is not a race, this is an experience, and if James wants to run circles around me, he’s welcome to.

“I’m going to take it as a slow pace and enjoy what I’m seeing, and hopefully I’ll be able to get through.”

Despite his fighting talk, James said he was really looking forward to meeting one of his idols.

“It’s going to be a bit overwhelming really, I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “To be honest at the end of the day it’s just another person but he’s done so much.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting him. You have an image of what he's going to be like, but I really don’t know what to expect.”

All proceeds from the challenge will fund the Foundation's continued work with young people in Greater Manchester, which includes football coaching, skills training, personal development and provides opportunities to change their lives for the better.

Image courtesy of David Karnå, with thanks.