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Africa expedition group prepare for trek

Africa expedition group prepare for trek  
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Outdoor education students are preparing to set off for their challenging charity trek to the top of the highest mountain in North Africa next weekend (7 June).

The group of 10 Level 3 Outdoor Education students, from Northumberland College's Kirkley Hall Campus near Ponteland, have organised the trip themselves as part of their course where they have to plan, prepare and carry out an expedition as independently as possible.

The expedition team, which also includes two Outdoor Education tutors from the college, will climb the 4167 metres to the summit of Mount Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco over a five day period.

They will fly to Marrakech on Saturday 7 June and then on to Imlil in the Atlas Mountains, where they will base themselves and start the acclimatisation process through  a range of day treks. These will involve trekking through remote valleys and over high altitude passes.

The team will then set out on their ascent of Mount Toubkal, which will be completed over 2 to 3 days. The planned summit day is 14June when the team will strike out from their 3000 metre camp at 5am.

Carl Halliday, one of the tutors accompanying the students on the trip has overseen the students 'preparations, planning and overall logistics and will take the role of observer, assessor and safety officer on the expedition itself.

Carl, from Alnwick, said: "The main aim of this expedition is to reach the summit of Mount Toubkal, but the students will also gain valuable experience and develop a range of skills through the process of planning, preparation and then carrying out the expedition, which they will be able to take with them into their future careers in the outdoor industry.

"It is going to be a real adventure for the students and an experience that will open their eyes and minds to different cultures, beliefs and lifestyles. It is an amazing region and the people who live there are some of the friendliest and most welcoming that I have met on my travels, even though it is a tough and challenging life for many families in the region.

"I am therefore immensely pleased that the students made the decision to donate some of their sponsor money to charity Education for All."

The charity the students have chosen, Education for All, provides the opportunity of a college education for girls from rural Moroccan communities, who otherwise would not continue their education beyond primary school due to the cost of education and their remote location.

Students on the expedition team have organised various events to help raise funds for the charity and the trip, including sponsored walks and runs. They will also be maximising their fitness levels in preparation including completing a number of big mountain climbs.

Meredith Ashford, NCFE Business Development Officer for the North East said: "We are incredibly impressed by the challenge that the group has set themselves and are delighted to be supporting such a worthwhile project, undertaken by these NCFE learners. We can't wait to hear how they got on and hope they have the opportunity to put into practice the skills they've gained from the qualification."

Northumberland College run a number of outdoor education and training courses at the Kirkley Hall Campus leading to careers in outdoor activity leadership, in activities such as; rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, hill-walking, mountain biking, high ropes and mountaineering.

On site at the campus is a 120m long zipwire and high ropes course and students take part in various outdoor adventurous activities around Northumberland on a weekly basis and have residential trips outside of the county throughout the year.

For more information on Outdoor Education courses visit www.northumberland.ac.uk  

Members of the public can donate to the charity Education for All at http://www.justgiving.com/Northumberland-College