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High hopes for challenging Africa expedition

High hopes for challenging Africa expedition  
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Outdoor education students at Northumberland College seek sponsorship to raise funds for a challenging charity trek to the top of the highest mountain in North Africa this June.

The group of 10 Level 3 Outdoor Education students, from the college's Kirkley Hall campus near Ponteland, are organising 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 spend two days acclimatising before continuing the acclimatisation process en route to the summit. The ascent of Mount Toubkal will involve trekking through remote valleys and over high altitude passes for five days. The planned summit day is 14 June 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 will oversee the preparations, planning and overall logistics and will take the role of observer, assessor and safety officer on the expedition itself.

Carl said: "The main aim of the expedition is to reach the summit of Mount Toubkal, but what the students get out of this trip goes far beyond that.

"When they leave college and enter the outdoor industry, they will be required to organise a wide variety of events, activities and expeditions. Planning this trip helps them to develop essential skills, knowledge and vital experience relevant to their chosen career paths.

"The students will also be donating half of any sponsorship money raised to a worthwhile Moroccan charity in order to give something back to the local community. The remaining funds will be used to support things such as travel costs, equipment and food for the trek. Any support would be very much appreciated, however great or small."

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 will be organising various events throughout the year 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.

If you would like to sponsor the students, make a donation, or would like more information about the expedition, contact Carl Halliday at carl.halliday@northland.ac.uk or call 01670 841229.

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 these types of courses visit www.northumberland.ac.uk/kirkley