I'm sure most of you will have seen some of the photos and would
have followed our progress through the college's facebook page
while we were away, but for those who weren't able to - I'm pleased
to report that the expedition was a great success!
After five days of effective acclimatisation day-treks from our
base in the mountain village of imlil, the expedition team were
ready to attempt an ascent of Mount Toubkal (4,167m).
We left Imlil at 9am on Thursday 12 June and trekked up to
the mountain refuge hut (3,200m), where we spent the night. We
struck out for the summit at 5:40am the following morning, using
head torches to show the way as we zig-zagged up the first steep
scree slopes. All members of the expedition team successfully
reached the summit at 8:45am, and were greeted with fantastic views
across the High Atlas mountain range - stretching south towards the
The students were elated and the sense of achievement was
tangible. There were many comments such as 'this is the greatest
thing I've achieved in my life', 'this is the hardest thing I've
ever done' and lots of handshakes, thanks and appreciation from the
students for the opportunity.
We spent almost an hour at the summit, taking in the views and
reflecting on the achievement of everyone reaching the summit,
before the long trek all the way back down to the comforts of
The expedition was a great success, not only because everyone
successfully made it to the summit as a team, but also because of
the way the students embraced the local customs and culture of
With expeditions like this, reaching the summit of a mountain is
only part of the expedition and the experience of being transported
into another part of the world, where students learn and gain an
appreciation of different customs and cultures, can be a powerful
experience and can help open student's eyes and minds to the world
I was as proud of the students attitudes, their willingness to
soak up the local culture and the time they took to mix, talk and
drink mint tea with the local people of Imlil, as I was in their
achievements on the mountain!
To cap the success of the trip, the expedition has raised £248
so far for 'Education for All', a charity that promotes further
education for girls in rural and mountainous regions in Morocco.
They do fantastic work in helping and supporting girls in
continuing their education after primary school. Something that we
take for granted in the UK, but which is difficult for many
families living in areas such as the Atlas Mountains.
It's great to see such a positive story in relation to the
education of female Muslims, amongst the unfortunate and negative
stories that have been in the news recently from other countries.
Our students got to see school children in Imlil and see first-hand
how much their education means to them and how difficult it is to
get to school from the remote villages.
The expedition team are more determined than ever to meet the
target that was set of £450. People can still donate via our 'Just
Giving' page at: www.justgiving.com/Northumberland-College
Any donation however small would be very much appreciated (both
by the expedition team and the charity). It takes just a minute to
donate on the just giving page (please make sure that you tick the
'gift aid' box if you do donate, so that the tax goes to the
charity rather than to our government!)
A huge thank you from all of the expedition team to anyone who
has already made a donation to this good cause and for all of the
help certain people have given; whether this has been direct or
in-direct sponsorship or helping with publicising the expedition
and our chosen charity. The main sponsor groups include:
Northumberland College, Friends of Kirkley, NCFE, Kirkley Hall
Zoological Gardens and Kirkley Hall Activity Centre.
The students have been very appreciative of any help and support
given and it's been the perfect way to end their two years at
college with us. They already had a lot of great memories from the
OE course, but this one will cap them all and will be filed away
Photos can be seen on the Northumberland College Facebook page.