A group of students studying Level 3 Outdoor Education at Northumberland College have completed a gruelling expedition to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco as part of their course whilst raising money for charity.

13 students from the College’s Outdoor Adventure Academy, based at the Kirkley Hall campus, took part in the African expedition over a seven day period, with 11 out of the group successfully reaching the summit of Mount Toubkal, the highest point in North Africa at 4167m.

Led by experienced course leaders, Carl Halliday and Chris Scott, the group had been training for the trip since the start of the academic year with the purpose of learning new trekking and leadership skills whilst making a positive contribution to local mountain communities. They raised approximately £250 for Education for All, a charity that helps girls living in remote areas of Morocco to access learning.

Carl explained, “The students spent the first four days acclimatising and training in the small mountain village of Imlil before moving on to spend one night at the first refuge hut located at 3000m. Starting at 5am, they advanced to reach the summit of Mount Toubkal at approximately 9am which was a fantastic achievement before the long descent back down to the village, arriving at 6pm.

“The group did exceptionally well and the sense of achievement for those reaching the summit was tangible. This is the fifth year that Northumberland College has run the expedition as part of the course and as with previous trips, each and every one of the students came away with a wide range of vocational knowledge that they can put to very good use. It was challenging in part and they each had to push through their own personal boundaries to achieve their goals but by doing so, they have acquired new skills and experiences that will be invaluable to them in their studies as well as in their future employment.”

Northumberland College’s Outdoor Adventure Academy offers a variety of courses for learners looking to advance their skills and qualifications for careers in the outdoor adventure industry including activity leaders, instructors (eg high ropes, canoeing, rock climbing), expedition and trekking leadership, and youth work. Programmes run from September to July and are available at foundation, intermediate and advanced levels.

Student, David Howard, who took part in the expedition, added, “To be given the opportunity to participate in trips like this is fantastic and the memories that I’ve brought back will stay with me forever. The views from the top of the Mount Toubkal were amazing and it was a great opportunity to experience and embrace different people and their cultures in very remote locations. The trip has given me good experience of group trekking abroad and beneficial to my career aspirations of becoming a trekking guide.”

For more details on Northumberland College’s Outdoor Adventure Academy, please contact the Kirkley Hall campus on t: 01670 841229, e: helphub@northland.ac.uk  or visit http://www.northumberland.ac.uk