Student Jamie sets his sights high

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A MORPETH student is currently preparing to conquer the highest peak in northern Africa.

Jamie Pattison, 19, is among the group from Newcastle College who will scale Mount Jebel Toubkal in the Toubkal National Park as part of a 10-day expedition to the Atlas Mountains in south-western Morocco.

He and Kerry Melville, Emily Smart, Rachel Thompson and Gerry O’Donnell will travel to Marrakesh in March to begin their trek to the mountain’s summit at 4,167 metres.

The students are studying toward Foundation Degrees in Health and Exercise Science, Applied Sports Management and Development and Applied Sports Coaching Science at the college’s Lifestyle Academy.

They have volunteered to take part in the expedition and are holding events and organising raffles to raise £950 each in sponsorship to cover the cost of the trip.

College staff and a specialist instructor will oversee the journey, but the students will take control over day-to-day leadership and decision making on the expedition.

They will negotiate transportation, manage food and drink supplies, undertake route planning and navigation and communicate and interact with the local population.

In preparation for the challenge, the budding explorers recently took part in a gruelling three-day training exercise in the Peak District.

Sleeping under canvas in sub-zero temperatures, the students engaged in team-building activities, logistical planning and equipment testing, before embarking on a day walk onto Kinder Scout, which is the highest gritstone peak in the Peak District.

Mark Clarkson, Course Leader for Foundation Degree Applied Sports Coaching Science, said: “The itinerary for the Mount Toubkal expedition incorporates many aspects of the students’ course modules, including Personal and Professional Development, Sports Nutrition and Metabolism, and Integrated Exercise Psychology.

“Aside from experiencing the adventure of a lifetime, the students will develop independence, confidence, and enterprise and leadership skills as well as enhancing their studies and career aspirations.

“Ultimately, they are making themselves more employable.”