A GROUP of outdoor education staff and students have set off for their trip of a lifetime to a Himalayan peak.
The expedition team, consisting of two tutors and nine current and past students from Northumberland College, drove away from the Kirkley Hall campus on Friday to catch a flight to Asia from Heathrow.
Their charity expedition will involve climbing 6,153m high Stok Kangri over nine days via a little-used trekking route, putting the skills they have learnt on their course and in training sessions into practice.
Prior to the trek the team will base themselves at Leh in the Ladakh region of North India.
They have arranged to do voluntary work teaching children and working with the blind at a local monastery and residential hostels.
The group will be teaching English, sports, computing, drawing and painting, which will make a positive contribution to a community that suffered devastating floods last summer, killing 170 people.
Expedition leader Carl Halliday – an outdoor education tutor based at the Kirkley Hall campus, who teaches a range of NCFE Outdoor Industry qualifications – initiated the trek and has overseen all of the preparations.
He said: “The expedition promises to be a great experience for the students who are training towards careers in the outdoor industry.
“The trip will enable them to put into practice the range of expedition skills that they have developed during their college courses.
“They will gain a good understanding of living and mountaineering at altitude as well as learning about the local people and cultures of Ladakh.
“The expedition is the perfect way to end what has been a very successful two years with this student group.
“To have so many students leaving college and going into employment as qualified climbing instructors, canoe coaches, hill walking leaders and high ropes instructors is a credit to the students and their excellent levels of motivation.”
Team members have funded the trip from savings and various sponsorship activities including the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, which raised more than £2,000.
For further information about open events and learning opportunities offered by Northumberland College, call 01670 841200 or visit www.northumberland.ac.uk