Students leave their campus for a camp in the Himalayas

A GROUP of outdoor education staff and students have set off on a charity expedition to the Himalayan peak of Stok Kangri.

The expedition team, consisting of two tutors and nine current and past students from Northumberland College, drove from the Kirkley Hall campus to begin their trip of a lifetime.

The group will climb the 6,153 metres of 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, where they will spend a week acclimatising and volunteering.

The group have arranged to do voluntary work teaching children and working with the blind at a local monastery and residential hostels. They will be teaching English, sports, computing, drawing and painting.

There is a lot of work to be done in Leh as a result of the devastating floods that swept through the town last summer, killing 170 people.

Expedition leader Carl Halliday, an outdoor education tutor based at the Kirkley Hall campus, initiated the trek and has overseen all 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 caoches, hill walking leaders and high ropes instructors is a credit to their students and their excellent levels of motivation.”

Team members have funded the trip from savings and from sponsorship activities including the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge which raised over £2,000.