Blisters for BA
Date posted: 22 July 2011
You may have heard of students going the extra mile to complete their degrees, but a University of Derby student went the extra 220 miles when he organised and completed a coast to coast expedition for his final year dissertation.
As part of the final year of a Joint Honours degree in Outdoor Recreation and Adventure Tourism at the University's Buxton Campus, Ben Watkinson, 23, from Chesterfield, organised a group expedition of four people to attempt the 220 mile trek from St Bees Bay on the Cumbrian coast line, through the Lake District, over the Pennines and through the North Yorkshire Moors to Robin Hoods Bay.
During the walk, Ben carried out a research study to ascertain whether it would be a suitable expedition for people with visual impairments; capturing observational data about pathways and terrain before making recommendations.
Ben planned every aspect of the coast to coast walk before leading the team. He said: "As I hope to work in adventure tourism once I graduate I decided to get some truly hands-on experience of expedition planning and implementation for my dissertation.
"As well as researching the route, booking accommodation, organising equipment, food, and a support vehicle, we also undertook a six month training regime to ensure everyone in the team was fit enough to walk the 30km each day."
The team completed the walk in just nine days; walking for an average eight hours and covering 30km each day.
Duncan Marson, Programme Leader in Adventure Tourism, said: "Ben did a fantastic job organising and successfully completing the coast to coast walk as well as the research project.
"The University encourages experiential learning as part of its degree programmes as they're the best way for students to gain the practical and managerial adventure tourism skills they'll need in their future careers. Ben and his team overcame challenges and obstacles to complete the expedition safely and in a great time, and he should be extremely happy with what he achieved."
Ben has studied at the University's Buxton Campus since he was 18, progressing from the Campus' college of Further Education provision; Buxton College, where he completed a BTEC in Outdoor Sports, into its higher education facility, the University of Derby Buxton, where he completed the joint honours degree in Outdoor Recreation and Adventure Tourism.
Moving from further to higher education is a unique feature of the University of Derby Buxton.