Schoolgirls plan month-long mountain challenge
A HIGH-ALTITUDE trip to exotic Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan is being set up for pupils at a city school.
Derby High School students have launched an £80,000-plus fund-raising campaign for the World Challenge trip – each of the 21 girls taking part has to raise £3,900 to pay for the expedition along part of the Silk Route.
They have been busy bag-packing at supermarkets, washing cars, holding a concert, babysitting and selling homemade jewellery.
The trip could see the students climbing heights of up to 4,500 metres, glacier walking, working on a community project and staying with local families.
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Carole Riley, head of chemistry at the independent school, in Hillsway, Littleover, will help to lead the trip in July 2014. She said: "We decided on this destination after reflecting back on previous trips and which ones had been the best.
"We really liked the trips when we went on proper long treks in the mountains, which we did in Argentina and Mongolia.
"We decided we wanted to do that again. This will be at really high altitude and we might even do some glacier walking with crampons.
"The surroundings will be very beautiful – alpine and mountainous – it will be on a par with the Himalayas. As we will be climbing extreme heights, we will have to take some medication to prevent altitude sickness.
"We will also be doing some acclimatisation treks – usually you have to climb high and sleep low. There will be a main trek on the trip that will last nine to 10 days and we will be walking for up to six hours a day."
All the girls will be responsible for planning the accommodation, travel and finances during the month-long trip.
Miss Riley said the idea as that the girls would become more independent as a result. She said: "All the girls will have leadership roles and will have to plan the trip and manage the money.
"We will be working on a project – most likely in a village in either country – and we are hoping that the girls will get to stay with local families too.
"We hope that the trip allows the girls to experience teamwork, organisational skills and give them a massive amount of confidence, it broadens their horizons and makes them realise how lucky they are.
"Usually what happens is they realise how happy they can be with so little. It really helps those girls who are going into prefect roles here or who are going to university."
Soraya Taleb, 14, of Swadlincote, said she was really looking forward to the trip.
She said: "It will be a great experience. I'm looking forward to the part when we do a project and work in the local community.
"I think the trek will be hard. I've been doing long walks but nothing like that. I think it will make me more independent because usually when I go away my parents organise it all."
Sixteen-year-old Ellie Erskine, of Ashbourne, said she was nervous but excited.
She said: "I think I'm mostly looking forward to the project part. My sister went to Mongolia with school and she really enjoyed it and when she came back she was really buzzing. I'm going to do some research about the route. I think the trip will make me more independent with the team leadership skills.
"I'm a bit nervous but excited. I'm looking forward to the trip but I don't want to get blisters."
Kate Brown, 14, of Long Eaton, said the Silk Route trip sounded amazing
She said: "I'm quite excited about the trip but a bit nervous.
"We've been told that there won't be any toilets which I'm a bit worried about.
"I'm a bit concerned about homesickness because I've never been away for that long before. Usually when we go away my dad organises everything so this will be very different."