There was a time when an educational field trip was little more than a trek down to the local park or museum.
Now though, intrepid scholars from the University of Central Lancashire have set a new benchmark ... they are off to the wilds of the snow-covered artic in the name of education.
Five undergraduates are swapping the lecture theatre for the great outdoors of Canada as part of their BA (Hons) Outdoor Leadership course.
Second year students Hannah Smith, Luke Duckworth, Robin Naylor, Callum Munnelly and Ben Henderson will endure 16 days of extreme subartic weather conditions in Yukon’s Kluane National Park.
Along with the physical and mental endurance needed for the epic snow shoe expedition, the experienced campers will be collecting data for their dissertations.
Throughout the trip they will have to carry and drag their own basic survival equipment, including camping gear and 16 days of dehydrated food supplies, in rucksacks and on sleds.
During part of the adventure they will be four days away from civilisation in conditions which could get as cold as -40C.
Hannah,21, said: “It’s going to be a fantastic experience and one which will test us to our physical and mental limits.
“It’s mandatory for our course that we take part in an expedition of at least four nights but we decided to go all out.
“We’ve done lots of research and training to make sure we’re as prepared as possible and have had great support from the university.”
So, if you see a group of students dragging tyres along a Preston’s Guild Wheel then there’s a good chance they are in training for the upcoming arduous expedition.
Hannah added: “ “We’ve decided spreading the load in rucksacks and sleds is a better option than carrying a heavy rucksack but pulling it through very deep snow will be physically tough.
As we’ve not got the same conditions in Preston then the best training for us is practising pulling tyres behind us on the Guild Wheel. We’ve also spent time on winter skills courses and mini expeditions in the Lake District.
“We’ll have to melt a lot of snow to hydrate our main meals and our snacks will be chocolate, jelly and biscuits so we’ve got enough energy to walk the eight to 10 kilometres a day through snow that could be three metres deep.”
For safety reasons they will carry a satellite phone. The University’s travel bursary has contributed towards the trip while RAB, a leading outdoor clothing company, has provided discounted top-of-the-range equipment.