Posted: 22/10/2011 13:57:00 by Nigel Nixon

STUDENTS from around the globe are making Ambleside their home after enrolling on the University of Cumbria’s first ever international course.

Outdoor enthusiasts from countries including China, Australia and Germany are among the 17 students spending the Autumn term in the Lake District as part of their masters in Transcultural European Outdoor Studies.

The qualification is the first of its kind and is being run by the university, Germany’s University of Marburg and Norway’s School of Sport Sciences.

Course leader Dr. Christopher Loynes said: “Within this time frame, our ambition is to make the course a coveted choice for people interested in pursuing a career in the outdoor field. We also aim to develop tight links with non-European universities and make the course truly global. Eventually, we plan to make the course financially self-sustaining through the charging of student fees.”

The course will be funded by the European Commission for the next five years and once students have left Ambleside in the New Year they will spend their next two terms at the other institutions.

While some of the students area already experienced in outdoor studies, for many this is a new area of knowledge and expertise.

Katerina Pata from Greece, who previously studied to be a pre-school teacher, said:“I couldn’t find a relevant masters course in Greece and applied for courses elsewhere in Europe. I liked this course because I get a chance to go to three different countries and learn various approaches to the subject. My goal is to make the concept of outdoor learning more prominent in my country and create my own outdoor kindergarten.”

However, others come to the course with a lot of experience like Wilson Wai Yin Cheung who is a former president of the mountaineering association of Hong Kong.

The students, who come from 15 countries, will be living in university accommodation in Ambleside and learning the theoretical knowledge and practical qualifications necessary to be successful outdoor industry professionals.

During their first semester they will undertake two week-long hiking expeditions, one in the Scottish Highlands and one in the Lake District and a week-long canoeing trip.

Tagged with: university, world, ambleside


Posted: 20/08/2011 11:29:41 by Nigel Nixon

SPACE pirate and alien life forms could soon be seen zooming around the Lake District – thanks to a new million dollar movie.

Old Hutton writer and director Rick McLeod has teamed up with a group of American producers to make a science fiction film based on cult television series Firefly.

The US consortium, one of whom has done sound-tracks for Mr McLeod in the past, originally began filming experimental sequences in county – but then the idea turned into a feature-length film.

Although $1 million is a relatively small budget for a movie, Mr McLeod said he was ‘shocked’ when the group gave the figure.

“Last year was a good one for us – we’re still reeling from that – so when they approached me my first question was ‘Are you serious?’

“It’s not easy to make films in Cumbria, especially with the UK Film Council gone. When we had Leslie Grantham here, he was unpaid because he loved the script.

“It’s great to know that our hard work is starting to pay off.”

The film, called Lost Transmission, follows the lonely adventure of Blake, captain of a mining ship, with no-one but his computer to talk to after war breaks out on Earth. But he leaves the planet to find life on other worlds.

Filming is expected to start in early 2012, and will be split between Cumbria and America.

CGI effects are already being worked on by the studio, which created a castle in the middle of Windermere in a previous flick.

Before filming begins in earnest, Mr McLeod is shooting a short promotional video with action sequences in Old Hutton.

And he is looking for ‘23rd century pirates’ to star as extras in a fight scene on Sunday, to be led by a trained fight choreographer.

“We’re seeking punks, goths and heavy rockers. Long or short hair, tattoos and piercings are a bonus but not essential. The more outrageous the look the better,” said Mr McLeod.

Filming will last for between two and three hours and anyone interested can email celticstormfilms@live.com.

Participants are requested to send a head shot with their email.

Discussions with actors to play the role of Blake are still going on.

Tagged with: Film, Lake, Move, district


Posted: 06/04/2011 16:22:34 by Anne-Marie O'Neill

GARDENERS’ World presenter Carol Klein has been confirmed as the special guest at The Holker Garden Festival June 3 and 5.



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