• Reaseheath competitors Kyle Beardmore, Hamish Profit, James Barber, Matt Marshall, Rhys Jones, Charlie Smith, Fin Whitehead and Tom Wallis are pictured with Alan Mottram

Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture students reached new heights at the Arboricultural Association’s (AA) College Climbing Competition, held for the northern region on our campus recently.

Our team of second year students won Group 2 (less than two years practical climbing experience) while our first year team were third in Group 1 (less than one year’s experience). The AA runs these annual climbing competitions exclusively for students, with the aim of advancing climbing practice and safety within the industry.

Each team consisted of three students, who had to climb to targets on the outer limbs of 60ft trees, in the process demonstrating branch walking and a log toss to a target area. The students were judged on three criteria: time, safety and best practice.

This was the first time we have hosted the competition and it was contested by six land based colleges.

Our Group 2 winners, who won a £250 voucher for college climbing equipment, were Matt Marshall, Rhys Jones and Fin Whitehead while the Group 1 team were James Barber, Kyle Beardmore and Tom Wallis. All our Group 2 team have already found employment in the industry.

This is our third year on the competition circuit and, needless to say, Course Manager Alan Mottram and his students were delighted at their success.

Said Alan: “These competitions give our second year students the chance to prove their expertise in the climbing skills they have learned during their course.  At this stage the first year students have had training in tree climbing to industry standards, but this is their first experience of the challenges presented by a climbing competition. Despite this they are enthusiastic and quick to get involved.

“As a college we promote industry best practice and this competition showcases the importance of climbing safely. There’s also an element of competitiveness between colleges and the students have the chance to chat to other competitors and to leading instructors who attend to help run the event.

“The experiences, knowledge and memories from the day help to get our students’ careers off to the best possible start.”

For more info about our forestry and arboriculture courses see www.reaseheath.ac.uk/countryside