Since Cranfield University’s Walks formed in April 2011 many students participated in its activities, which enabled them to discover the UK’s extensive network of footpaths and enjoy and appreciate beauty of the UK’s countryside. If you are a new student coming to Cranfield University and thinking of joining, hear from our existing and past members about their experiences of being part of the society:
Today I am talking to Sarah. Hello Sarah. Tell us something about yourself. I am just entering my final year (eek!) of a 3 year PhD in Engineering Photonics (in what!? you say, pretty much light based engineering).
What was your role in the walking society? I was president last year, overseeing the events and making sure the society was running smoothly. This meant that I was involved in every aspect of the society from website and Facebook posts, to budgeting for trips and grant applications. I’m a big fan of hiking so organised a number of hiking weekends to the national parks, as far away as Scotland! However I have also really enjoyed attending and organising local walks around the area, seeing beautiful areas such as Olney and Woburn deer park.
This year I will be returning to my previous position of treasurer that I held in my first year so I will be in charge of the purse strings again!
Congratulations! You have won an award at the latest Cranfield Students’ Association awards 2013/2014! I was really honoured to receive the Individual Contribution award. I am heavily involved with both the walking society and circuit training, two of the largest student societies on campus, and so I got to interact with a large number of students at Cranfield University.
What were your 3 favourite Cranfield University’s Walks events and why? As I said I am a big fan of hiking and I think my favourite walk was, as with Belén, our trip to Lake District. On the second day we crossed the sheer ridge of Striding Edge on our way to Hellvelyn. The weather was brilliant so we had a fun scramble along this edge and were rewarded with spectacular views on the top of Hellvelyn in all directions (and a bottle of wine that a certain Italian had brought with him to the summit!).
Local walks, I really enjoyed the tour of the 15th century St. Marys church with Reverend Gill followed by some yummy cakes at the picturesque Marston Vale forest centre where we had lovely views of Stewartby Lake and its sail boats.
The final walk I really enjoyed was the joint walking society and chess society walking where we walked to the Carrington Arms and held a chess tournament. Our walking society members got lots of tips about chess and the chess members got to explore one of Cranfield’s lesser known public bridleways. It was a really fun day with pints, burgers and friendly competition!
What walking boots and other walking gear do you have that you found indispensable during the walks? The boots I have are Asolo, quite light but with good ankle support. Other items that I have found useful include full set of waterproof gear (waterproof NOT showerproof), a good backpack, that has an air back (contains a metal frame to allow a gap between back and bag) and two sets of straps so weight is distributed evenly. For weekend hikes, hiking poles are very useful to reduce impact on knees. Then finally, layering, lots of lighter layers provide good insulation but easy temperature regulation.
What did being a member of Cranfield University’s Walks mean to you? I love the diversity of where we go, from seeing the hidden gems around the area to scaling the highest peaks in the national parks. But most importantly it’s the social aspect of the activities, you can attend one or many events and you feel welcome every time. You have time to chat with so many different people and indeed, the majority of my best friends at Cranfield University I have met through the walking society.
Why would you recommend anyone at Cranfield University to join the walking society? As I said before, for the friendliness of it, you have an instant group of friends who are up for exploring! Getting involved on the committee is a great way to gain organisational skills, as well as meeting the locals…. and we do have a free lunch or two here and there!!
Thank you, Sarah, fab talking to you. Keep on walking and all the best in completing your PhD!