Notts: Council outdoor education head Phil journeys 2,000m towards the centre of the Earth

Colin Baker, Notts County Council's head of outdoor learning
Colin Baker, Notts County Council's head of outdoor learning
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More than 30,000 school children undertake outdoor adventure challenges managed by Notts County Council each year.

But few people know that the head of the outdoor education service Phil Baker, has explored the deepest known cave system in the world taking 10 days to descend 2,000m below the surface in Voronja Cave near the Russian border.

With the deepest UK caves only 200m deep, Phil was on an international expedition that explored Voronja cave which is close to the Black Sea a couple of years ago and was dubbed ‘Towards the Centre of the Earth’.

Phil has been climbing and caving for 34 years.

He has also climbed in the UK, Alps and America including El Capitan in Yosemite, new ice routes in Norway and on Denali in Alaska.

Coun Liz Plant, committee vice-chairman for children’s and young people’s services at the council said: “Thousands of our young people and adults benefit from our outdoor education services with support from highly qualified individuals at the top of their game both in terms of qualifications in climbing, caving, canoeing, orienteering (some in national squads) and mountaineering, and also in terms of their experience on expeditions and events.”

“Phil’s achievements as part of the ‘Towards the Centre of the Earth’ expedition and experiences of other colleagues in our team demonstrate that our young people are in extremely capable hands as they enjoy outdoor education adventures.”

Colleagues in Phil’s team have also completed the renowned Bob Graham ultra-distance run in the Lake District (72 miles/27,000 feet of ascent in 24 hours), climbed the highest mountain in Alaska and taken part in many climbing and canoeing trips around the world.

The council’s outdoor education team offers high quality inclusive outdoor and environmental learning opportunities to children, young people and communities of Notts, through residential and day visits, and to provide training for teachers and leaders.

Youngsters can take part in a range of activities to help build their self-esteem, confidence, team-building skills and enjoy health and educational benefits that enrich their school curriculum.