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Walking adventure awaits Albert Johnston Travel Award winner

The winner of the 2020 Albert Johnston Travel Award

Upper Sixth student Matthew Howling will head to south-west England next summer after winning this year’s Albert Johnston Travel Award.

Matthew impressed the six-strong judging panel with his confident and well-researched ‘Walking the Cornish Coast Path’ proposal and he will now put his plan, which is to walk the approximate 300 miles from Morwenstow to Plymouth over three weeks, into action.

Following the South West Costal Path, the keen walker will stop off in places such as Boscastle, St Ives, Penzance, Charlestown and Portwrinkle and do a variety of activities including water sports, visiting St Michael’s Mount and the Minack Theatre and going to museums such as the PK Porthcurno – the Museum of Global Communications – which has engineering aspects that link into what he is planning to do at university.

The Sixth Former has previously completed long distance walks including the Pennine Way (270 miles), South Downs Way (100 miles), Nijmegen Marches (100 miles) and the Lakeland 3000s 24 Hour Challenge (50 miles in one day) and he is part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme at SGS.

Speaking about his success, Matthew said: “I was really happy when I found out that I had won. I felt fairly relaxed when I was doing my presentation – I had done a lot of research and I am used to doing online presentations.

“I have been to Cornwall quite often on holiday with my family but we usually stay around the same area, so I am looking forward to exploring other bits of the county.

“As well as visiting museums and theatres, I would also like to explore the small village churches along the way as I would like to plan a choir tour to Cornwall in the future.”

The judging panel this year included Old Stopfordians Hayley Shepherd (OS 2007), Oliver Hopwood (OS 2003), Bursar Chris Watson (OS 1973), Archivist Stuart Helm (OS 1964), Governor Chris Muscutt and Psychology Teacher Mrs Larkin, who is the organiser of the Award. Hayley and Oliver are both former winners of the prize.

Mrs Larkin commented: “The standard of the applications for the Award was extremely high this year – the nine applicants made it a very difficult decision for the panel.

“Matthew’s proposal was outstanding – he had clearly spent a lot of time researching his proposal and his passion for the outdoors shone through”.

On what he would say to someone thinking about applying for the Albert Johnston Travel Award in the future, Matthew said: “I would encourage them to go for it – there is nothing to lose and lots to gain. My advice would be to plan in detail and don’t be nervous.”