Animal lover and former hockey club member, Katherine Hall reveals how relating her geography degree to her passions has opened up a world of adventure.
Aged just five, Katherine decided on a family stroll through the Meadows to study at the University. Fast forward to Freshers’ Week 2004 and in the bustle of the societies fair, Katherine singled out two societies that would lead to adventures around the globe and lifelong friendships.
Joining the Women's Hockey Club was an easy decision thanks to her love of the sport from her school days playing tournaments around the country. However, always on the lookout for new experiences, she also found herself signing up for the Officer Training Corps.
As a Fresher, suddenly faced with so many clubs and societies to discover, I signed up to a handful of exciting sounding activities, my first port of call being the University of Edinburgh Women’s Hockey Club.
Katherine demonstrated the benefits of learning through discovery. From supervising monkeys and penguins as a summer zookeeper, to exploring Spain on a hockey tour and performing with the pipes and drums unit at the Edinburgh Tattoo and further afield in Nova Scotia, Canada, she found time to pursue her love of adventure around studying.
It was through this latter trip that she uncovered a focus for her dissertation.
Staying with a couple and their 15 Canadian inuit dogs, Katherine conducted interviews with the mushing community to research the human bond between sled dogs and mushers, making it the
most enjoyable aspect of her degree.
Upon graduating, she set sail as a crew member on glamorous super yachts and smaller boats alike. A highlight was volunteering on a Guinness World Record attempt to sail a 15m square-rigged Viking ship made out of lollipop sticks from Holland to the UK.
This experience helped her to secure a job as a Marine Enforcement Officer,
a traffic warden of the seas, patrolling the south coast of England, which she loved. A short holiday to Norway led to an unexpected 10 days entertaining Alaskan husky puppies. This also led to the foundation of a network of contacts through which she discovered her next role as a dog handler, mountain guide and yacht crew in Tromsø.
The next step of Katherine’s globetrotting adventure was decided on a fortuitous sledding trip. Overcoming a stark culture shock, she completed short-term consultancy project in lively metropolitan Rome, reporting on the world’s animal genetic resources on behalf of the United Nations.
The six months flew by and Katherine found herself preparing for an interview with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Having fallen for an adorable stray dog, Katherine set about on a mission to raise awareness for the charity by completing the journey back to the UK with her canine friend.
The end of my contract and date for the second interview fell during Guide Dogs Awareness Week, so I decided my dog and I would raise money for the cause by completing the entire trip in neon outfits.
Katherine's next adventure is training to be a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, the next stage in a journey that began at university with the Women's Hockey Club.
Do you value your hockey club memories? Are you keen to catch up with old teammates?
Book your place at the Hockey Reunion Ball on the 23rd May 2015 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa, Edinburgh.
Hockey taught me the value of teamwork, provided a channel to escape the stresses of university life, and most importantly, taught me the top 5 most successful fancy dress themes.