I also considered whether we actually need to buy monthly hosting, use University systems or free third party solutions. The later, particularly Google based products allow for free hosting and users to add their own bespoke domain. For me this was the way to go, as I have had good experiences using blogger and linking domains using CNAME has worked without fault.
How did I do it?
This process is different for whichever URL host company you use. The important bit to note is that when setting up the CNAME ensure that there is a full stop '.' at the end of the following: ghs.google.com. It is likely to misbehave or not work properly if you don't. This is actually not shown in all the guides, one of the official guides actually has this missing. Setting the "A" is straight forward with the IP addresses provided. It normally works straight away, but I would recommend setting this up with your URL host first then setting it up on the Google product 24 hours later, just to ensure that it points at the new domain properly, and to avoid weird re-directs.
The Hydrographic Academy website now has the domain name www.hydrographic-academy.co.uk pointing to our blog.