Holland 2017 – Day whatever, like, who cares – What is day anyway?

The day started in a panic as Stuart had set his alarm for 7.00pm rather than 7.00am – who was his maths teacher? Apparently this has happened more than once and Liz has stepped in to provide some maths recovery using FlashCards which she has thrown together on am/pm time and 24 hour clock.

Stuart has been given the opportunity to put his new learning into action as he will be trying again to waken us all tomorrow. Now some of us are not holding our breath – as we unfortunately believe that Stuart has a “fixed mind set” and feels unable, or more likely, unwilling to learn to accurately distinguish between ante meridiem and post meridiem.

Anyway, once we were awake, it was time to set off to Bobbejaanland. The weather was mixed and we had few showers which damped neither spirit nor body, this was largely due to the soaking from the Indiana River running out of us.

Our bold adventurers conquered all of the rides which Bobbejaanland could throw at them and left the park exhausted.

The return to Hotel Op De Boud was very quiet. Dinner, packing, tidy rooms and then down for our traditional last night Karaoke.

Tomorrow is another early start as we begin our return journey to Prestonpans.  We will be stopping for the afternoon in Gouda for some shopping and cheese and then travelling on to Rotterdam for the overnight ferry to Hull.  This will be our final post with no internet connection on the ferry.

Our Staff team wish to thank our parents and carers for allowing us to spend the past week with your wonderful young people.  They have been great company, great fun and an enormous credit to their families and our school community. Many of them have challenged themselves through the activities but more importantly they have all had a blast. #ProudToBePL


Valkenburg 2017 – Day 4 – The Quiet Day

For many years the Monday of the Valkenburg trip has been the day of rest.

All of the activities are within 10 miles of Valkenburg and we all took advantage of lie-in until 07:30.

Our adventurers set of for Snowworld Landgraaf for a few hours of high ropes fun. We are are pleased to tell our readers that each one of the 42 young people took part in this activity. For some this was an exciting and interesting way to start a day but for others this was huge life event. On Saturday several of our young people chose not to take the pretty tame chairlift to the Rodelbaan in Valkenburg but instead to walk up the hill. Today we are pleased to announce these same young people accepted and conquered “Europe’s Largest High Ropes” course, some of them defeating both the easier (Blue Course) and the harder and higher Black Course. #ProudToBe PL #FightTheFear

Lunch was a healthy packed lunch in the sun and then we were off to Mosaqua in Gulpen for a swim.

Indoor and outdoor pools both open in the warm but not too sunny afternoon. Once again everyone of our adventurers took part in this activity which has not always happened on previous PL outings to Valkenburg. Now photographs in the swimming pools are never easy for a selection of reasons but please trust us they all had a great time in an amazing pool.


The evening was spent in LaserTag in the lime caves above Valkenburg and then back to the Hotel where despite the staff telling them that the day was still young, our young people all pleaded to go to bed. What chance do we have as a nation when our young folk are so keen to hit the hay when the night is still young.

Tomorrow is an early start for the run to Belgium and theme park number two Bobbejaanland





Valkenburg 2017 – Day 3 – Phantasialand

The day began a little wet in Valkenburg but by the time we set of for Phantasialand the sun was out and the weather was perfect.

The park was really quiet and the queue times were very reasonable.

Our adventurers had plenty of time to eat their pack lunch and then still use their park supplied lunch voucher to sample the currybratwurst (mit brötchen) wae chips, others with a more adventurous pallet tried the asiannoodles (mit hund und gemuse). Churros, waffles, Eis and and selection of slush type drinks also had to be consumed.

ALL of our adventurers took themselves out of their comfort zones today and really had a go. The queue times allowed some to go on their favourite rides multiple times, which some them managed between snacks (which almost made them miss their evening meal!).

Hotel Op De Boud did us proud with a lovely pasta bolognaise and then we dived into the tuck shop and the Kegelbahn (9 pin bowling).

Our very own Ann Robinson was quick to identify our weakest links and Stuart was send for an early bath. Some of our adventurers went on to win  unofficial “Tuck Vouchers”  – obviously!!!  





Now some of our more pedantic readers will have been annoyed at the incorrect use of the word pallet rather than palate – but you should see the size of some of these mouths.

Tomorrow is the quiet day in Valkenburg, so the travellers will have time to check out some of your comments.


You are the weakest link……goodbye


Valkenburg 2017: Day 1 and Day 2

Who put Dover all the way down there? That is too far to travel on a diet of Vimto bonbons, chicken satay sticks and early hour service station burger joint reheats!!

Some of our smaller travellers where able to grasp a few minutes of shut eye, in the “reclining” airline style seats, however, they were rudely awoken by the morning chorus from the famous Bluebirds which apparently can often be seen in the area.

Once over the channel the quest for roadside junk food continued through the north of France and into Belgium. Vleeskrokets and Frickandel popular with the more seasoned travellers, the less well seasoned preferring to over indulge in the Frappuccino© and other similar ice based drinks.

Our arrival in Valkenburg was delayed by a hastily arranged “spoof roadwork plan” swung into operation by the Dutch Junk Food Association in order to allow their staff to under take some crisis capability menu planning

An early arrival in Valkenburg provided the opportunity for a visit to the Rodelbaan at Agogo Valkenburg. Some of our adventurers were disappointed at the limited catering facilities at he top of the hill but constant staff reminders that the snack bars would be open in Valkenburg and we would be having an evening meal in the Hotel Op De Boud was enough to quell an insurrection.

Several of our young adventurers were unable to brave the chairlift to get up the hill and instead chose to walk up the hill. Having spent a couple of hours up the hill they ALL felt brave enough to take the chairlift down again. This bodes well for tomorrow when many more of them will face the challenge of putting down their “tasty bites” to ride the coasters.

Bed could not come soon enough – a proper bed – one that is parallel to the floor with covers, a pillow and properly installed in a stationary building!!

Tomorrow brings a whole range of German junk food (quality btw) – contact has been made at ministerial level to ensure that Phantasialand has a sufficient quantity of Bratwurst, Churros (with Chocolate Sauce with enough calories to launch a rocket), chocolate coated fruit kebabs (at least one of our five day), Noodles and, of course, the “Unter den Linden” salad bar for the staff.

“The two million UK Nationals in the EU can stay, but these guys have to go home – next week” –  Angela Merkel

“This is all Fake News ” – Donald Trump

“een Pizza Hut een pizza hut een Kentucky Fried Chicken en een pizza hut”

You can see more from our young people here

Please feel free to leave us your comments – the travellers will check these out tomorrow.

Battlefields 2016: The Last Post

The Fourth Preston Lodge Pals’ Battalion are now back on home soil, having finished their visit to the Western Front.

Yesterday the Pans Pals spent the morning exploring the northern parts of the Ypres Salient, including Essex Farm Cemetery, where John McCrae conceived In Flanders Fields, and a very emotional visit to Poelkappele Cemetery. The Pipe Band then marched us down the Passchendaele ridge, before they stilled the largest British military cemetery in the world with a stirring rendition of Highland Cathedral, led by Sam Addis and Becky Pollard. Declan Till’s moving rendition of The Green Fields of France was a very fitting conclusion.  After paying our respects at Langemark German Cemetery we headed to Ypres, for some rest and relaxation.

In the evening we attended the Menin Gate ceremony.  Our band did our whole school community proud with a stirring rendition of Amazing Grace.

Erin Ritchie then showed Ypres the very best of Preston Lodge with her immaculate rendition of Flowers of the Forest, and Declan Till laid a wreath on behalf of East Lothian cadets.

We then moved to Perth China Wall Cemetery to carry out our own act of remembrance. The Pals chose Dillon Blyth, Joy Kennedy, Ollie Skinner and Hannah Yorkston as our Presentation Party. They were impressive, as our group remembered the boys who didn’t come home.

We were delighted to have trustees of the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust join us for this very special day.  One trustee, Angus Tulloch, was formally inducted into the Back Seat Boys, much to everyone’s amusement!

Many thanks to Robert Ross, our Mercat Tours guide, and Steve Lynn, our wonderful driver – both now honorary PLers.  Thanks, too, to all the staff and students, who made this important trip such a wonderful experience, and to our Pipe Band – champions of Belgium, and so much more.  The final word should go to one of our students, whose evaluation stated ‘the Battlefields Experience was the best time of my life’.

Here’s to the Fifth Battalion of the Preston Lodge Pals. Ypres awaits.


Battlefields 2016

The Fourth Prestonpans Pals Battalion spent today retracing the steps of soldiers on the first day of the Battle of the Somme – the bloodiest day in the British military history with almost 60,000 casualties. The first stop was Newfoundland Park at Beaumont Hamel, the site of great bravery and loss for Scottish and Canadian regiments. The Pans Pals recreated the fateful steps of the Newfoundland regiment most of whom were mown down by German machine guns before they had even reached the front-lines of their own trenches. A few hundred yards down the same front line lies a memorial to the 51st Highland Division who suffered enormous casualties in taking German trenches. Here the group gathered to pay their respects whilst Saul Sweeney played the Dark Isle.

After a visit to Thiepval, a monument to the 70,000 missing British soldiers from the Somme, the Pans Pals saw Lochnagar Crater the site of a massive explosion on the first day of the Somme. The final stop was the Canadian National Memorial at Vimy Ridge where Fergus McLintock played Flowers o’ the Forest, gathering a crowd of very impressed Canadian tourists.

After returning to our excellent accommodation at Peace Village in Messines for tea and a daily debrief and reflection session with Mercat Tour Guide Rob, the day was rounded off with a hotly contested game of football between the pipers and drummers.

Football was the real winner as the drummers ‘edged’ a thrilling contest 12-5.

Vimy Ridge

Vimy Ridge

Newfoundland Trenches

Newfoundland Trenches

51st Highland Regiment Memorial

51st Highland Regiment Memorial

Pool of Peace



Pipe Band Win in Europe!

Congratulations to our Senior Pipe Band, who were winners at the Belgian Pipe Band Championship on Saturday.  Competing against a strong field, including Grade 2 bands, in the Open Grade competition, they came out on top.  It was a baking hot day, and the determination and focus the band showed in testing conditions was truly impressive.

Congratulations, too, to our Junior Band, who came a very creditable 5th in a strong Grade 4 field. You can see both bands competing below:

Holland 2016: Bobbejaanland, thank you and goodbye

After our rest day in Valkenburg all of our travellers were up early this morning and following a hearty breakfast we set off for an action packed day in Belgium.

Bobbejaanland is a cowboy based theme park and the weather was right on theme, dry and warm with intermittent really hot bits.

Delayed only for a few minutes while we snacked, we entered the park and for the 1st time made a group visit to the Sledge Hammer  Not all of our travellers could summon the courage to ride the Hammer, so they actual sat it out with like Mr.Kidd (jus’ sayin’).

All of the travellers concurred during the post SledgeHammer debriefing that the collective experience had been “actual quality – minteed like”. At this point the older travellers could no longer cope with the grammatical and vocabulary generation gap so we all went our separate ways, until the end of the day. This gave the now sleep deprived older travellers the opportunity to take a 5 minute – actual closer to like 2 – tor a snooze.

Our evening in the hotel began with a bowling competition and ended with karaoke. It was a really good evening and many of our travellers sang their favourite karaoke numbers. Some of them were actual like quite good likes.

This is our final post for Holland 2016 as tomorrow evening will be spent on the Ferry.

The staff of PLHS Holland 2016 would like to actual thank all of the parents and like carers of our young people for the the trust they have placed in us to accompany these wonderful people in their adventures.  They have been a credit to their families and their school, despite a few ups and downs they have been like actual good company.

We wish you all a very happy holiday and trust you will spend at least some of this time explaining when it is like actual appropriate to use the words like and actual. You might find that this time is actually will spent.