Ice Station Soutra

Is it all Fun?

Eight hardy pupils from Musselburgh Grammar requested the help of the Outdoor Learning Service to assist in their travels to explore some of our diverse countryside on Thursday. They wanted to explore close up the beautiful Soutra Gorge.

Knowing the current temperatures the group spent quite some time in preparation before venturing out. This included: longjohn wetsuits; wetsuit socks; walking boots; pile jackets; windproof layers; harnessess; helmets; high energy food; spare clothing and equipment. The pupils were looking at Heath and Wellbeing outcomes for themselves. The pictures below link very well to the highlighted statements taken from HWB experiences and outcomes.

I can expect my learning environment to support me to:
experience personal achievement and build my resilience and confidence
participate in a wide range of activities which promote a healthy lifestyle
assess and manage risk and understand the impact of risk-taking behaviour


All the pupils showed strength of chracter and amazing resilience in coping with extremely challenging conditions – abseiling into the gorge; scrambling along the river bed; climbing up the side of an ice covered waterfall.

Through careful reviewing and reflection with the group this resilience will be able to be translated into other aspects of the pupils’ lives. Education Scotland describes it better than I below.

The development of resilience or coping skills is particularly important to young people as increasing numbers are struggling through school and life with social and emotional needs that greatly challenge schools and welfare agencies. A resilient child can resist adversity, cope with uncertainty and recover more successfully from traumatic events or episodes.

Don Ledingham recently spoke about resilience in his blog – pointing out that we are particularly well suited to delivering this through the flexibilty of Curriculum of Excellence.

To answer the question at the top of the page – no it wasn’t fun for everybody all the time – however with reflection all pupils could see the strength and value of what they had done and achieved. Some of their reflection – words taken from the pupils themselves: scared; happy; cold; icy; slippery; tired; effort; overcoming fears; challenging; hardwork; teamwork; great exercise.

Well done all.

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