Wet ‘n’ Wild

The Outdoor Learning Service hosted the first of (hopefully) many kayaking pool sessions with the charity Beyond Boundaries East Lothian (BBEL) This is an East Lothian Charity which exisits to provide a wide range of outdoor activities for people with disabilities, including learning disablities, aged 16 and over in the East Lothian area.

All participants enjoyed themselves in the warmth of the pool in both the polo boats and the inflatable kayaks.

 We are very much looking forward to working more with BBEL in the pool over winter and getting folks out and about come the summer time. We have discovered some more paddling talent within East Lothian and very much look forward to helping them develop their skills further.

Click on image above to view slideshow of photos from the day

Level 1 Paddlesport Coaches

Congratulations to all new UKCC Level 1 Paddlesport Coaches across East Lothian Schools and Ranger Service

Chris Laud; Julie McCabe; David Gill; Gordon Muchall (all Ross High); Mhairi Walker; Elizabeth McGillivray (Preston Lodge); Leigh Shearer (Ranger Service)

Andrew Berry (Ross High) is well on his way to becoming a UKCC Level 2 Coach

Level 1 coaches from previous years across the authorities school’s include Brian Frost; Gordon Kidd; Anne Cormack (all Preston Lodge); Suzanne Ritchie (North Berwick High)

Becoming a paddlesport coach takes a considerable amount of time and effort (and finance). The enthusiasm shown by all staff in seeking to become paddlesport coaches has been incredible and hopefully it has increased their enthusiasm for paddlesport and that in turn will be passed onto the pupils that they work with.

As a level 1 coach with extra training from the Outdoor Learning Service the coaches are able to work with support and mentoring at a variety of flatwater venues across East Lothian.

Ross High School have already begun a kayaking after school club and will be integrating the paddlepower award scheme and the Cross Stream Challenge into their programme. Ross High are currently undertaking efforts to attempt to get access to the local swimming pool for a series of winter paddling sessions.

Ross High have an ongoing programme of Duke of Edinburgh expeditions through sea kayaking or canoeing and the enthusiasm and dedication of the level 1 coaches will be able to support and promote this.

Preston Lodge High School already have access to their local pool on a Friday afternoon and use it wisely to help promote paddlesport as a means of training to undertake Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions.

The next aim of the Outdoor Learning Servcie is to try and secure funding for a fleet of polo boats and associated equipment with the thought of setting up canoe polo league across East Lothian Schools.

Kayaking indoors

After the closure of Mercat Gait pool before Christmas for essential repairs and school closures due to the snow it was great to finally begin kayak pool sessions with Preston Lodge High.

The kayak pool sessions run from 1215 to 1315 every Friday. Preston Lodge staff that have recently achieved their BCU UKCC (British Canoe Union UK Coaching Certificate) Level 1 Coach Award are now delivering sessions under the guidance of OE staff in order to be able to deliver sessions on their own. Pupils that come along to the sessions can hopefully follow the excellent paddlepower scheme – providing progression and rewarding achievement.

The pool sessions will lead to pupils honing their skills for paddling expeditions in the summer term – both sea kayaking and canoe.

It has been great to have the continued support of the pool staff welcoming kayaks into the pool. Together we are investigating the possibility of permanent storage for some pool kayaks outside the pool. Perhaps we can then encourage the development of a Kayak/Canoe Club in the Prestonpans/Musselburgh area or development of school canoe polo teams.

We can now look forward to many fun Friday afternoons developing skills.