Getting Schooled in UK Trainings – What is LLA?!?

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Six ambitious educators and their fearless leader atop Traprain Law
Route planning under blue sky along the River Tyne

Starting my first week on placement as a post-graduate student in Outdoor Education from the University of Edinburgh, I had the pleasure of joining six educators out on their Lowland Leader Award Training. Being an outdoor educator from the US, I have been fascinated and impressed by the variety and quality of outdoor trainings available to educators around the UK in the name of safety and quality.

These educators spent much of the day studying their maps and keeping us located and safe. Discussions about risk management and route planning dominated much of the day, but there was also time spent identifying the flora and fauna of the area.

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Snowdrops blooming along the River Tyne
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Resident ponies on Traprain Law keeping the grass low






As the group made their way from East Linton to Traprain Law, by way of Hailes Castle, the weather changed over from blue sky to sleet and snow. It was a great opportunity for the group to talk about quick changing conditions and thoughts on group management in such weather.

LLA - January 2015 023All in all, I was thoroughly impressed by the amount of knowledge that each of the participants brought to the course and their strong commitment to get their students learning outside the classroom.

For my first week on placement, it has opened my eyes to  the great opportunities available to Scottish educators.  The training allows a variety of teachers, not just Outdoor Educators, to become comfortable and confident in making the outdoors accessible to the student’s of this country. Keep up the great work and I hope all days end with great stories and blue skies!

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Staff CLPL and Pupil Winter skills weekends 2015

winter skills

We’ve scheduled two Winter Skills weekends for 2015, both staying at self-catering accommodation in Badaguish in the Cairngorms.  Both weekends leave from the Outdoor Learning Service base , meeting on the Friday at 2pm, returning on the Sunday evening.  All technical and outdoor equipment, transport and catering provided.

Staff CLPL Winter Skills  – Fri 27th Feb – Sun 1st Mar 2015 – £95 ELC (£150 external)

This course is aimed at providing ELC teachers and community leaders with the skills and experiences required to journey in the Scottish mountains in winter. If you’re working with groups, or working towards a walking or navigation award this course will help you gain experience and challenge you to operate in an environment beyond the scope of your current award.

For teachers this course can contribute towards your GTC Professional Update , specifically your Professional Action to help ‘understand and develop the most appropriate contexts and environments for learning including outdoor learning, and be able to apply appropriate pedagogies for these environments.’

To book yourself on a Staff CLPL course please download a booking form from here and return to

Pupil Winter Skills – Fri 27th Mar – Sun 29th Mar 2015 – £95

This will give pupils the chance to experience the Scottish hills in winter; providing them with a range of skills and experiences including use of ice-axe and crampons, assessing snow conditions and planning and journeying in Winter.  The course if aimed at 6th year pupils, specifically those who want to be challenged and learn the fundamentals needed to safely enjoy the Scottish mountains in winter.

To book your pupils on this course, or if you would like to join the course and help with the pupils from your school please contact

Bring on the snow!

Cycle Trainer Course

Cycle Trainer course from Cycling Scotland

This course is for you if you want to be able to deliver all three levels of Bikeability Scotland. As a Cycle Trainer you can develop, plan, prepare and deliver learning sessions to anyone that wants to learn to cycle.
You should be fully competent on a bicycle, and have experience of riding on busy roads.

This course is entirely free to any East Lothian staff and Volunteers and will be held at Musselburgh Outdoor Learning Base 0900 – 1630. Course dates are 13/14 Jan and 29/30 Jan 2015.

Cover costs will be paid for teaching staff that wish to undertake the course. Please contact Martyn to book –  0131 6535217

Bikeability Fan

For those that wish to deliver BikeabilityScotland but only levels 1 and 2 then the one day Cycle Training Assistant (CTA) course is for you. A CTA course can be delivered on a date and venue to suit you – all we ask is to ensure that minimum number requirements are fulfilled (5). Once again please get in touch with Martyn – 01316535217 for booking or other enquiries regarding BikeabilityScotland in East Lothian.

SUPer Summer

With a summer of SUP paddling now behind us it is time to reflect on the achievements of the county’s SUPer paddlers. Steve SUP Orchestrated by one of the authorities finest names in SUP coaching – Steven Nelson – a summer coaching series has resulted in the following awarded through the Academy of Surfing Instructors


  • One fully qualified Level 2 Exposed Waters Instructor
  • One fully qualified Level 1 Enclosed Water Instructor
  • Eight (8) Level 1 Enclosed Water Paddler Certification following a 10 week course.

DSCN2268 The 10 week course from June to October took place on Musselburgh Lagoons along with the fantastic sunshine that East Lothian often has to endure. For many of the paddlers it was their first experience of any watersport and their progression was a joy to behold. Many are now looking to continue their SUP journey by progressing onto Level 2 and attempting to set up a weekly SUP club. Some thoughts from the paddlers:

“…amazed at how quickly – with the help of Rab – I was able to be up and paddling,”
“…looking forward to continuing with this sport and would be delighted to be able to go further and become an SUP instructor myself”
“…originally thought that this activity would just be for me – but now looking into how to embed SUP into my work with young people within the council”

The two coaches who assisted Steve were gaining their requisite hours within an approved SUP school. The knowledge that was shared by the three coaches gave all participants a chance to experience a range of coaching styles and teaching techniques.

P1030779In some beautiful October sunshine all the paddlers took their skills and used them in a guided circumnavigation of the island of Fidra off the beautiful East Lothian coastline.

For information on next summer’s SUP courses – please get in touch with Martyn at Outdoor Learning –


Teaching Orienteering 1

Had the delight of working with a variety of educators based in King’s Meadow Primary and Knox Academy over 2 sessions last week. We delivered the British Orienteering Teaching Orienteering 1 course.

Lots of oppoprtunities for practical orienteering and developing young people with a progressive orienteering plan. This will hopefully lead on to greater ‘O’ participation and increased membership for local orienteering clubs.

Thanks to some wonderful insight from Marion Barclay  (PE specialist lead officer) funding was secured to map all schools. All the maps in PDF form can be accessed here


The next Teaching Orienteering course is due to take place at Haddington on the following dates. – 23rd and 25th April 2014. Maximum number of 14 places
To book please complete the course booking form which can be found here.