The Adventure Academy … the story so far.

On Ben Vrackie

For 2017-18 The Outdoor Learning Service launched the Adventure Academy.  A county wide outdoor activities ‘club’ for S2.  Pupils from Tranent, Musselburgh and Dunbar secondary schools have just completed their first term’s programme of activities.  These included watersports, indoor climbing (working toward their NICAS award) and some outdoor cooking.  Then at the beginning of the month the group planned and then climbed Ben Vrackie a Corbett  in the southern highlands above Pitlochry.

Next term they will progress through their NICAS levels at the local climbing wall, gain a first-aid qualification and we have some more winter adventures planned including a residential to the Cairngorms where the pupils will get to grips with some of the highest and wildest mountains in Scotland.

We still have spaces on this programme for Term 2 joiners. So if you have any S2 at your school who could benefit learning new skills, growing in confidence and resilience then please contact aduff@elcschool.org.uk

The summit shot

The Scottish Oat Route … Job Done!

A team of senior school pupils from Knox Academy, North Berwick High and Dunbar Grammar School returned on Wednesday from an 8 day , 160 km expedition climbing, and walking between, all of Scotand’s 4000 foot Munros.

We traveled up to Fort William and started off with the round of the 4 Lochaber 4000 footers;  Anoach Beg, Anoach Mor, Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis. A big day,  lots of ups and downs, but glorious weather.  Highlights were teetering along the knife edge CMD Arete on perfect warm rock, blue skies and the views out to Skye and Rum  from the snow covered summit of The Ben (pictured above and below).   Lots of snow, and some skiers still skiing the gullies.

 

After a second night in the excellent Steall hut the group walked across Scotland for 5 days to the Cairngorms. Our route took us up Glen Nevis, across Rannoch Moor, through the Ben Alder Forest, over the A9 at Dalwhinnie and over to Glen Feshie. Some long days, but mostly in glorious  weather,  just a spot of rain before Dalwhinnie, but never a midge in sight at any of the camps!  Food drops had been left at Dalwhinnie and Glen Feshie Lodge so we were never walking with more than 3 days supplies.

The next 2 days were over the  tops of the Cairngorms. The 3 western 4000 foot mountains of Braeriach, Angel’s Peak and Cairn Toul were completed in a long day in deteriorating conditions.

The day ended with a ‘sting in the tail’ just before the descent into the Larig Gru.  The exceptionally large quantities of snow of this year had  left a steep snow bank and small cornice blocking the descent off the plateau to our camp by Corrour Bothy. Luckily the snow was pretty soft so after kicking some steps the group were able to descend safely.

The last day was ‘touch and go’ as to whether we could cross the plateau again and climb the last 2 summits.  By 7 am the very strong winds which has buffeted our tents overnight abated so the pull up onto Ben Macdui was relatively calm, until the summit plateau was reached.  The high winds then returned and we were battered and blown across the northern plateau to the 9th and final 4000ft mountain; Cairngorm.  After that it was a quick drop down through the ski area to the base station car-park, a bus to Aviemore, then a cheeky wee chip-supper before getting the train back to Edinburgh. Job done.

So why is this called the Oat Route? Like it’s Alpine namesake The High Route, or Haute Route, (pronounced ‘Oat’) that links Chamonix and Zermatt, so the Scottish Oat Route links Scotland’s mountain resorts of Fort William and Aviemore.

Thanks to Dave Habgood, an Associate teacher with the Outdoor Learning Service, for helping us make this happen and definitely a job well done to Adam, Andrew, Angus, Euan, Leon and Sean for digging deep and completing the challenge in such good spirits. An excellent trip that should have equipped all with some quality mountain experiences, and new skills, to progress their own outdoor adventures at University or their last year at school.

This is snow joke

Last weekend eight students from Musselburgh and Dunbar Grammar Schools attended a two day Winter Skills course delivered by East Lothian Council Outdoor Learning Service. The group were based at Lagganlia Outdoor Centre and spent two days in the Northern Cairngorms.

Saturday was a ‘mountain journey’ from the top-car park at Cairngorm Mountain up into Corrie an Sneachda. During the day the group learned to use boots and ice-axes to cut steps in hard-packed snow, and then how to use crampons to travel on on the ice that covers the upper corrie. The weather was ‘challenging’ and gave the group ample opportunities to practice low-visibility navigation using map and compass in near white-out conditions.

Sunday was a snow-craft and skills day in the Alt Mor area near the ‘Sugar Bowl’ car-park. The recent heavy snow gave plenty of areas to progress movement on steep ground and to practice ice-axe braking to arrest falls.

The weekend gave these these 5th and 6th year pupils from East Lothian schools an opportunity to start to learn the basic skills needed to safely experience the beautiful and hostile Scottish mountains in winter. And maybe for some this may inspire them to progress their mountaineering adventures after they leave school. Thanks to Mr Brown from Musselburgh who helped organise the MGS pupils and for his assistance with the smooth running of the weekend.

Waterfall-tastic

Another trip up the crystal clear waters of Bilsdean and Dungas for Dunbar S3 Geographers …

All things Waterfall process … plunge-pools, overhangs, gorge-creation, hard/soft-rock – all there to be seen.