Visibility was about 20m when we approached Soutra Gorge with P5 from Windygoul Primary. And it was cold – ice floating in the river cold – when we reached the river.
I was working hard to keep a brave face in front of the pupils – I knew hold cold this was going to be and was preparing for a mutiny!
Once kitted up though, and actually splashing about in the water, the adventure and the atmospheric location took over from the dread of the cold water.
The class have been working on recording and presenting their experiences of a journey, and this outing gave ample scope for sharing thoughts, fears and feelings before during and after the experience. Unlike canoeing for example, where they would have some concept of
what would be involved prior to the event, none had any experience of gorgewalking and so were coming to this with some degree of uncertainty and trepidation which the weather and location could only enhance – plenty of material for discussion and for their presentations. Video interviews were conducted on the bus, during the activity and afterwards on the return journey.
The bottom of the gorge is an area which very few people visit – probably only ELC OLS groups a few times a year – and the pupils were able to see unspoilt mosses and pristine icicles – it will be interesting to see their reactions and how/if this comes across in presentations.
After initial instruction and guiding, and once they’d discovered that their gear was keeping them warm(ish), the pupils were given the task of getting themselves back up the gorge and it was great to see them pulling and working together to get each other safely over the icy rocks.
What surprised us all was that the pupils were actively asking to get in the water, splashing about and even volunteered to put their heads under an icy waterfall!
So hopefully the pupils left with increased confidence in their own, and each other’s abilities as well as plenty of material for their presentation projects – it will be interesting to get their take on the day!