TREE-mendous Outdoor Learning

StoneyHill Branch Out
StoneyHill can’t Leaf it Alone
StoneyHill Learners suddenly Twig
Root and Branch change to Learning at StoneyHill
StoneyHill Barking up the Right Tree

Lots of possible titles for the learning that StoneyHill Primary have been undertaking with the Outdoor Learning Service!
links Wood Map

The P5 pupils from the Primary School have been travelling a mere 30 minutes across East Lothian to look at Woodland Ecology and Bio-diversity at Links Wood near Ravensheugh Sands.

The pupils spent the day exploring the woods and had an outdoor classroom using a teepee; made a fire and helped themselves to hot drinks using a ‘Kelly Kettle’.

They discovered a wide variety of trees through leaf identification. The pupils also witnessed the impact tht non-native invasive species have on a woodland environment (notably rhododendron).
Leaf hunt

All students looked at furthering their work they had done in the classroom concerning cooperative learning by taking on specific roles within their group work.

Macmerry Make Moves

The first day of the Macmerry P7’s outdoor activities week was hill walking. It was down to the outdoor learning base at Musselburgh to get geared up with waterproofs,boots,map and compass.Then it was off to the Lammermuirs. Working in two seperate groups the children did some basic map setting skills and then used the map to navigate to various locations. The children took it in turns to lead sections and decided on the day’s route – so led the whole day. (Pity they cannot drive the minibus!! ) We made a circumnavigation of Hopes Reservoir . A beautiful spot with plenty of interest: buzzards; grouse; various fungi. Thanks to the hillwalker who showed us how to use  his gps and even more thanks to all in P7 for an enjoyable day outdoors.


Day 2 saw the children head down to Haddington to explore a short section of the river by canoe and then increase their navigation skills through some judicious map reading in some competitive orienteering in Neilson Park. (for anyone interested in taking the fantatstic sport of orienteering further please contact East Lothian Orienteers and for the equally thrilling and diverse paddlesport see North Berwick Kayak Club)

The final day of Macmerry’s P7 class local exploration and adventure saw them exploring a small river on foot (gorge walking). Water/mud/climb/slide/stretch/help/uncomfortable/support/laugh/enjoy/learn were all part of a fantastic day.

Some photos from the day can be accessed at the pupils’ blog site

Just to say many thanks for organising our three wonderful days with the Outdoor Ed team.  We had a really great time and all learned such a lot about ourselves, each other and our environment.

Campie Beach Adventures

This week and next Campie Primary 5/6 6a and 6b are working with the Outdoor Learning Service to get out and about on their beautiful coastline.

For some images of Campie’s outdoor adventures please click here

The pupils were looking at

  • Being active
  • Map skills -setting; understanding OS symbols; scale; distance
  • Compass and bearings – this directly follows on from work they have been doing in school concerning angles

In some fantastic winter sunshine they have been exploring the area around St. Baldred’s Cradle near the mouth of the river Tyne.
Navigating to the beach; compass beach beach games; geocaching; tipi lunch; kelly kettle brew; woodland games; stick art have all resulted in fun filled active learning days developing resilince and awe&wonder for their local area. Pupils have left with desire to explore more of their home county; angles in context; knowledge that they have the resilience to enjoy trhe outdoors in any weather.

A gorge-ous day out

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!

Martyn briefs the team – if it looks cold that’s because it was.


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.

And they’re in.

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.

Looking over the edge


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!




Working together to get back out!


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!


North Berwick Salty Sea Dogs

Activities week – North Berwick High.
Whilst many other S3 pupils from North Berwick chose to go abroad for their activities week; a small select bunch of intrepid adventurers chose to go sea kayaking in the most beautiful kayaking areas in the world. Scotland.
They have just completed a three day expedition out to Peanmeanach and the south side of the Arisaig peninsula. Photos and report to follow.