Skye Sports – job done!


We had wind, rain, some midges, more rain, and more rain – ok we did have sun on the first and last days.  Over 7 days a group of S5 pupils from Knox and North Berwick High Schools walked 108 kms of the Skye Trail from Broadford in the south to Rubha Hunish in the north.

On leaving Broadford the group first walked 20 kms round the coast to camp at Torrin. Next day we battled over the mighty Blaven in terrible conditions before seeking overnight sanctuary in the great new Camusunary bothy in the company of three Germans, a Norwegian, Hungarian, Lithuanian and a Bulgarian- all conversing of course in English.  Next we walked up the valley to camp at Sligachan, then walked in a ‘monsoon’ day round the coast to the next camp at Portree.  From here we stumbled and fought our way over peat bogs to the top of mighty Storr at the south end of the Trotternish.  Next, we walked the north end of the Trotternish and down through the Quiraing to camp at the excellent Dun Flodigarry Hostel (thankfully with the use of their facilities to avoid the ferocious midges). On the last day we finished with amazing views of Harris, watched dolphins breaching in the Minch before finishing with a refreshing swim at the very north tip at Rubha Hunish.

Very well done Phoebe, Ailsa, Conal, George, Danial, Matt and Ross!  Top job by all for being up for the challenge, and especially for maintaining a great level of enthusiasm and morale through conditions that were definitely ‘character forming’ at times.  And thank you much Caroline for volunteering; giving up your time and helping to make this happen.

Sorry about the lack of pictures (the one of Blaven in the sun above was Googled!),  but I lost my camera. Hopefully we’ll be be able to share group photos and I’ll get more up here.

Have a great Summer …

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.

School of Hard Knox

Start of the new academic year and ELOLS supported two DofE expeditions in week one.

Silver Qulaifying Paddling Expedition along the Great Glen – Gairlochy to Dores – 70 km by sea kayak

Utilising the new trailblazer campsites set up as part of the Great Glen Canoe Trail the group of boys camped at Leiterfearn and Foyers on their journey between Gairlochy and Dores. Arduous? – definitely. Rewarding? – absolutely. Congratulations to a very mature and resilient group of paddlers. Once their presentation is complete the group will have successfully completed the Expedition section of their Dof E Silver award.
This group all attend Knox Academy but they are doing the DofE award as a community youth group

Bronze Training Walking Expedition from Carfraemill to Haddington

We have some beautiful countryside in East Lothian and this training expedition run through the school made the best use of it with  a two day walking route starting/ finishing at the school. The woodland just outside Gifford and the Lammermuir hills made for a fine challenge for two groups. The woods proved navigationally challenging for one group in particular – but often the best learning comes from making mistakes!


More photos from the Silver qualifying and training below

School of Hard Knox

An intrepid group of students as part of their activity week elected to explore a little of their beautiful country on foot.

After a preparation day in East Lothian (the students were responsible for organising food and kit), including a little navigation training and planning of their route, the pupils set off north to the Cairngorms

Ruighe-aiteachain bothy in Glen Feshie was one the groups plans to visit and the group camped a reasonable distance away and were introduced to the bothies; how to respect them; how to look after them; yet enjoying the cameraderie of bothy life.

The group also acheived their planned objective of ensuring that they summited a Munro – managing to avoid the snow on the way!

All in a great well planned by S3 studnets from Knox Academy developing resilience, fortitude and planning skills and ready now to have a lifetime of adventures