What is the ROPE Challenge?


The ROPE Challenge is a program of adventurous outdoor activities provided to Knox Academy by the Outdoor Education Service supported by Active Schools .

ROPE stands for Rock-climbing, Orienteering, Paddling and Exploration. The first three sessions introduce participants to different land and water based outdoor activities. While these are short sessions , the key skills of the activity are covered and they are intended to whet the appetite for future particpation.

The final, Exploration session, is designed to be ‘pupil-led’, with participants provding input to selecting the venue and activity from a choice of options – based on their experiences to date. A key feature of the program is to keep the session content flexible, making the best of conditions on the day; within the bounds of the guidlines and risk-assessments. For example, the day planned for Orienteering coincided with the best snow conditions seen in East Lothian for many years, so we went skiing. To see all posts tagged with ‘Rope’ … Click here.

The objectives of program are …

  • To provide a variety of outdoor activity sessions, within a structure program, that encourages future participation
  • To challenge participants in a number of outdoor environments
  • To provide choice and be ‘pupil-led’ for the Exploration
  • Encourage progression of group-work and dynamics through the program
  • At the end of the program all participants are provided a completion certificate listing the activities attended. The first program was run with a Knox S1 group over the winter, and based on this success is being extended to an S2 group through to Easter.

    Knox S1 get some Winter Skills

    Friday was the fourth and final ROPE sessions for the Knox S1s. It was an early start and off to the Ben Lawers mountains for the day. The plan had been to climb Meal nan Tarmachan, unfortunately the road up to the Ben Lawers visitor centre was too icey to drive up; and walking from the bottom was too long for the time available. So ‘Plan B’ was a walk up and around the corries – with plenty of opportunty to practice winter skills en route.

    The group learned how to use an ice axe to move around on the slopes, how to cut steps and how to SAFELY arrest a fall.

    Click on the image for a movie (you may want sound!)
    Click on the image for a movie (you may want sound!)

    An excellent day; cold, but clear, with occasional show showers.

    For a movie with sound click on the image above, for a better picture quality slide show click here.

    Knox S1s dust off the x-country skis

    I’m told that it’s been many, many, many years since we’ve been able to plan ahead to use the x-country equipment that we have in Outdoor Ed.  But the conditions we’ve had over the last month made it well worth while digging out the skis. They don’t look they’ve been much used this millenium. Really. 

    The first group to use them was on Friday with a session with the Knox S1’s. It was the 3rd session of their R.O.P.E program (also see https://www.edubuzz.org/outdooreducation/2009/12/20/festive-canoeing). While this session was supposed to be Orienteering , when snow conditions like these come around you just have to grab the opportunity when you can.

    Getting the mini-bus up Gifford was the first challenge, but luckily the roads as far as there were fine. We geared up outside at the village hall and skied straight form there.

    View Gifford x-country Ski in a larger map

    Skiing up the up the village green the snow was pristine; too deep for people to have walked in and messed it up.  From there we went on up the estate road towards Yester house.   Our eventual destination was intended to be the Gobin’ha – the castle up beyond golf course, not the pub!  Skiing up the by the river was on fine paths; up to a metre or more of soft powder. I’m sure there was be lots of wildlife to be seen – but the constant shrieks of kids falling/crashing/capering kept all well hid.

    In the end we started to run out of light, and some out of energy – and weren’t going to make it to the Goblin’ha. After a quick snack break we headed back the way we came, getting back to the van for about 3:30. Weather and snow conditions were excellent all afternoon, never got much above -5C. Hopefully an outing with memories that will stay with all the pupils for a lifetime.

    I’m pretty sure I got some really got photos and would have included them in this post … unfortunately my camera is having an unplanned ‘winter break’ in a Lammermuir snow-drift after going AWOL during a weekend ski outing. 🙁

    Festive Canoeing …

    Final friday of the year!  While most softer folk were off for their Christmas Dinners seven of the hardier S1 Knox pupils opted for a canoe up the Tyne.  We put in at the Aubigny , and paddled up to the meadow in front of Clerkington Mill – a great location for a festive picnic of mince-pies and mulled fruit punch heated on the fire.

    This was the second of a four session program of Outdoor Ed sessions being delivered to Knox.  The program’s acronym is ROPE … which stands for Rock, Orienteer, Paddle and Explore.  The first Rock session was at Tranent climbing wall, and the festive canoe trip was the Paddle. In January there will be an Orienteering/navigation in the Lammermuirs.  It’s then up to the pupils, with some guidance, to select a day long exploration of somewhere further afield.   Options include climbing a munro, or traversing the Chain Walk in Fife.