Too many apps, not enough maps (and compasses)?


We all love the ease of using GPS and smart-phone apps to find our way around … but like living on junk food alone an over reliance on this is bad for our long-term (navigational) health.  The Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN)  is currently on a media offensive warning of how our over reliance on mapping apps and GPS is undermining our ability to navigate.

See articles at both BBC News and UK Climbing.  One solution?  Get on an Outdoor Learning Service staff training course and get the skills and resources to effectively  deliver navigation to your pupils and community groups.

Take a look at the Staff CLPL area for navigation courses such as the National Navigation Awards Scheme, Teaching Orienteering, the Mountain Training Lowland Leader Award and our Duke of Edinburgh staff courses.

Carry on Campie – beach adventures

The final group of P6 have made their way down to Ravensheugh beach today for some high quality outdoor learning in the winter sun.

Five trips have been made in total by groups of P6 pupils with all designing their own adventure day and learning in consultation with their own and OutdoorLearning Teaching staff.

Chosen activities and learning included exploration of the woods, rocks and beach through orienteering; creativity through beach art; exploration of cardinal compass points through use of compass and awareness of natural world (sun/moss/wind/smells); exploring rockpools – what adaptations are required to survive and thrive in the harsh environment.

A quote from a pupil on Campie Primary School blog

There we learned many skills…  …Over all everyone can agree, it was a great day out!!!!!

We look forward to many more great days out with Campie and others.

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.