Gorillas in the mist

Not quite Gorillas but S3 pupils from across East Lothian. Six teams representing secondary schools from across the county took part in the S3 Challenge – all competing for the Golden Boot.

The event was held in and around High Wood over in the east of our county. On the day visibility remained at no more than fifty metres. It made for some challenging navigational issues for all teams. In a variety of challenges throughout the days journey pupils were required to work collaboratively to acheive success and gain tokens throughout the day. The ‘pinpointing their location by photograph’ was a particularly tricky task considering the weather conditions.

Preston Lodge held the trophy from last year but were forced at the end of the day to pass it over to North Berwick High who get to display the Golden Boot in pride of place in their trophy cabinet.

Thanks once again to all pupils and staff that came along on the day.

Next Challenge is for S1 Friday 5th November.

I fought the Law (and the Law Won)

Click above to play the movie, don’t forget to enable sound for a full auditory experience. You can view individual picures in the S5 Album in Picasa.

A cold clear East Lothian Day…  Over 50 S5 Pupils from 5 East Lothian Secondary Schools (North Berwick High School, Dunbar Grammar School, Preston Lodge High School, Knox Academy, Ross High School) gathered at North Berwick Law for a full day of both physical and mental Outdoor Challenges involving skills such as leadership, problem solving, communication & risk management.

Both Pupils and Staff had an enjoyable and rewarding day


1st North Berwick G
2nd Ross High D
3rd (joint) Preston Lodge H
3th (joint) Dunbar F
5th Preston Lodge L
6th North Berwick E
7th Knox Academy K
8th Knox Academy I
9th Ross High J

S4 Challenge

Click on the image for a full-screen slideshow

The sunniest Friday ever heralded the first of our Challenge Days for Secondary students across East Lothian. This past Friday was specifically aimed at S4 pupils and was based at John Muir Country Park.

These Challenge Days are designed for all secondary schools across East Lothian and help pupils face adversity and challenge outdoors and requires them to employ a range of techniques and strategies to solve problems. All the while not falling out with their team mates.

Pupils are required to form teams of six and spend the day navigating to and completing a series of challenges. On this S4 Challenge day this included river crossings; fire lighting; aerial ropeway; orienteering;fishing(!).

North Berwick and Preston Lodge sent two teams each. All four teams from these two schools equipped themselves extremely well and coped admirably with all the challenges that they were faced with whilst navigating across a wide area from Seafield pond to the far side of the woods at John Muir Country Park.

The winning team by the narrowest of margins was one of the teams from Preston Lodge High. Congratulations to all pupils who took part on the day.

Thanks must go to all of the school staff that helped on the day and the ranger service (Caroline and Tara)

We very much look forward to seeing all six secondary schools at the next Challenge – S5 Friday 24th September.

Student Winter Skills ’10

Plenty of sun and lots of snow provided excellent conditions for the weekend’s Student Winter Skills Course. Twelve S5 and S6 pupils from Knox, Dunbar and North Berwick were on a residential trip to the Cairngorms run by the Outdoor Education Service.

Student Winter Skills '10
Student Winter Skills 10

During the weekend the pupils walked the Northern Corries, climbed Cairngorm Mountain and visited snow-holes high on the plateau … and along the way learned and practiced a host of winter mountain skills. These included mountain navigation, using ice-axe, crampons and snow-pack analysis.

To learn more about what they got up to click on the following to see the photos. Sorry there are so many … but when the weather’s this good…

Click here to open in a full-screen slide-show, to see the videos, or to download pictures.

Through two long mountain days (and a wee surprise night orienteering event) the pupils were always up for the challenge – they were all a credit to their schools.

Big thanks to Miss Ritchie from North Berwick High for assisting the Outdoor Ed staff with the weekend (and good luck in your upcoming Mountain Leader Training.) You can see her North Berwick High school blog post here.

And some links for the students … the main online resources used for the weather was the Mountain Weather Information Service, for avalanche forecasts see the Scottish Avalanche Information Service.

Adrift on the Tweed

Some more staff development took place this past weekend with 2 days of canoe training. All participants are currently working towards their 3 star canoe award (SCA award). Included in the participants were staff from North Berwick and Preston Lodge High Schools.


 Preston Lodge (with support from the Outdoor Education Service) have an ongoing programme of paddlesport pool sessions and will soon be moving into doing some pupil training on Musselburgh Lagoons (a local sheltered water venue). All this will lead to their Duke of Edinburgh award expedition section being undertaken in either canoes or sea kayaks. A fantastic opportunity for all students.

North Berwick High – in conjunction with the Outdoor Education Service –  are currently developing a week long trip in which pupils are investigating the geology and land use of some remote areas of the North West Highlands by canoe, foot and bike. This fantastic educational excursion can only take place due to the hard work and dedication of school staff in working with the outdoor education service to develop their skills through acquisition of Mountain/Hill and Paddlesport coaching/leading awards.

A big thanks to all school staff who continue to put in a huge amount of hard work and determination to ensure that their pupils have access to tremendous energetic learning opportunities and a Curriculum for Excellence.