Ski adventures above the clouds for PL and NB pupils

IMG_3476Pupils from Preston Lodge and North Berwick schools took part in a weekend of ski touring with the Outdoor Learning Service.   Driving north on the Friday with 19 degs C having been recorded in Braemar we were ‘optimistic but realistic‘ as to what snow cover we would find for touring in the Cairngorms.

However those that ‘went high’ were rewarded with a world of blue ski, blazing sun and excellent snow above the clouds – on one day at least.

On Saturday we left from  the top ski car-park and set out in hope into a thick grey fog.



After skinning up Fiacaille of Corrie Cas for an hour the murk started to thin, and after another hour, and just as we reached the Cairngorm plateau, we broke through to blazing sunshine,  a cloudless sky and looked down on the tops of the cloud layer.  A perfect cloud inversion.


As we rested and took off the skins the blue sky disappeared and cloud rolled back in just as we left to ski down Corrie Raibert.


Then the blue ski reappeared as we skinned back to the top of Cairngorm.


And the same happened again as we descended into Ciste Mearid and climbed back out to ski back down Corrie Cas!   In fact all day we seemed to manage to coincide the great downhill skiing with terrible visibility, and the skinned up hill under a blazing sun!  Still a brilliant day, giving these lucky East Lothian school pupils a top intro to ski touring.


They all got to learn new skills and appreciate back-country skiing away from the crowds and in amazing conditions.

The Sunday saw us back on top of Cairngorm, then a great ski down into Corrie Raibert again, linking up the snow patches we had skinned up the day before. After this it was skins on again and we made our way  round the back of Corrie Sneachda and Corrie an Lochain. In contrast to the day before though we were ‘in the white’ for all the journey over the plateau.


Each of the team took turns out front and experienced that weird whiteout feeling of no horizon and no way to see if the snow ahead was up, down or flat.  Two hours of careful navigation later and we dropped out of the clouds for an excellent spring snow descent down Lurchers gully.


Even the one and a half kms slog back back across heather in boots to the car-park failed to take the smiles off the faces.


Another great day. Given how quickly the white-stuff is going though, unless we get some more snow-fall soon, that will definitely be the last tour of the season from us.

If you are a S4, S5 or S6 pupil, or parent of one and want to participate in next year’s ski touring adventures please contact us.  Click here for the gPhotos album of all photos.

Stop Press (mennan) S1 Challenge

The annual East Lothian S1 Outdoor Challenge Day 2011 took place on Friday 18th November. Aimed at S1 students from all secondary schools across East Lothian it encourages students to compete for the S1 trophy provided by the Outdoor Learning Service.















For more photos please click here

The pupils are split into teams of six and journey across a range of terrain (forest track;woodland; open moorland; exposed summit of Deuchrie Dod by map. Each team encounter various challenges on their journey which they are required to overcome by a variety of methods requiring initiative; perseverance; patience; stamina; memory; teamwork; observation; knowledge; empathy. It is always fascinating to see how pupils cope with these demands in occasionally challenging weather conditions. All pupils end the day on a confident high all having been effective contributors, successful learners and, as with all work through the outdoor learning service, showed a healthy respect and care for the environment (our outdoor classroom).

A competitive element is always present in the competition and there was only one winning team on the day who were from Preston Lodge. Congratulations to all teams but in particular Preston Lodge who appear to have quite an aptitude for many of these Challenges!

Next Challenge is the S6 challenge taking place on the 2 December at Yellowcraig. If your school would like to enter a team then please get in touch with Martyn

Once again many thanks to all the school staff who bring the pupils along these challenges and help to support and supervise the day. These Challenge days could not happen without their support.

British Schools Orienteering Championships

Pupils from Preston Lodge travelled to Linlithgow on Sunday 20th November to compete in the British Schools Orienteering Championships with the help of the Outdoor Learning Service. All the athletes came away from the event with a creditable performance to their name and are looking forward to undertaking more events. It certainly gave the pupils an impetus to carry on with their own orienteering training with the hope that they can compete again with pupils from all over the UK next year.

We will be meeting up with the athletes soon to analyse their performance through Routegadget – a superb analysing tool.





For all the results and some photos from the event please click here and navigate on the BSOA website.


This is part of the ever expanding orienteering programme at Preston Lodge. An after school orienteering club will begin in the New Year with local orienteering events programmed into this club. It is an embedded part of the curriculum – with shared lessons between departments – Maths and PE.

This has all come about due to an initial CPD run by the Outdoor Learning Service – Teaching Orienteering 1 – please see our staff development pages for details on the next course – and a very enthusiastic member of PE staff at Preston Lodge.


Coming soon – details of the annual East Lothian Schools Orienteering Competition 2012

Level 1 Paddlesport Coaches

Congratulations to all new UKCC Level 1 Paddlesport Coaches across East Lothian Schools and Ranger Service

Chris Laud; Julie McCabe; David Gill; Gordon Muchall (all Ross High); Mhairi Walker; Elizabeth McGillivray (Preston Lodge); Leigh Shearer (Ranger Service)

Andrew Berry (Ross High) is well on his way to becoming a UKCC Level 2 Coach

Level 1 coaches from previous years across the authorities school’s include Brian Frost; Gordon Kidd; Anne Cormack (all Preston Lodge); Suzanne Ritchie (North Berwick High)

Becoming a paddlesport coach takes a considerable amount of time and effort (and finance). The enthusiasm shown by all staff in seeking to become paddlesport coaches has been incredible and hopefully it has increased their enthusiasm for paddlesport and that in turn will be passed onto the pupils that they work with.

As a level 1 coach with extra training from the Outdoor Learning Service the coaches are able to work with support and mentoring at a variety of flatwater venues across East Lothian.

Ross High School have already begun a kayaking after school club and will be integrating the paddlepower award scheme and the Cross Stream Challenge into their programme. Ross High are currently undertaking efforts to attempt to get access to the local swimming pool for a series of winter paddling sessions.

Ross High have an ongoing programme of Duke of Edinburgh expeditions through sea kayaking or canoeing and the enthusiasm and dedication of the level 1 coaches will be able to support and promote this.

Preston Lodge High School already have access to their local pool on a Friday afternoon and use it wisely to help promote paddlesport as a means of training to undertake Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions.

The next aim of the Outdoor Learning Servcie is to try and secure funding for a fleet of polo boats and associated equipment with the thought of setting up canoe polo league across East Lothian Schools.

Preston Lodge Orienteering

Preston Lodge S1 pupils under the careful guidance of Mr Sellwood and support of the Outdoor Learning Service continue with their orienteering development. These rich tasks run in conjunction with maths development. Some images of the students in action below. Hopefully very soon we will have a crack team of orienteers from Preston Lodge that will be taken along to enter a competitive orienteering event.