Ross High ASN Adventures

A great day had by all providing an outdoor learning day for all pupils in all classes of Ross High School ASN unit.

IMGP0253 The pupils enjoyed the great weather whilst experiencing cycling; canoeing; wildlife watching (and stroking); blokarting; kayaking; firestarting. The whole day was inspired by Gordon Muchall (teacher within ASN unit) who brought together a wide variety of organisations to help deliver the day. ELC Outdoor Learning; ELC Ranger Service; Beyond Boundaries East Lothian; Calvert Trust

Thanks and congratulations must go to all the staff and volunteers who worked incredibly hard to help all the pupils throughout the day. (Especially the staff who braved the excellent toilet facilities!) The exhausted but happy faces of all at the end of the day told of a great day. Keith from Outdoor Learning along with Gordon and volunteers will continue to work with individual classes to enjoy the freedom of the outdoors through canoeing every Wednesday at Musselburgh Lagoons. A very special thanks must go out to the volunteers (including a local councillor; a bus driver and others) who gave so much of their valuable time to help all. This day couldn’t have happened without them. Many thanks

A River Runs Through It

Pencaitland P5 class started the summer term with a day on and in the river. The staff helping the class to discover their learning came from the outdoor learning service; countryside ranger service; Dave Cain (class teacher). This combined approach meant that the whole P5 class could be out at once experiencing high quality outdoor learning. The focus of the day was a river study as part of their John Muir Award.

The class of 30 were split into 3 groups into 3 sessions over the course of the day – looking at (in the class teachers own words)
River profile – looking at rate of flow compared to the depth and width of the river. Also looking at erosion of the river banks, meanders and where the river has come from and where it is going.
River dipping – looking at the variety of life inhabiting the river (we caught numerous fish as well as insects) with particular emphasis on indicator species that show how “healthy” a river is.
Canoeing – looking at evidence of work undertaken to prevent erosion. Discussed terms such as trash line, flood plain and tributary. Also explored the industrial past of the river. And of course the skills of paddling a canoe and the teamwork involved.

It was fantatstic to be part of this well run day using a very local environment to the school and for the pupils to be able to compare/ contrats the section of river at Haddington with the section of the same River Tyne that flows right past the back of the school.

More photos available from the Pencaitland School blog

Ross High Pupils Reaching High Places

As part of their John Muir Award pupils from Ross High ventured out of school and into the woods.  Here, with the help of the Rangers and Outdoor Learning service, they aimed to discover more about the benefits of the woodlands for themselves as well as the wildlife.  Taking on various challenges they perfected their animal climbing skills (which will be explored later…)

The woods were not a new discovery of a wild place for the group.  On a previous visit to the area they had selected and cut down sections of trees to begin laying down a new path to make area more accessible for everyone.  


 Revisiting this area again they were able to see how their work had been continued.  In further exploring the woods it was obvious that not everybody is as careful and considerate of the woodlands as one would hope or expect.  To help conserve the area and make the woods safer to enjoy for themselves and others (human and wildlife) a quick sweep and litter pick of the woodland floor was done.  There was plenty to be found…


 Having helped make the area cleaner and safe for everyone the pupils had a go at completing some woodland challenges.  The first was to try and get between two large oak trees by balancing on a single line!  Here were some of the different ways.  Everyone managed to get across but maybe not quite as fast or graceful as a squirrel would have!


Next the pupils tried their hand at climbing up trees (well a cable ladder attached up a tree!)  


It was a lot harder than it looked!  Most pupils, however, were able to get all the way to the top and this gave them a chance to see things from and in a different way.

Finally there was a chance to have a go at ‘flying’!

As humans it is great to think about and admire lots of different things.  The pupils decided there were lots of abilities different animals had that they would quite like – including to fly like a bird and have the speed of a cheetah.

Overall it was great to explore more of this woodland area, discover different ways of enjoying it by thinking about how different animals climb around and use the woods, and to make it a cleaner place for everyone to enjoy.  Hopefully you have enjoyed reading about and sharing in this experience and maybe you will get a chance to go down to the woods today (or sometime soon)…


Go for It Girls



It was a pleasure to attend the presentation and awards afternoon of the Go for It Girls. A select group of girls from East Lothian who have spent the past year working towards their John Muir Explorer Award. The girls gave an excellent oral presentation on their work; produced a wall display of captioned photos of themselves at work; were presented with certificates; presented certificates to staff that had worked with them to support them in achieving their award. A fantastic afternoon was topped off with a wonderful buffet.


The girls have been working hard over the past year challenging themselves through adventurous activities in wild places; gaining increased environmental knowledge whilst picking up knowledge and skills to do with their topic of mammals;sharing experiences;teamwork skills;incresing confidennce through sharing their experiences to a wider audience. The Awards were well deserved and the girls had been required to work very hard to achieve this – often in quite challenging outdoor environments.


Go for It? – too right they did and they are all ready to begin on their next challenge in life.

Go for It Girls storm Holyrood

Go for It Girls – an inspiring group of young females from schools all across East Lothian who have spent the last year working with Leigh Shearer and a little support from the Outdoor Learning Service – accepted an invitation to share some of their experiences over this past year in parliament and with some MSP’s.

The title of the event at Holyrood was Citizens Enjoying Nature. Four groups were represented giving short presentations on some of the work that was being done by these bodies to promote more visitors into the countryside. The four groups giving presentations were Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH); Scottish Badgers; Scottish Wildlife Trust(SWT); Scottish Countryside Ranger Association(SCRA).

All very interesting presentations on how each of these bodies are encouraging more people into more areas of countryside more often. As part of the SCRA presentation East Lothian’s very own Ranger Leigh Shearer gave a presentation on how the Go for It Girls had been inspiried by the Ranger Service to get out into their own back yard countryside and make a positive contribution to it through partaking in the John Muir Award.

Leigh’s presentation can be viewed below


The girls from the group that attended the presentations worked the room beautifully at the end of the presentations and also made the most of the opportunity to speak to their local MSP (Iain Gray) about their endeavours – see image below

Well done to all girls involved in this project and they will continue their great work by mentoring this next years group.