Local Access Forum

Over the summer one child gave up an afternoon of her summer holiday to give a presentation to East Lothian’s local access forum. The presentation was given on how they had, through their school camp, come to appreciate the finer points of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code – rights; responsibilities; care for the environment. The forum (around 15 people from a variety of arenas concerned with access) heard how this pupils and her classmates had been able to appreciate nature first hand and spend nights under the stars whilst still Leaving No Trace.
It was a wonderful presentation to witness as a P7 pupil captivated an audience within a conference room of the council offices. It highlighted the immense value of experience as a way to get the message of responsible access across to young people. Here’s to a new academic year of many more such valuable experiences for both young and old.

Many thanks to Leigh Shearer (EL Ranger Service) and the staff of Elphinstone Primary.

Elphinstone Local Heroes

Last week saw Elphinstones P7 camp. In conjunction with the Outdoor Education Service and East Lothian Ranger Service the pupils from Elphinstone Primary have eschewed a week at a residential centre for a week within their local environ. It has enabled the pupils to appreciate their local environment and leave them with lots of opportunities for further learning.

Whilst viewing the photos please make sure that you note: clearing up of someone else’s fire pit; spotting 10 baby eider duck whilst coasteering; the group catching, gutting, cleaning, cooking eating some fish (sea to sauce to mouth!)

The group did as much as possible themselves this week and they all deserve a massive amount of praise for the hard work that they put in. Well done to all the school staff who put in a incredible effort this week also.

The pupils week consisted of

Monday – Kayak – River Tyne and Forth (off Yellowcraig Beach)
Tuesday – Orienteer; Coasteer; Fishing; Overnight Bivi in Hammocks
Wednesday – Travel to Peebles – Initiative Tasks and Woodland Walk – overnight Camp
Thursday – Canoe River Tweed – Overnight Camp
Friday – Pack up – return and Debrief
The pupils are working towards giving a presentation concerning their clean up of fire sites and looking at continuing this work with woodland sites even more local to their school.

Have the pupils at your primary school been stretched recently? Can you say that the learning opportunities were abundant during your school camp? – Elphinstone certainly can.



Extreme Rockpooling

Leaving No Trace

Canoeing the River Tweed

Working hard in Peebles

Hammock Experience

Discovering the journey of food

If you go down to the woods…

Last Friday 12 brave souls from all across the council survived a whole day in Butterdean Woods with the oracle of the woods – Leigh Shearer –  and Richard English (two of East Lothian Ranger Service’s finest)
The course consisted of: poo identification (a big hit with many); woodland sensory games; tracks and trails; shelter building; traditional fire lighting skills and carrying fire (horseshoe fungus in case you were wondering how).
High Tea, made from scratch by course participants, consisted of 3 different types of Bannock and Sorrell Tea. The shelters that were designed and built on the day had to withstand the ‘Monsoon Challenge’ – Leigh with a watering can!

Much fun was had by all. There are now many ideas and inspiration for using a woodland environment with young people.

For more ideas on woodland activities and what other schools have been doing with groups please join the Edubuzz Learning Network Group ‘Forest Schools

Of Rangers, Ring Ouzels and Celandines

Friday was a walk up and round Hopes on a re-validation for the East Lothian Council’s Local Hillwalk Leadership Award. The group was made up staff form the Countryside Rangers and the Outdoor Ed Service.

A re-location of Rangers
A re-location of Rangers, and Keith

Despite the Rangers being subjected to some devious navigational challenges, it didn’t seem to deter them from some eagle-eyed wildlife spotting. Highlights for me included seeing my first Ring Ouzel in ages – and of course the Lesser Celandine.

For those that want to pick over the details of where we went, the following is a live map of the GPS track of our route – unfortunately I forgot to turn off the device before driving home (again)! You can zoom in and turn on the satellite photos to see exactly where we went, or click on the ‘Start Marker’ to open in the Garmen Connect player. It is pretty accurate – the lack of points in some places is unfortunate and probably due to the fact that I confused the darn thing by adding on an additional 15km drive at well above walking pace. (And NO I didn’t use it to ‘cheat’ through the day, it was in my bag!)

Somewhere…beyond the Sea

As part of The Explorer John Muir Award for pupils from Ross High, East Lothian Ranger Service and The Outdoor Education Service came together to deliver a very different exploring experience. Coasteering or extreme rockpooling. Next week the pupils are investigating life within rockpools – this week they were the life in the rockpools and the rest of the intertidal zone.

The pupils have been working with the Ranger and Outdoor Education Services since August 2009. The exploring began high up in the Moorfoots at the source of the river Esk and is now drawing to a close investigating the mouth of the river and beyond.

The whole river study programme has consisted of: map work and model making of the river; journey to source; gorge walking; land use/ measurement in mid section; canoeing on Gladshouse resevoir; River dipping at the mouth/ human impact and fishing; coasteering; rockpooling; coastal fishing industry; boat trip to Bass Rock; celebration and presentation of certificates back in school. Further information and pictures on the work that the pupils have been doing can be found here

The final celebration and presentation will take place in June.