Winter-skills Report

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Last weekend the SOAP students were joined by three Dunbar Students for a Winter Skills weekend in the Cairngorms.

Based at Glenmore Lodge the group spent the weekend enjoying the last of this years white-stuff and learning some new winter skills. On the Saturday the group left the mini-bus at the top car-par in dismal wet conditions. After only walking for about 30 minutes up into Corrie Cas the weather improved and the group were able to practice moving (and stopping) on steep ground using their ice-axe. Next was up over the plateau for a spot of lunch in the snow-holes at Corrie Domhain.

After lunch the conditions varied between bright sunshine and complete white-out as the group navigated Cairn Lochan just on the edge of the nothern corries. Here again very poor visibility needed careful navigation with large cornices, and even larger drops! To complete the round a route west and north of the corries led back to the car-park. That evening the students were able to attend a Winter Navigation evening lecture by one of the Lodge’s instructors.

Sunday was a fairly slow start, all of the group were tired form Saturday’s fairly long day … and the hour-change. Despite this the group headed back up into the corries for a couple of hours practicing avalanche search and rescue using transceivers.

This has been the third residential weekend with the SOAP students , and it’s been great to see them becoming more confident and accomplished on the hill. Next trip away for them will be the Summer Expedition … which from general consensus the group would like to go out to explore some of mountains on the islands off the west coast.

Grand Opening

Thursday evening marked the grand opening of the Outdoor Learning Service’s new building. An excuse for a a get together and a load of food and drink.

We also used the opportunity to showcase some of the work that we do across East Lothian with a wide variety of groups.
We witnessed an excellent presentation by pupils from across East Lothian – view the Prezi below. It was interesting to hear the pupil’s perspectives on: how the pupils’ parents were influenced by outdoor education across the Lothians; Come and Try it events in primary schools; School challenges and competitions; Duke of Edinburgh expeditions; Secondary Outdoor Adventure Programme; What the future holds. Very interesting to hear how outdoor learning has pervaded the pupils’ entire school life and influenced it for the better.

As well as presentations from pupils – there was a short speech from Councillor Ruth Currie citing the wonderful advantages of outdoor learning.

Many thanks to all who attended (a little cramped with over 60 people), and a special thanks to the S6 pupils from across East Lothian secondary schools.
Here’s to quality Outdoor Learning opportunities being made available to all for generations to come.

The following is a short video shown on the night showcasing Outdoor Learning delivered over the last year … depending on what ELC network you are on you may not be trusted to watch this in your workplace. In which case suggest you watch in the comfort of your home.

Outdoor Learning Service – Grand Opening vid from andy duff on Vimeo.

How Good Is Our Culture & Sport

So… How good is our culture and sport in east lothian? Can we evidence this? How can we improve? The Outdoor Learning Service has chosen just one of the many programmes they offer to investigate some of these questions with regards to their service…

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Summer mountain skills – in the snow!

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This last weekend was the Summer Skills Weekend for the Outdoor Learning Service’s SOAP Mountaineering Program. Accommodation was at the very excellent Comrie Croft where we stayed in three of their Katas – big canvas tents, with a wood floor and internal wood stoves. Very cosy.

Saturday was planned to be a Summer mountain skills day … and it started that way, but also managed to included winter skills. As you can see from the photos winter has come early this year to the top of Schiehallion.

Sunday was a day at the crag at the aptly named Benny Beag , just south of Crieff. Here the group got to grips with the rounded and sometimes damp climbing on one of Scotland few sport-crags. But on the fine sunny afternoon the rock did dry off in the afternoon.

So two very different days, neither of them what you’d expect to be achieve on typically dreich Scottish November weekend, and both all the more enjoyable for that.

Next in the program of activities for this group will be Night Navigation then indoor climbing before their next residential trip – the Winter Skills in the Cairngorms.

SOAP selection by rainbow and moonlight

Friday was the selection event for the Secondary Outdoor Adventure Program, or SOAP. This is a year-long programme of courses and activities, delivered by the Outdoor Learning Service, aimed at progressing the skills of senior pupils in outdoor activities. For 2010/11 we are piloting mountaineering skills; bringing together a range of courses and experiences around all things ‘mountain sport’ ; navigation, rock-climbing, summer and winter mountain skills. For more information see the programme details online .

Friday saw the hopeful candidates compete on a fairly tricky orienteering course up on Lothian edge. After this the group travelled on to Innerwick Centre where they made dinner before going out on the hill again after dark. Each member of the group took it in turn to navigate over Spartleton in the darkness, using map compass, head-torch, and the light of the moon. Reaching the summit at midnight and seeing the Crystal Rigg wind-farm lit by the moon was an eerie sight. After navigating safely back down the team returned to Innerwick at 2am for a well earned bed.

The aim of the activities was for the candidates to demonstrate that they are committed and enthusiastic about the programme – and that they had the required level of fitness, determination and organisation. We are pleased to say that they all acquitted themselves well and were all invited to take part. Four schools will hopefully now have pupils participating throughout 2010/11; North Berwick High (5), Dunbar Grammar (2), Knox (1) and Preston Lodge (1).

O-results are as follows … the names have been anonymised, but you know who you are! Note – applying the late penalty is why the results are different than those read out on the day – but the positions were unchanged.

18 controls, limit 50 minutes. Penalty 1 point per minute, or part minute, over the 50 minutes.

Pos Name Points Time Controls, in order visited
1 Dunglass 122 52:35 118, 112, 113, 119, 120, 117, 116, 114, 115, 107, 102, 105, 110, 109
2 Lammer Law 119 50:09 118, 112, 113, 119, 120, 117, 116, 114, 115, 107, 106, 109, 108
3 Esk 105 48:02 118, 112, 113, 119, 120, 117, 114, 107, 103, 106
4 Peffer 94 50:58 118, 104, 119, 120, 117, 116, 114, 102, 105, 110, 109, 108
5 Chesters 64 50:44 106, 108, 109, 110, 105, 102, 115, 114, 107, 103, 118
6 Biel 45 48:12 106, 109, 108, 118, 112
7 Badger 45 49:06 106, 109, 108, 118, 112
8 Luffness 45 49:09 106, 107, 102, 105, 110, 109, 118
9 Gannet 41 53:27 106, 109, 108, 118, 112

You can view/download the orienteering map to see your route by clicking on the map thumbnail below.