Primary School late summer paddlesport

Here at East Lothian Council Outdoor Learning Service we are fortuitous to have some wonderful associate staff who often get the opportunity to deliver to our great pupils across East Lothian. Ed has written about 3 recent days he has enjoyed on the water.

These days were run as Adventure Award Days. There are unlimited numbers of these days to all schools across East Lothian.


Mon 29th Sept, Canoeing Adventure, Haddington River Tyne, Yester PS

With the weather forecast looking like it would be very much in our favor I packed up the canoes and equipment I would need and went to meet the group. Upon arrival and meeting I knew that these young people were going to be enjoying themselves and that they would be brilliant at the session. They were fun, engaging and enthusiastic (some were even a bit keen to get very wet also).

Before everything we began with identifying three things that we would try and do during the session. This was going to be how we would decide if the session had been a success or not.

1. We were going to stay safe! This meant that we would have to listen really carefully and follow all the instructions. Being responsible for our own actions would be really important with this.
2. We were going to try and have an increased awareness of the environment that we were in.
3. To have fun. This was really important as we need to enjoy not only the activity we were taking art in but also the environment we were using (e.g the river)

The group were fantastic and we had a really enjoyable time exploring the river. I felt that the group managed to achieve each of the goals we outlined at the start. I was particularly impressed with the effort that they applied to moving the equipment around (the canoes). This is not an easy task and it has been known for participants to not really engage with this side of the session. Not with this team though.

We got on the water and set off on our trip. We went quite high up the river until it became too shallow to continue. We saw lots of wildlife and identified different reasons why the river is the shape it is.

Once we had figured out how to prevent the canoes from going in circles we were able to really move quick over the water. The group found that canoeing is not about the individual but working with your partner if you want the boat to go in the right direction.

All in all I have to say that I was very impressed with every participant who attended the sessions. Hopefully this will have sparked a bit more of an understanding of the environment and the fun that can take place in it.

Tue 30th Sept, Canoeing / Kayaking, Musselburgh Lagoons, Prestonpans PS

Turning up at the Musselburgh Lagoons it was clear that this wasn’t going to be the easiest day to do some canoeing and kayaking. There was a strong wind blowing over the lagoon and when you are sat in a boat on top of the flat water you make quite a large target to be blown away from where you need to go.

This was a day when developing resilience was going to be paramount. It was not the best day to learn the basics of paddlesport. Nonetheless the group gave everything they had. I was really impressed with how they undertook each of the challenges they were given. I set them all goals at the start of the day to achieve and they managed to achieve these goals. First and foremost to have fun and I think that everyone went away happy (and maybe a bit soggy).

With adverse weather conditions the group managed to follow all the instructions and to have an enjoyable time. Great work team.

Tue 7th Oct, Canoeing / Kayaking, Musselburgh Lagoons, Prestonpans PS

This was my second day working with the young persons from Prestonpans PS and they were just as enthusiastic and keen to take part as the previous group. The conditions we a little better than before however there was still a slight breeze which made it a little tricky when you needed to stay in one place. The group really dealt with this well though and they worked hard to overcome all the challenges that were set to them.

It was much the same as the session before, to develop skills so they could control their craft and play games. To listen and follow instructions, thereby staying safe and being respectful of the instructors and equipment. Finally to have fun.

They were all super keen to get into the water also which I thought was particularly brave. Though we were not far away from the summer, the water temperature had dropped considerably. I think that once in the water they maybe were reconsidering the enjoyment they would receive from jumping in. Fortunately they all came prepared for the day to be a bit wet and as such had their own change of clothes so they could get changed and warm quickly.
Brilliant effort everyone. I hope that you will all continue using the outdoor environment to enjoy yourselves in a responsible way.

If you would like the opportunity to volunteer or become an associate with ELC Outdoor Learning and enjoy your days as much as Ed then please get in touch with Liz




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

Campie Beach Adventures

This week and next Campie Primary 5/6 6a and 6b are working with the Outdoor Learning Service to get out and about on their beautiful coastline.

For some images of Campie’s outdoor adventures please click here

The pupils were looking at

  • Being active
  • Map skills -setting; understanding OS symbols; scale; distance
  • Compass and bearings – this directly follows on from work they have been doing in school concerning angles

In some fantastic winter sunshine they have been exploring the area around St. Baldred’s Cradle near the mouth of the river Tyne.
Navigating to the beach; compass beach beach games; geocaching; tipi lunch; kelly kettle brew; woodland games; stick art have all resulted in fun filled active learning days developing resilince and awe&wonder for their local area. Pupils have left with desire to explore more of their home county; angles in context; knowledge that they have the resilience to enjoy trhe outdoors in any weather.

A river brought to life – Dirleton Primary

Dirleton Primary – P6/7 class have been working on rivers this term and decided that they needed to get some first hand experience of the wet stuff.

The class explored outside on two different days and both did very different investigations.
Half the class went out and compared and contrasted two different sections of the River Tyne – (East Linton and Pencaitland). They took measurements (speed; width; depth – full profile picture) and investigated the life within the river.

The other half of the class spent their day out travelling from Source to Sea. The hardest part of this day was finding the source – who knew it would be uphill!. Once we had found the source though they were safe in the knowledge that the rest of the days journey would be downhill. All the words on the wall of their classroom display are now supplemented with photographs that they have taken. Erosion;deposition;levee; source;meander; flood plain; mouth etc.

The two half of the classess then came inside and compared their work and have put all their experiences together on a display board inside the classoom. A river has been brought to life.

See images below

King’s Meadow Primary explore the Tyne

Over the next couple of weeks groups of P7 pupils from King’s Meadow Primary School in Haddington will be exploring different parts of the River Tyne by canoe. During their sessions pupils will learn how to paddle a canoe, work together, understand more about the wildlife of the river-bank – all while getting to see their town from a different perspective.

Over the next 8 session all of the river each group should have been visit a differnt part of the Tyne from Clerkington Mill down to the golf-course weir. The following interactive map shows the progress of the first two groups, the herons and the mallards, this map will be kept updated with their progress.

Click on the map image to open a live Google Map

You can view the photos and some video form the first two sessions here.