Article by C. Wyllie (Curricular Leader Social Subjects & RME)
Friday 6th September
Recently S2 pupils returned to school after attending a highly successful 5 days on our annual Outward Bound residential programme. The school has been working with Outward Bound for over a decade now and this year saw 46 of our S2 pupils travel the 170 miles to Outward Bound’s outdoor centre at Loch Eil, near Fort William.
During their time away pupils truly did demonstrate our school values of Responsible, Respectful & Safe.
The pupils were placed into clans of 11 or 12 participants and were responsible for working as a team all the time they were away. Clan responsibilities included helping each other pack and carry tents and supplies during the 24hr overnight expedition, looking out for each other when rock climbing, doing the ‘leap of faith’, gorge walk and all the various other activities. Pupils were expected to get up on time, attend meals as a clan as well as look after their own kit room with all the items they would need for the week.
Cameron Clan on Expedition
The programme also involved participation in the John Muir Discovery Award in which the pupils were asked to discover, explore and conserve the wild places around them and then later share with others what they’d done over their 5 days away. Our conservation task this year involved all clans participating in a beach clean-up on the shore of Loch Eil.
Outward Bound instructors and staff accompanying the trip commented on the respectful and positive attitude of so many of our S2 participants throughout the week. Respect by pupils was shown through actively listening to instructors, giving their all during activities, thinking about others, as well as leaving the environment such as dormitories, dining area and the various wild places we visited in a fit state for those who visited and used these places after us. Positive working relations between staff and pupils were certainly boosted during the week and everyone looks forward to building on these relations now that we’re back at school.
Collecting plastic and other debris on the shore of Loch Eil
Safety on any outdoor activities trip is of course of paramount importance. Again, the behaviour and positive attitude displayed by our pupils certainly went a long way to ensuring another safe and rewarding experience for everyone this year. This was especially true of activities such as gorge walking and rock climbing where pupils actively helped in the checking of safety equipment before final checks made by the instructors. Pupils were regularly tasked with thinking about potential risks before engaging in activities and how they could contribute to the safety of the group.
Harness & rope checks made during climbing & abseil
It has been very heart-warming to hear the positive comments from many pupils and parents on our return to Edinburgh. In addition, we’re really delighted that all 46 participants this year succeed in gaining certificates for completing their Outward Bound programme as well as attaining the John Muir Award at Discovery level. Well done!