At Bonaly Scout Centre today the council’s Outdoor Learning Team transformed the space into a huge outdoor adventure arena for thousands of Edinburgh school children as part of a special “Epic Day Out”.
More than 3,000 Primary 7 pupils visited the site and into the Pentland Hills Regional Park for an innovative initiative run by the Outdoor Learning Team at the City of Edinburgh Council.
During the pandemic, and in line with Scottish Government guidance, there have been no P7 residential trips to the council’s outdoor learning centres at Lagganlia and Benmore. The team decided to bring the outdoor activities to the city and provide a taste of the full residential experience in one extended day.
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Pupils took part in a variety of activities such as hillwalking in the nearby Pentland Hills, archery, climbing wall, bushcraft, crate- stack, nightline and low ropes course. This was followed by an al fresco hot meal, games and a camp fire.
The Outdoor Learning Team, including staff from Benmore and Lagganlia, were supported by Active Schools Coordinators and the Council’s school catering team who provided hot meals to everyone taking part.
Councillor Ian Perry, Convener for Education, Children and Families at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This is a special event for those P7 pupils who have missed their residential trips this year due to the pandemic. Pupils are taking part in a series of exciting activities which will give them a flavour of the full residential experience in one extended day! It’s been an amazing effort by our Outdoor Learning Team and everyone else involved to pull all this together and I know the pupils will love every minute of it.”
Councillor Alison Dickie, Vice Convener for Education, Children and Families at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The Scout centre is an ideal venue for this great project as there’s easy access to the nearby Pentland Hills which is ideal for this Epic Day Out. Our young people have really missed out on their outdoor trips in the past year so being able to do these activities on their doorstep is great. It’s allowing them many opportunities for personal challenge and connecting with nature so a massive well done to everyone for bringing this great outdoor adventure to Edinburgh!”
Catherine Heymans, P7 pupil parent, said: “My son came home on a complete high “the most epic of all epic days”. You’re all awesome for taking that on in the crazy weather they had that day. My son had just the best day out, and he has now decided that lentils are a good thing to eat – phenomenal!”
Peter Casebow, Chair of the Bonaly Scout Centre, said:”It’s been fantastic over the last few weeks to see and hear Bonaly Scout Centre full of young people having fun and learning again. The hard work by the team at Council in partnership with ourselves has really paid off. I’ve been really impressed by the detailed planning of the Council team to manage the complexity and scale of the event in these Covid times.”
Jacqueline Scott, Head Teacher of Trinity Primary School, said: “A huge thanks to everyone for providing such a memorable day for our Trinity P7s. From the minute we arrived to the minute we left, the organisation was incredible. The day provided absolutely the right balance between allowing the pupils some independence and an element of risk taking whilst also encouraging co-operation and ensuring safety. They arrived back at school buzzing with excitement. ‘The best day ever’ was reported to many parents and carers. The commitment and enthusiasm of the group leaders was infectious.”