Outward bound 2022
On Monday 5th December 2022 36 courageous students left for a week of winter mountaineering at the Outward Bound centre at Loch Eil near Fort William, Scotland.
The coach departed SMW at 4.30am for the 300m trip to the Highlands. On arrival at Loch Eil, all Outward Bound courses start in the same way with the infamous ‘Jog and Dip’. This involves students running down to the loch and submerging themselves in the water. All students managed to meet this initial challenge and it certainly woke everybody up after the journey! After this, it was back to the centre for a warm shower, before packing for their expedition.
One of the highlights of any Outward Bound trip is the expedition. This involves the students walking or canoing to a campsite in the wilderness, with nothing more than a rucksack, tent and food on your back, for the following 24 hours. The groups had very different expedition experiences. Miss Blakemore’s group camped on the side of Loch Eil and had a spectacualr view of Ben Nevis. Mr Powell and Miss Beckett’s group camped on the beach with views out to the Inner Hebrides – Isles of Rum and Muck. Finally, Mr Pearson’s group walked up into the mountains and camped next to a Bothy. The temperature was cold, especially overnight which saw temperatures drop to below zero degrees. Yet the students still demonstrated cheerfulness in the face of adversity. As the quote on the flag says ‘The best views come from the hardest climb’.
Wednesday morning saw a walk or canoe and mini bus back to the centre, with students exchanging tales of their adventures. It was brilliant to hear students sharing what they did and saw on expedition. In the afternoon it was debunk time which involved students working together to make sure they returned all borrowed items back to the kit room. Followed by the night time activity which involved some more team challenges such as Jacob’s Ladder and Leap of Faith.
On Thursday, all groups experienced different adventurous activities. Miss Blakemore’s group went scrambling in the Nevis gorge, followed by abseiling back down. Mr Powell and Miss Beckett’s group had an adrenaline rush from the Zipline, before a challenging canoe back to the centre. Finally, Mr Pearson’s group went to Glen Nevis to design a rope bridge and completed a Tyrolean crossing over the river, before heading back to the centre for some canoeing in the loch. Afterwards, students started to pack and clean their rooms before tea time. Then all groups went down to the loch for a camp fire, to toast some marshmallows and share some amazing stories from the week. We then headed back to the centre to celebrate Owen’s and Aaron’s birthday with some cake.
All good things must come to an end we sadly departed Loch Eil. The journey back through the mountains of Glen Coe will live with us for the rest of our lives. We eventually arrived back at school at approximately 7pm and we were glad that all students left with smiles on their faces and asking when the next Outward Bound trip would be.
Finally, I would like to thank all parents for their support in ensuring students were prepared for the trip and the staff who accompanied me: Miss Beckett, Mr Powell and Mr Pearson.
Those students who are interested in attending a future Outward Bound trip should see the PE department for more details.
PE teacher/ Trip Lead