Although times have been tough this year, the S2 pupils again rose to the challenges of their Outdoor Day. The day is based at Scolty Hill and gives pupils the opportunity to learn about navigation, campcraft, and hill walking. This year it was also a great opportunity to run a little wild and free. A recent government survey showed that 85% of young people had found a closer connection to nature during lockdown and this was continued with pupils venturing off the paths and trails to explore the woods. A few had visited them before but not had spent so much time jumping streams balancing on logs or cooking tins of curry (which was surprisingly popular and even more surprisingly tasty).

Each day began with meeting the class bubble, a quick kit check and then travel by minibus to Scolty Hill. The minibuses provided a Covid-safe option, not to mention an element of safety should the weather have turned unexpectedly! After a brief introduction to the principles of navigation as a technical and life skill (how to figure out the answer when you don’t know the answer), the pupils then undertook different routes. Some took paths and tracks, whilst some went off-piste through the trees and mud to see the various forestry operations taking place.

Many groups summited Scolty (disappointingly the tower was closed); the exposed peak showing many the force of the elements. “Wow this wind is so strong up here. You feel as if you might blow away, but it's pretty EPIC!” said one of the girls, hair flying in the wind. Often groups were treated to views of the Deeside valley with pupils keen to use the various signs to work out what the surrounding hills were. “Wow that’s over 30 miles away” said one pupil looking at the summit of Lochnagar.

After descending, the groups learned about using stoves and discussed ideas for tasty, cost-effective meals for expeditions. Many were surprised that a tin of curry and a pouch of rice would taste pretty good. “Hunger and cold are the ultimate seasoning”, said Mr Tayler!

All this in a day of adventurous exploring served with lashings of wholesome outdoor fun.