An update on the last day will be added over the weekend!
Here are the photos for Thursday and a group photo!
Loch Insh 2013 Day 3
Day three is when the tiredness kicks in! Everyone is on the go from early morning till late and so eventually it catches up with you. However, it is interesting to see how the children go up and down according to what they are doing! Meal times were very quiet today as they appreciated a time to sit, eat and catch breath!
Again we were up early and down for breakfast by 7.30am. All of the boys from Strichen had to be woken up today...and you could tell they would have liked a bit longer in bed! Mind you...they weren't the only ones!
So...breakfast...packed lunches and posting the blog from yesterday was all ticked off the list. The weather was looking hopeful once again and we were keeping our fingers crossed that it would stay dry once again.
After returning from breakfast their next challenge was getting ready for the morning activities followed by....room inspection! Now this was beginning to become a bit more competitive and the Longside boys were the first to ask if they could use the hoover to help! Take note....THEY ASKED TO USE THE HOOVER!
Well, the ripple effect soon spread and one by one each room asked if they could use the hoover! Mrs Mitchell and Mr Taylor went on room inspection duty and to say they were pernickity was an understatement! However, MOST of the rooms were looking great and credit to the Longside boys who are in a room of 5 for getting FIVE points out of FIVE!
So...off we went down to the boathouse again. The pupils are now talking about the steps and counting how many times they still have to go up and down them. By this time.....we should be down to being up and down twice more before leaving.
The sharks were going off to Arch while the whales and the starfish were going skiing! Archery is easy to get ready for.....just collect a bow, get some arrows and off you go. The skiing is a bit more involved and with two groups at the same time makes it even more complicated! First.....what is your shoe size? Then they have to try on the boot and figure out how to do them up. Then they need to queue and get the boots fitted for the skis they are given. Then they need a helmet and gloves. Then they 'moonwalk' over to the slope where they then have to find out how to move on the slope before even thinking about going up the hill and come down!
Mr Taylor and Miss Stewart were keen to join in and so they fought with their boots and skis and were looking forward to the challenge! Miss Stewart was keeping it quiet that she had been skiing previously! Slowly but surely they all managed to get reasonably proficient at moving and walking with the skis and as time went on the were going higher up the slope. They had to learn various techniques like the pizza and how to stop at the bottom of the hill!
Everyone enjoyed the experience and they all gave it a good go. They even were using the ski-tow to get pulled up the slope. Once finished they then had the joy of getting skis off, getting back to the boathouse then getting their helmets and boots off and back to the instructors! You could see the ones who had been skiing before as they were more confident but the others all improved a lot over the session.
The archers were enjoying their fun and again there was a lot of competition between them to score the most or hit the balloons that were pinned on the targets.
Late in the morning we had a 'surprise' visit from the two primary 7 pupils from Strichen who did not come on the trip and the look of surprise on the faces of the others when they appeared was a sight to see. They enjoyed seeing what everyone was up to and joined us for lunch and took part in the raft building in the afternoon.
Lunch today was OUTSIDE! We managed to have a picnic outside the accommodation in the sun and it was great.
But soon we were off on the next activity – RAFT BUILDING. I think this has turned out to be a favourite for many of them! At the start of the activity they were taken in to the lecture room and were given some pointers about how to build a raft and were shown how to tie some 'proper' knots! ( I would have used granny knots.....but they are difficult to untie at the end!) After this they were split into four teams and got their materials and were off!
They were allowed:
Barrels (4 or 6 depending on size)
6 long wooden poles
8 pieces of rope
Slowly the rafts started to take shape and you could see the 'organisers' coming to the fore as they assigned different tasks to their group members. Occasionally there was a lively debate as to how they would best set about the task or complaints if people were not doing as instructed! However, after some hard work and good team work the rafts were ready for launching! But before this they had to go and get their life jackets and a paddle. Once everyone was back they man handled their rafts into the water and suddenly the air was awash with screams as they tried to get the raft to float, or tried to get on the raft or tried to stay on it once they did get on. The water soon turned white with all the splashing and the screams got louder as they got further out from the shore and they started to fall off into the deeper water!
One or two of the rafts were very solidly built and the 8 or 9 people on the raft sat quite happily ON the water. The other two got their...but one of them in particular was a bit rocky and more often than not they fell off one by one into the water!
The screams of joy got louder and louder and the laughter never stopped! Not everyone went in the water but we all enjoyed watching.
However, it soon became apparent that their main aim was to end up IN the water! So the rafts were taken back on shore and then they all ran and jumped in on mass into the water. Some said it was not cold at all! Some did look a little blue! One or two took little knocks and one from Strichen was taken back ashore in the 'safety canoe' and needed a few minutes just to get back on his feet after taking a knock and ended up feeling a little faint. However, after a few minutes he was soon back helping his team dismantle the raft and put the equipment away.
They were delighted, noisy and very WET! But they had a great time. However, the slog back up the steps to the hall was a little more challenging and taking off all their wet clothes before going into the hall was more challenging than normal. Lets hope the drying room manages to at least dry the clothes off a little before tomorrow. However, I doubt it will and so expect some very damp, heavy clothes in the cases!
Tea was a B-B-Q – but it was held indoors due to the changeable weather. Soup, burgers in a bun, chicken, sweetcorn and salad was the order of the day. Again a hearty meal was had by all and then it was back up to get ready for problem solving in the evening.
We also had to make it to the shop for the two groups that had not been and they managed to make a good go of spending all their money! Hopefully they have bought you something nice to take back!
We went down early before the evening activity and went to the park or played football for a while. The highlight was Miss Stewart scoring a goal in the game!
Problems solving was more fun that they had imagined and the groups took part in a variety of different games and problems round the site which challenged them and made them work as a team!
My group finally cracked their last problem at the ELEVENTH time of asking and it was only the 'treat' of losing their breakfast that focussed them to complete it eventually!
After this we went back up to the hall and after some quiet time we invaded the other school's disco to get their certificates from the instructors and to see the video of the week. However, the video di not run its full course and hopefully each school will get a copy of it tomorrow to take back to let them see it.
After this we had to start thinking about packing! We gave very good helpful hints and tips about packing – but I imagine you will end up with suitcases and bags with everything just stuffed in them!
Anyway, tomorrow we need to be up and out of the rooms by 9.15 ready to go and then we head of Canadian canoeing. We have told them we have to remain dry during this activity or it is going to be a long journey home on the bus!
They are now all asleep and we will possibly need to be up early tomorrow to make syre we are tidied and packed before the last activity!
The good bit about day 3 - you HAVE to waken them all this morning! They all want to sleep!
Loch Insh 2013 Day 2 – Wednesday
Well, a late night and an early morning! Never a good combination! The children now realise why not going to sleep at the right time has consequences at 6.50am!!
Early breakfast is a trial....up early, showered and dressed and down for breakfast and packed lunch duty! The children had a wide range of breakfast goodies – fruit juice, cereals, toast and bacon! While having breakfast they all 'made' their sandwiches, got fruit, yogurt, crisps and a biscuit they were ready! It was back up the hill AGAIN to tidy up, get ready for the first activity and.....room inspection! Cue the puzzled looks! 'Room Inspection????' they chorused?
So, the morning activities were archery for two groups and kayaking for one. The weather was quite overcast and windy and so the loch had transformed from its usual early morning calm to being quite rough!
So the kayakers dawned their waterproofs, life jackets and got a paddle and they were off!
They got the kayaks all lined up on the water side and then went through some exercises with the oars before being let loose on the water! They start off in a sheltered area so they get a chance to get acquainted with the kayak and the intricacies of using the paddle! They were having great fun and before long they were heading out of the sheltered area onto the loch and had soon disappeared round the headland on the way to the haunted shed!
The other two groups were honing their archery skills. Bows were collected and the arrow rack was taken over to the two archery areas. Each group had six targets to use and so worked in pairs. They received instruction – as this is potentially a dangerous activity – and before long they were discovering that it is not quite as easy as they think! At first it is ...lets try to hit the target or lets get enough power to get the arrow to stick in the target! Then it is trying to hit the bulls eye – a very tricky feat!
After a while they are then 'baking a cake' – trying to hit the different colours in order to bake a cake without hitting the black which means they have burnt it and have to start again!
So after two and a half hours the two groups were showing signs of improvement and were taking part in the set challenges with great gusto!
So it was back up the hill for lunch and a SHORT seat and then it was off to get changed for the afternoon session. The Sharks were going skiing and the whales and the starfish were going kayaking. So it was plenty of layers and waterproofs as the morning group all complained of getting very wet! The skiers needed long sleeves and jeans so that they would be 'protected' a little when they fell over!
The skiers spent the first part of the session getting kitted out! First they have to try and remember what size feet they have! Then they need to fight with a pair of ski boots! This is easier said than done....and then they needed to do their moon walk to get to the slope. They were given skis and then had to figure out how to get them on and attached to the boots! Next they have to move with the ski boots and skis attached to their feet. So within 5 minutes they have to contend with a whole range of new skills and experiences! Then they are told they are going to go up a hill and slide back down! On purpose!
Anyway, they had a great time and as happens every year some of them take to it like a duck to water while some find it a real challenge. For some fear is the main obstacle and I for one can fully understand that one.
The kayakers were all togged up and had their life jackets and paddles and had to get the kayaks down to the waters edge! Team work moving the kayaks was the order of the day and they were soon ready for the off.
Initial fear for some is quickly overcome and they are soon paddling round the sheltered bay getting the hang of propelling the kayak forward, stopping it (occasionally by crashing into someone else) and turning. They then spend some time in the fish pond and once they are all more confident they head out into the loch. The wind in the loch was strong and the waves would catch the kayak if you were side on to them. This caused some of them a little fear but they all rose to the challenge. Infact some of the girls did not venture far out initially but they all went out into the loch before the end of the session and really challenged themselves. This is the great thing about activities like this – you see the children begin to challenge themselves and begin to think they can do this!
So one group went to the shop after they had been skiing and of course they set the rest off because they saw some of the things they had bought! Watch out for the tiger print snake!!
Tea was tomato soup, pizza, sausages and chips followed by pancakes and ice-cream. Plates were empty and the chatter was loud! We then came back to the hall for a bit of quiet time before going down early to go to the park and to play football.
The evening activity was 'wayfinding'. They are put in teams of two or three and given a map to find 15 different locations round the setting. Many set off with great gusto and there was great competition to win. The two teachers from Longside only came in SECOND!
We came back for a bit of time in the hall and they had juice and a biscuit and by now all the children are mixing well from both schools, They played some games with Mr Taylor and some actually asked if they could go to bed!
So...time will tell if they get to sleep better tonight.
Tomorrow we are looking forward to Mr Imlah joining us at lunchtime. We have skiing, archery, raft building and problem solving tomorrow!
A GOOD DAY TODAY – AND THE CHILDREN REALLY SEEM TO BE ENJOYING IT.
Click on the link below to hear how our 'catamaraners' got on on the rough loch!
Apologies...had connection problems this morning!
Loch Insh Day 1
Tuesday 24th April 2013
Well, as ever quite a tiring and full on first day. The journey up was fairly uneventful – apart from two people being sick.......ONE before they had even got out of Strichen! That MUST be a record!
We had one stop at Aberlour for the toilet and so the children had a chance to have a snack and get to stretch their legs and get some fresh air. The bus was comfortable and before we knew it we were pulling into Loch Insh at around midday.
We got everyone off the bus in their room groups so that we could show each group where they would be. Some moaned when they saw their rooms were UP stairs which meant they, or Mr Jenkins, had to carry their cases up the stairs!
All were delighted with their rooms and once they had had a couple of minutes to get settled we all met in the common room for lunch. Despite sitting all morning on the bus they were ready for their lunch. Johnny Freshwater, the 'boss man' came up to speak to us all while they had their lunch. He went over the rules, the do's and don'ts and what kind of clothes they would need for the different activities. They then had a fire alarm so that we all know what to do if the alarm goes off when we are here.
So, a little later than we should have, we made it down to the Boat House for the first activity. All the groups were sailing but as it was so rough and windy they were taking them out in bigger boats in groups of 5 or 6. A group of boys who had sailed before were going to be taken out by Johnny in the catamaran in groups of three.
The boys going on the catamaran had to get the boat set up and then fight with a wetsuit! If we had video of this we would have been able to make an entry for 'You've been framed!' The challenge of putting on the wet suit took some of them longer than they thought and they were tired out by the time they were ready!
The others made sure they had plenty of layers on and then got their lifejacket on and were off. The groups had to be taken out to their boats in speed boats and this took a bit of time and coordination to get them on to the boats. They then had to set up their boats and get the sails ready for the off. The wind was very strong and it took some time before the boats were off and sailing round the loch.
The boys in the catamaran realised they had taken on quite a challenge! They launched the boat which meant them having to wade into the water and then clamber aboard. Johnny took three out at a time...but poor Harry ended up having an early bath when he fell off and into the water! He now realises how cold the loch is! However, the catamaran was ideal for the windy conditions and before long they were speeding across the loch at high speed. After 20 minutes or so they swapped the passengers and the second group were speeding off.
The other groups actually ended up staying out for over two hours. The conditions made for interesting sailing and one boat had to be 'rescued' when the rudder broke. A speed boat was dispatched and they had to be towed back to the boat house.
They were so late that we did not have time to go back up to the accommodation and had to go straight in for tea. We were late and the staff were waiting for us. We have early tea and EARLY breakfast!! Joy!! However, they all went for soup and bread and this helped heat everyone back up. The man course was baked potatoes or Sweet Sour Pork. They all had good helpings and they were all impressed with the cooking.
We then had some time for a rest and a chance to get their rooms sorted out. Tonight we are going out for a 'Wide Game' and so I am not sure if I am looking forward to this!!
More details about this evening later on!
So....the evening activity was a 'Wide Game'! This is the kind of activity that the kids love and the staff hate! Picture the scenario....all the pupils split into two teams. Each team has a flag to defend. Each team member has a piece of tape on their shoulder. So each team has to try and capture the other teams flag and get it back to base while they also try to get the tape from the other teams players. Added to this they are in an area of woodland.....so chaos ensues! As I said they love it and we hate it! However, the game comes to a quicker end than expected due to the fact they run out of tape!!
So we head back to the boat house and spend a while in the adventure playground before heading back for juice and a biscuit and hopefully bed eventually. The football is on and so some of the boys are quite happy,
Tomorrow, today by the time you see this, is a mixture of kayaking, archery, skiing and problem solving.
We hope you enjoy looking at the photos.