Wednesday, 29 February 2012

High ropes by Charlie

Today,me and the rest of group 1, went to the high and low ropes course.The ropes course was about a minutes walk from the centre so we didn't need a mini-bus to get there.

When we got there we put on our harnesses and Scrutts (our instructor) explained the challenges.The Postmans walk is a thin wire,you have to walk along, holding on to another wire above you,then climb up a ladder and do the same. Also there is the cat-walk,there are two long beams that you have to walk along. When it is wet it is very slippery! Last (and the best of all) there was the trapeze,it is a big pole with a pizza box sized platform and a bar hanging In front of you. Two people climb to the top and stand on the platform. You have to jump at the same time and hang from the bar.

Next we split up into groups,I went for the postman's walk when it was my turn. I was doing well until I got to the top and nearly fell,but I made it without falling. After that we had hot chocolate and I waited until it was my turn on the Trapeze. I went up with Thomas.

When I was at the top of the pole it was shaking crazily because Thomas was climbing up,and when he reached the top I nearly fell off but I didn't!!!

We counted down and jumped at the same time and we both caught the bar!

When we got back on the ground we made our way back for lunch. What a wonderful day with group 1.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Amazing abseiling by Sam

Hello, I'm Sam and I am going to talk about the climbing and abseiling activity. Our Adventure started on the minibus. We were listening to BBC Radio Two and Brian told us to guess the band; it was The Cure. Brian called them the band with only one song but I know that is not true because I have one of their albums.

Later on we got out of the bus and crossed the road. Graham said, "keep our helmets on at all times just incase of falling rocks."
Brian said, "if you hear anyone shouting rope below put your heads down."

While we were waiting, me and Matthew could still find a way to enjoy our selves by cheering on Hamish when he was abseiling and making a macarena for each country. Every five minutes Brian would bellow out, "rope below." Finally it was my go. There was only one hard bit it was when you had to put your right foot on a very thin rock and then had to reach with your left foot very very high up. When I got to the top I felt proud but then it took ages to get my harness off. I now had to get ready for the ginormous abseiling rock. When it was time for my go I had to face Brian while he was putting my harness on. I looked down over the rock and it was so high I got a shiver. After a while of getting scared and standing on the edge of the thing that I was getting scared of falling but eventually I managed to step back and walk down the rock. I made it.

This was the best activity in Benmore because I faced up to my fears.

Gorge walking with group 3 by Hamish

Today we went on a cold but extremely fun day with group 2 at the gorge. All of the people in our group took a minibus to the activity. We slowly drove to the gorge and when we arrived began to walk up towards it through a graveyard.

It was so exciting as we walked up the hill. After a while we reached a sort of cave with a hole in the top of it. It had water going through it like crazy. Ewan our instructor, told us that it was called the 'keyhole'. Most of us went through the hole. It was really hard to get up the walls because they were really slippery also the water was really strong and as well as that it was so cold and a really narrow hole as well. However we got there in the end. We were asked to sit down at a straight bit in the gorge and here they set up some ropes connected to a big boulder. At the bottom there was a really deep hole full of water deeper than my head. How do I know this? I fell straight into it and the water was colder that a freezer and as a result I was shivering and really cold and wet.

After that some of the people went under the 'Rock of Africa' The rock itself is really big. Today the water level was really high and as a consequence it was really weird going under it because you can barely breathe and it is really dark and cold. When you get out it is all over for that challenge but you still need to go down a very slippy and muddy hill ...

One hour later I was all warm and clean and most of our dorm were singing 'disco, disco.'

Gorge walking - the wettest of wet except for canoeing by Rebecca

What a fantastic (and wet) day I have had today! Today I went gorge walking with my awesome group, group 8 and my adventurous instructor Thea.

When we first got in the minibus we were all on a high. All ten of us sang a particularly annoying song all the way to and from the gorge. Thea told us to be quiet 4 times before we stopped and got out.

Eventually we got to the gorge. Thea set us a challenge for us all to keep our boots dry. Having decided the goal wasn't worth it, five minutes later I stuck my foot in the icy, cold water. I could nearly feel it freezing my feet off!

Due to the 2nd of January storm lots of the trees and debris and leaves had fallen into the gorge and formed a dam. A few people helped to unblock the dam so we could walk across a small island to get to a climbing bit. Me, Roddy and Erin kept trying to unblock the dam even though Thea was shouting for us to keep up.

Even though we had lots of spare time, we didn't get to go through the 'keyhole' which is a little hole in the waterfall or under the 'Rock of Africa' which is a rock that looks like Africa. Disappointed, we all kept on going.

There were hundreds of bits where we had to climb and try not to slip. There was one bit where we went one-by-one. There was quite a lot of waiting and I leaned towards the pool of water we were standing next to too much and I nearly fell in. I got my OTHER foot soaking wet then! I was at the back of the 'queque' so I had lots of time to try to tie my laces up which had completely come undone when they got wet.

After what seemed like an age, it was finally my turn to climb up (without a rope). I was really scared because a waterfall was crashing underneath me and shooting freezing cold water at me. I was soaking when I got to the other side for the waterfall had splashed me clean since there was a lot of mud on my waterproofs from when I fell over.

Then we had to climb up a little bit with a rope. I had forgotten my gloves and my hands felt like they were stuck in ice! I shivered my way up, with renewed water in my boots (for I was walking up a waterfall) and my hands were freezing off. I was feeling so tired by the time I had hauled myself up, but then I saw that we were at the last part of the gorge walk.

The slides!

About five of us could go on on slide at once. I went on the second go, but was first to sit on the ledge of the stone cold waterfall. As more people got on, the water behind us was slowly climbing up our backs, reddening our muddy waterproofs and pouring into my trousers. Once it was nearly up on our necks, Thea let us slide!

All the water we had been holding up poured over our heads. I tumbled over the slippery rocks, unable to hear anything over the thunderous water crashing over my head. It tumbled over the slippery rocks. Unable to hear anything over the thunderous water crashing over our heads we all landed in a pool of what seemed to be ice. No, I corrected myself, it was water, gorge water.

I burst out of the small pool we had landed in and ran our, splashing everyone within range. Not that it mattered, everyone was already soaking wet and frozen to the bone.

After recovering, we all set off down a muddy path. Thea warned us it was slippery but no one really listened. We should have! I slipped and slided down the first bit of the path. I don't know why, or who, but someone squealed. Once my attention was drawn to that, I fell onto my side completely. I tried to get up but I just slid down further in the mud. When the ground had turned relatively green I stood up and stayed up.

We all had to go back into the gorge for we were all brown as cow pats. Obediently, we all had to lie down in the stream in the gorge and wash all the mud off.

Finally we all got into the minibus and sang one song all the way back to the centre. The only thing I wanted to do when I got back was, before lunch, have a nice, hot (and WET) shower.

Gorge walking was the most fun thing I had ever done in my whole, entire life. I will definitely do it again!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Climbing/Abseiling with group 4 by Adam

What a great day group 4 had climbing!!!!!!

As we stepped off the minibus we saw the huge, grey rockface; a 48 foot cliff that we would attempt to climb skyward then abseil to the ground. I couldn't wait!

So when we were all off the bus Kris showed us all how to put the rope on then gracefully as a swan he leapt and climbed up the rockface.A little while later Kris threw down the rope so that Fredi could attach himself to it. He next manoeuvred himself into position and began to climb. I began to take pictures of him climbing up. Next I was thrown the other rope so I was soon climbing. At some points I remember it was quite hard (at one point I was stuck for a minute or two but then I managed to get going again). After a while Joseph and Reina (pronounced Rain-a) climbed up and Kris holding the rope led us along the cliff to abseil down.

After a very quick walk along the cliff we saw some metal poles tied together with ropes that showed where we would abseil from. Meanwhile, Kris had headed out, attached the rope and was calling for the first person who we decided would be Fredi because he had been the first up. So round went Fredi, got the safety rope attached and was told to lean back and then head down. That was the last we saw of him ... until later!

It was my turn now, I headed round and got attached in and then Kris told me to, " Lean back, release the rope slowly, then walk back, releasing the rope as you go."

I began walking nervously down which felt peculiar but nice. A little way down it became harder as the cliff went inwards and I had to lower myself to almost vertical then continue my descent. As I approached the bottom Fredi said to try jumping down which to do you jumped of the cliff, let the rope go, grabbed it again and landed.

When I got down Fredi showed me how to get out of the harness and to then send the rope back up. We then told jokes until everyone was down before heading back to the bus. That was my favourite activity. It was fun, exciting and a bit scary but that was what made it great.

Awesome abseiling by Mieke

On Tuesday morning all of the groups (I was in group 6) went to the common room. This was where our instructors were going to tell us where to meet so we could find out what our activities were for the day and what we would need to wear. We had to go to the field studies room and when we were there we were told to put on some very warm clothes for abseiling.

After a while we went to the minibus. Then Jo drove us down to the climbing wall where we practised climbing and abseiling. It was loads of fun. Once we had got the hang of it we got ready to go to the cliff.

We got on the minibus and before very long we had arrived. Andy one of the helpers chose 3 boys to take the path up the cliff while the rest of us got to climb up this rocky bit on the left hand side of the cliff. Erin went first with Jo, then Coll, then me, then the others. One after the other we abseiled down the cliff. When it was my turn I was quite scared but also very excited. The scariest bit was when I leaned off the edge. When I got to the bottom I was soooooooo soooo so so so happy and relieved.

Later on when everyone had abseiled we went back to the minibus. That day was the best day of my life.!!!!!!!!!

Immense abseiling by Luci

"Wow," said me and group 2, "look at this enormous cliff." I couldn't believe I was going to be abseiling down this. Me and group 2 were facing a 48 foot cliff after practicing a small abseiling at the centre

"Who is next?" asked our instructor.

I very nervously stepped forward, I was absolutely terrified but I knew that I would enjoy it. It began at the top of the cliff where I was really cold and scared so cold I was shivering.

Eventually I put my harness on. I already had my helmet on and had put my gloves in my pocket incase I let go of the rope too quickly and fell. My harness was now on and everything was ready. I slowly leant backwards; it was quite terrifying.

Before very long I had my feet level with my body so I was ready to start walking down. I thought I was going fairly slowly although I was catching up with Hannah who was quite far away from me when I started.

After a while I was in the middle of the cliff where there was a massive dent in the rock. I got really quite scared again. Despite being scared I kept going. Hannah was just below me when she slipped and fell face falling into the cliff. She had lost her balance because the dent was quite big but she got straight back up and kept going. She got to the bottom very quickly after that so I was on the cliff on my own. The dent was quite terrifying . I kept going but in order not to fall into the rock like Hannah I had to keep letting go of the rope. I did get to a bit where I stopped and I could just not go any further. I shouted up "help, I'm stuck, I can't go any further!" I was panicking.

"Yes you can, keep going!" shouted my instructor encouragingly.

"I can't I'm going to fall!" I cried.

"It's alright, keep going Luci!" shouted Hannah so I kept going however my tummy was flipping over and over again and again. I was really scared and felt like I was almost falling but I slowly edged my way down and got over the big dent bit.

Finally I got to the bottom of the cliff having had a thrilling adventure and, despite my fears, having enjoyed abseiling so much. I took off my harness and let my instructor pull it back up the cliff for the next person to use.

Awful abseiling at Benmore by Charlotte

Today I went abseiling. It was one of the worst things I have ever done (and I have done some horrible things I can tell you!) So when it was my turn I was absolutely terrified.

We had gone to a cliff where we were going to be doing the abseiling and it looked so big. Then later, when I had got to the ledge where Morna, our instructor, fastened the ropes onto me, I had to lower myself backwards onto the cliff (this was scary!)

Before I new it I was bouncing down the cliff, I got the most awful rope burn the world has ever known and one of my hands slipped; but I managed to stay on without falling. Finally when I got down I played with the other groups .

Next we went Orienteering.
We had to go in partners so I went with Josie (from6c)and we had to go around a course using a map and writing down random letters. In the end we found out that we had come 3rd. Then we went back for tea and cake.

Canoeing with group 7 by Paul

Today we went canoeing with group 7. It was amazing.

First of all we had to put our red waterproofs on and our buoyancy aids. I was looking forward to canoeing as I had never done anything like it before. However, I was a touch worried about the boats capsizing.

When we arrived we had to carry our Canadian canoes down to Loch Eck (we had to be careful not to drag them in case we damaged the bottom of the boat).

At the beginning we got off to a shaky start but when we got started we were actually quite good. Later on we played canoe football which my team lost.

At the other side of the Loch we found an upturned boat. Our instructor, Steve said, "who wants to stand on it?" Of course being me I did. You had to balance on the wobbly boat. I enjoyed it so much I roared like a foghorn, "come and get me off!" When the last person got off the upturned boat our boat flipped over and we splashed into the water. It was really difficult to scramble into the boat because it was wet and slippery and we had to get the water out of the boat first.

After that we had to return the boats back to where we had got them which was much harder than when we got them out because they were so wet and so were we!

On the way back to the centre we got a song started about needing a wee.

Back at the centre I started to think about Today Ahh what a brilliant day at Benmore. This was our last activity and so much fun. I would love to canoe again!

Amazing abseiling by Hannah

Wow! What an amazing time I had abseiling with my awesome team, group 2. We started off at the practise wall which I still found pretty scary! You had to lean back from this platform and start to walk back. I tried a small jump but didn't get very far.

Eventually everyone had had a go on the mini abseiling wall so we got onto the minibus. As we drove I looked out of the window and saw some amazing sights! There was a beautiful stream running right next to us with lots of massive trees surrounding it.

When we got there I got out of the minibus and got a big shock when I saw the cliff that we were going to be abseiling down. It was giant! Even though I was terrified I was determined to do it so I made myself abseil down the cliff second.

After a while we reached the top of the cliff.. Morna and Andy went down to a lower ledge and got all the ropes ready. At last it was time for us to start abseiling. Another boy, named Robert, was going first. He got all the ropes tied on and began to lean back from the ledge. Slowly he began to walk down the cliff.

Next it was my turn, carefully I began to walk down to the ledge and got all the ropes tied on then started to lean back and very nervously walk down. At one bit I got so scared that I thought that I couldn't go any further so I just stayed there a while until I found somewhere to put my feet but I slipped and crashed against the rock, I was ok so i just got up again and began to walk down again

About 5 minutes later I got to the bottom I was so releived that nothing had gone wrong. While I was waiting for everyone else to finish I threw some sticks for Thea's dogs (they were brought along by another group). After everyone had been we got back into the minibus and went back to the centre for a lovely lunch!

Great gorge walk by Roddy

Today was fantastic! Group 8 had an amazing, fun adventure in the gorge. I had walked through a gorge before but I felt that this might be different.

Thea, our instructor, and her assistant Ruth met us in the yard and told us the kind of equipment we would need.

Soon we were in the minibus and on our way. It was a bumpy ride! The whole road was filled with enormous potholes in addition to the suspension in the minibus was awful.

On arrival the first thing we had to do was climb over some logs that were blown over from the second of January storm.

After that we came to a huge pool that had been damned by twigs and logs so we had to unblock it by chucking the debris into the gorge below then we had to wait for the pool to drain so we could walk across easily.

Later we came to a section where it was quite deep plus that the fact that we had to climb along a ledge that stuck out at a 305 degree angle.It was practically impossible.

Finally we got to the loony slides. I was first on but I was told to sit in the corner of it so the others could get on. You were supposed to make a human damn then Thea would say, "Ok," and you had to let the water push you down to a small pool.

On the way down from the gorge the path was really muddy and none of us made it to the bottom without falling over.

Gorge walk by Thomas

Today we went on the gorge walk and it was freezing! At the centre we were told to wear our red water proofs. I managed to stay dry for the first part of it but in the end I was soaked!

When we got there we crawled under a fallen down tree and climbed for a while. Then we went to the 'keyhole'. I crawled through it's gushing ice cold water and got completely soaked. It was fun but I was freezing by the time I got through it. It was worth it though.

After a while we got to the 'Rock of Africa'. (the rock of africa is a rock shaped like Africa that you can slide under). Me and Ben were the only ones who didn't go under it. Everybody who went under it was freezing (so I am glad I didn't). After that we climbed up a big rocky waterfall. There was a rope you could use but I decided not to. We kept climbing until we got to the end. Then we got a choice of if we wanted to slide down a waterfall. I chose to do it and was glad I did because it was so much fun.

When we got back to the centre we were all freezing cold and could hardly move!

Glorious gorge walk by Sasha

What a great day! I'll start by desperately trying to walk up the wondrous waterfall with group 8. The coach (Thea) told us to keep hold of the ropes that she had placed around the gorge. I was third in line waiting and actually a bit scared although people in front of me were doing it with complete skill. What we had to do was keep hold of the rope, bounce three times then pull ourselves up while trying to keep hold of the rope and scramble up the waterfall. I succeeded on the first bit but failed miserably on climbing up the middle bit (which was so slippy). I felt as though I were soap trying to climb up a sink. When I finally got to the top I had to wait for other people to get up. Due to all the water in my boots (they were literally drowning in water) my boots were making an unsatisfying squelching noise.

After a while, we climbed up a bit more, to find a waterslide (not man-made) that looked amazing. I probably wouldn't have gone down it if I wasn't already soaking but I was so I did it. First we had to make a dam with people so that the pressure of the water pushed us down the waterslide. This worked until I slid into a deep puddle, all that you could see of me was my head, and as a consequence had to shuffle down the rest of the slide.

When I got out I was shivering all over. Although other people went twice, I didn't want to.

After everyone had gone down the slide and got completely drenched we had to go back to the coach and unluckily for us the way down was the slippiest, slidiest, muddy forest. We were basically surfing down the slope but with 10 times more falling. Roddy was falling the most which made the mud more smooth (which meant even more slippy).

When we finally made it to the bottom we had to wash ourselves in the gorge because we were so muddy.

In the coach it was overflowing with water from our boots. The gorge was so good I definitely want to do it again but for now ... so long.

Gorge walking by Alex A

What an amazing day! Group 9 went for a wet but fun gorge walk. I started off by getting my waterproofs on and also a red and yellow helmet. Then about 15 minutes after that we got in the minibus. While I was waiting for the rest of the group to get ready I was playing football with Fredi. Then later on, when everyone else was ready, we got into the minibus.

It took about 20 minutes to get there but it was worth it. When we got out of the minibus we walking into a very big graveyard and about 5 minutes later we arrived at the gorge. Eventually we got into the gorge and began the climb. When we started to get higher and higher it got colder and wetter. After a while we got to about the middle and then we had to climb up a steep, rocky waterfall and we had to find lots of gaps in the wall to help us climb. There was also a rope for us to grab onto. I didn't use the rope but when I got near the top I slipped and banged my knee on a rock.

Soon we were near the top which was lots of fun as we had to go through the 'Keyhole'. I was the first person to go through and it was amazing! I was soaking wet. After it I could hardly wait to get back to the minibus because there was so much water in my boot. Then it got worse as we had to go under the 'Rock of Africa'. As a consequence of the gushing, freezing cold water, we were freezing, not nice at all but it was so much fun. That wasn't the only great part as on the way back we got to go down the muddiest, slidiest path in the world. I fell about 7 times. It was so much fun. when i got back it was the night of the disco so me and sam went back up to our dorm to get changed to go to the dinner hall pasta. And me sam and sasha put half a can of linx all over us.

Gorge Walk by Alex A

What an amazing day! Group 9 went for an amazing but fun gorge walk. I started by getting my waterproofs on and also a yellow and red helmet. Then about 15 minutes after that we were in the minibus. While I was waiting I was playing football with Fredi. Then later on when everyone else was ready we got on the minibus. It took us 20 minutes to get there but it was worth it.

When we got out of the minibus we walked into a very, very big graveyard. And about 10 minutes after that we arrived at the gorge.

Eventually we got into the gorge and began to climb. When we started to get higher it got colder and wetter. After a while, we got to about the middle then we had to climb up a steep, rocky waterfall and we had to find lots of gaps in the wall to help us hold on. There was also a rope for us to use. I didn't use it but when I got near to the top I slipped and banged my knee on a rock.

Near the top was fun as we got to go in the 'Keyhole'. I was the first person to go through and it was amazing! I was soaking went. After it I couldn't wait to get back to the minibus as there was so much water in my boots.

High ropes by Eimear

Today group 5 (the group that I'm in)are going on the high ropes course - yeah! It is going to be so much fun. First we need to get into our gear: helmet, check, harness, check. Let's go! To start with we had to go on the low ropes course first you had to work as a team and if someone fell off we all had to go back to the start. We fell off tonnes of times so it took us ages but eventually we finished the low ropes and got to go on the high ropes course.

On the high ropes course me and Eilidh did the trapeze. If you don't know what the trapeze is then I'll tell you, it is a massive pole with a platform on the top. You climb up the thin, tall pole and then you stand on the platform at the very top and then jump for a bar, it is hanging in the air in front of you and it is very scary. I got a bit scared at the top and slipped off on my bottom but that didn't stop Eilidh she made the leap of faith for the bar, unfortunately missing. Ms Swanson got an amazing photo of Eilidh in mid-air. Next I did the balancing beams. First you climb up this pole that looks like it has got giant staples sticking out of it so you climb up the staples and when you get up them there is a pole going across to another pole of staples. I walked across the beam with everyone else on the ground cheering me on. Once you walk across the beam there's another pole of staples and you can go up further if you want and you can go across another balancing beam but I didn't want to so I jumped off the balancing beam. It was really fun. Then I had to belay Catherine (her life was in my hands). While I was belaying Catherine, Kiarten started poking me with sticks. Suddenly my grip slipped and I let go of Catherine for a milli second but quickly got my grip again.

The high ropes course was definitely my favourite activity.Because it was so fun slipping off the trapeze Because you were so high up. At the start it is really scary but once you have finished you want to do it again. I would love to do the high ropes course again!

Outrageously fun gorge walk by Casey!

Today group 5 went to the gorge and got very wet. It was fantastic fun. Angela, our instructor, met us in the back yard and told us what we would need for the day's events. We had to put our swimming costume on under our attractive, red waterproofs. Last but not least we had to put on our wellies. Angela our instructor had her eyes on Eimear's polka dot red wellies.

In the minibus everyone started singing silly songs like 'I am a banana'. This got us in the mood for an adventure!

At the gorge we started at the bottom of the gorge and worked our way up to the top of it.

When we got to the top of the gorge we were allowed to slide down the waterfall which was freezing like having tonnes of ice down your back.
I didn't go through the ' Rock of Africa ' which is a rock that looks like Africa as well as having tonnes of water streaming through it ,because I thought I would get stuck! I did go through the keyhole though which is a rock that you have to climb up with a glorious but absolutely freezing waterfall that came crashing down on us but despite how cold it was group 5 managed to get up it .

As our reward we got delicious hot juice and got to go down another freezing waterslide. After a fantastic day of Gorge Walking I was happy but it was such a shame that the experience was over because I would love to do it again! :(

The great gorge walk by Aidan

Wow that was the best gorge walk ever! It all started in the 2012 Sciennes Primary 6s' 5 day trip to Benmore. It was a dry but not sunny day although not raining we were still soaked through. When we arrived we had no idea what we were doing because we had stopped at a graveyard??? Thea (our instructor) took group 8 to a small hut and around the side of the hut was a small staircase which led to the gorge.

After a while we came to part of the gorge where the water was very fast. Thea warned us that it could take our shoes off! Some people went the easy way (jumping over a small part of the gorge) others (me, Roddy, Sasha and Joe)took the challenging route we had to climb along a vertical wall but it did have lots of foot holds. After that there was a small rock that you had to jump on to then Thea tied a rope so that we could climb up a small but not too steep slope. When I got up I started to clap on the next person (Roddy). When Roddy was up he jumped in a very deep puddle which came up to his waist then I went in and also got very wet. While we were waiting for the last people Roddy slipped and ended up sitting in the puddle (HA HA HA !!!!!!!!!)

Climbing and abseiling by Amir

First group 2 took the bus to get to the mountain to go climbing and abseiling. When we stepped outside it was amazing but extremely frightening at the same time. We started off with abseiling while group 8 did the climbing.

It was really scary abseiling at first because we sort of had to let ourselves fall onto the cliff. It was a lot easier than it looked. At one point the cliff went in and you had to jump but in the end we did it! with a little help from the people below

Straight after we did the climbing. It was sooooo cold (i couldn't move my fingers) but really fun. It was the perfect place as there was loads of arm holds and leg holds. At one point I had to use the rope to pull myself up the natrual cliff. When I got up I started to walk down the hill.When we got down the hill we were allowed to talk to the other group (group 8)and we got to play with Thea's lively dogs .

Caving with group 9 by Olivia

Wow! I am so tired after caving! It all began on the minibus when we suddenly stopped at Loch Eck and got off. Our instructors Graham and Brian told us we had to go up a very steep hill. There were two ways up, the easy way or the hard way. I took the challenging way, surprise. Soon we were at the top of the hill. Not long after we started to cave. The first cave was so dark and gloomy but I made it. At last came the really, really hard part. Next we had to go through the low, small, triangular-shaped tunnel as well as falling down a hole. It had been dug out by a school 20 years ago. I didn't do it although most of us did. I heard it was scary and that Matthew got his head stuck. Next you went to the easy cave and had to get into a harness so as to get lower down (4 metres by a rope). That part gave me butterflies! Our instructors told us we had to do this one on our own. Kirsty and Keir had to go as leaders. Finally we had seen light, and our instructors then helped us get out. I felt so relieved that I got out because I was really claustraphobic.

Sooner than the wink of an eye, we were back on the minibus and on our way back to the centre.

Awesome Orienteering - Alex H !!!!!

Wow what an outstanding day of orienteering for group 9. It was awesome! Orienteering was our first activity of the day and we were all very excited but very tired as well after the night activity the day before. Graham go us started by getting us to write down one sentence each of the key things involved in orienteering. After that Graham gave us a map of the field studies room which in random places had a cross (X). He asked us to go to the place that the cross was, then he would see if we were right. Everybody got it right, so we skipped the big, long talk and jumped straight into the first orienteering course which was around Benmore.

When I came back from the first orienteering course, I wasn't very impressed with my time, doing it in around 12 minutes. Esther though, did it in a very quick time of around 5 minutes winning the first round. The second round course was a lot a bigger and I mean a lot bigger, 5 kilometres to be precise. For the orienteering course, due to the size, we could go by ourselves or go in a team. Because I am a wimp, I went in a team with Keir from P6C and Kirsty from P6B. We were all super determined to win then suddenly Graham said for the first people to go.

Four minutes later it was our turn. We shot off like arrows fired from a bow. As a result the three amigos (our name) soon caught up with the others. About one minute later we overtook them.

Soon we were roaring ahead like a steam engine and so finished in the best time of 20 minutes, but then Graham said that for every one that we got wrong we got a minute added on to our time. Oh no, we had got two wrong so we actually did it in 22 minutes but it was still a very fun day and I would love to do it again!!!!!

Canoeing by Mixie

Wow! What a great time! I just went canoeing with Super Steve (Steven) and the rest of the team, group 7! At first we had to carry the horribly heavy canoes down to the shore. Then Steven taught us how to paddle forwards, backwards, left and right. After that we had a paddle race to the bridge. While paddling (Eden doing most of the work) I looked down at the water and realized just how beautiful the lake was; unreal.

Suddenly I snapped out of my thoughts as Steven was shouting at us "hot chocolate!" At this everyone speeded up. After a rest and a drink we set off for an upturned boat which some people (Eden, Paul and Freya)wanted to stand on. Crazy, huh?

None of them ended up dry - apart from Paul. Well then Freya tried to get into our boat, but she landed on the edge and our boat capsized. As I fell into the water I realized that my trainers and waterproofs had holes in them... I desperately tried, clambering up the upturned boat but I soon fell back in. Steven, now more super than ever, pulled me up into his boat. And so we paddled back to shore.

On the way back on the minibus we started singing ... Hmmm, I don't think Steve liked that, well too bad for him, 'cause we didn't stop!'

When we got back to Benmore centre we took off our waterproofs, now full of water. I took my trainers off and walked around squelching in my socks to the drying room and then to my dorm. Finally I trudged down to tea and cake.
Canoeing at Benmore is wet - but it is definitely worth it! Go canoeing!!!!

Gorge Walk by Eilidh C

Wow! Another brilliant day! Today we went gorge walking and it was fab! First we were all on the comfy minibus kitted out in our attractive waterproofs, all eager to start.

Soon after we arrived at the gorge. We got told to stay as dry as possible but none of us listened because we all stepped straight into the thunderous gorge. We all regretted it though! I thought the gorge walk we would be wading through would be a burn about a metre deep but it was actually completely different. It was shallow and quite rocky and instead of wading through water we walked on the rock.

A bit later we came to this steep, rocky bit where we had to climb up. It was a little tricky but I managed it...

After that we came to an interesting hole with a water fall going through it. Angela our fabulous instructor said it was called the 'keyhole' and that we were going through it. I was a bit nervous but I wanted to do it. She did say there was another route up some log. But everyone wanted to do the harder way though, even Casey. Olly went through it first then it was me. When I went through it I thought I would get wet but it wasn't that bad. Maybe our attractive waterproofs are not so bad after all! Watching the others come through was interesting. It looked like a baby being born!

Then we came to the famous 'Rock of Africa' (it is called the rock of Africa because it is a rock shaped like Africa). I really wanted to go under it because my big brother Jamie hadn't. We got told to get onto our knees, turn our heads to the side and go for it. I managed, however, I was soaking wet afterwards. My pink gloves which had kept my hands dry so far now looked like they had just been in the washing machine!

Finally we came to the slides at the top. I only went down once because I was very cold. The good thing was that we got delicious, warm juice that cheered us all up and had a little walk back to the minibus, longing for the famous Benmore cake back at the centre.

Gorge walking by Ahmed

By now I am feeling tired after doing the wet gorge walk.

When my group got started it was 10:00am. We got our waterproofs, dressed and put many, many layers of clothes under them. If there was anything at Benmore annoying and fun all at the same time it would be the gorge walk. But most of all I'd like to tell you about the fun parts of it.

We entered the minibus, kept aside especially for the gorge so the other buses wouldn't get dirty. That was the beginning of my gorge walk adventure. I quickly got out of the minibus when we got there.The first thing I done was examine the area. What was lying over the hill, was where all the fun started

My group started talking, some about minibuses,some about school projects. Group 2 walked down through a graveyard then arrived at the gorge. They entered the gorge over a wall and I found it quite easy to balance on logs in adition to broken trees. Our first obstacle to get passed was a long tunnel. Hannah was the first of the group to fall in. She said that after a while the water warmed up in your boots. A bit after that everyone had reached the keyhole after choosing the best parts of the rock to climb on. All of us thought that we could manage the whole gorge but we only managed to get up to the keyhole, which was halfway up.

After we reached the keyhole we slid down a half of the gorge. It was so deep. Giving up, I just forgot all about it, stood in the water. Using ropes, we climbed up the side of the gorge into the forest. It was really quiet, the only sound that you could hear was birds singing. Never was I happy when my group were insulting me but the failed insults didn't work, they said things like, "we can't always help you, you have to sometimes do it on your own."

I was third after Sanna and Charlotte to climb down the rope. Tightly I held on and climbed down. It was pretty hard but eventually I began to get the hang of it. Then my group used a rope to slide down the mud into the gorge. This time I managed to annoy some of the group but not too much.

Quickly we entered our minibus and our instructor Morna told us to pull our red waterproof trousers down as they were very, very dirty. Arjun took his trousers down accidentally some of his other clothes too! Our group then went into the bus determined to get back and dry ourselves off.

Due to getting all my clothes wet at the gorge, I only had 5 dry pieces of clothing left. Nevertheless, I had a super time at the gorge.

Climbing and Abseiling by Joe

Today we went abseiling which everyone had said was really good.

The half pleasant bus journey to get there was about 10 minutes long.

As soon as we got there we could either do climbing or abseiling. I chose climbing. In addition I wanted to go first so I asked but so did Hamish and Murdo. But I went first anyway, well kind of, as the instructors had to demonstrate, they were quite bad.

Climbing was not easy apart from the last bit. Our instructor said, "we give them a harness to make them feel like they're safe!" I still hope I misheard her. Despite that I actually got up quite easily.

Eventually, after a long wait, my instructor, Iona, let me take my safety harness off.

Abseiling was fun however I was very slow and the atmosphere at the queue wasn't very good.

I was ok when I did it but starting off over the edge was scary!

After that we went to an indoor climbing centre. I was in a group with me, Murdo, Hamish and Ally. The first wall we had to climb was quite easy, although I struggled in the middle.

There was one more to do, the best bit of that was being let down on a rope.

Eventually we had to go and I came back to some ping pong, juice and cake.

Group 4 Gorge Walking by Fredi

As group 4 got off the minibus to go to the gorge I could sense I wouldn't come back dry. The air was as cold as the water as we started to cross the gorge. I stepped in a puddle after about 2 minutes and freezing water poured into my wellies... It got a lot worse.

Later on (after we had gone under a few very annoying branches) we were to go through the 'Keyhole'.This is a hole in the rock with tremendously cold water pouring through it, you had to squeeze yourself through it to get to the top. A lot of people found this very tricky including Gresz because he fell down. Luckily we had helmets on and waterproofs which didn't really help against the cold but made you feel protected. Finally we climbed a gigantic rock with a rope and there before us was the glorious 'Rock of Africa'. Then we realized the water level was too high so we couldn't go under it, "Due to the weather," as our instructor Chris said.

But that's when the fierce cold started making you feel like you had frostbite. But once again Group 4 showed their true courage as we slid down bumpy rocks just to land in a worryingly cold pool of water. It was an unforgettable experience of fun and adventure.

On the way back to the minibus, I could still hear the gorge in the distance but above all, I could hear group 4 singing 'Three little angels' and 'Three blind jellyfish' (which Ms French had taught us). And by the time we were back we were just in time for lunch!

Canoeing with group 7 by Lewis

Wow! What a spectacular afternoon canoeing with group 7; on the freezing cold waters of Loch Eck.

First we got on one of the Benmore minbuses (or as group 7 called it a Benmore roller coaster) and set out for Loch Eck.

When we got there, we next pushed our canoe out into the murky waters of the Loch then jumped on even though the canoes were quite far out. In addition to the canoe swaying violently as if trying to buck us off into the murderous depths of The Loch as soon as we jumped on, the wind was fiercely beating against the canoe like a hammer on a nail. Despite me and Pauls' desperate attempts to steer our canoe towards the others, we ended up going in circles! Eventually we got at least a few paces forward but started gently going round like a spinning top ... again!

As time went by we drifted helplessly to the other end of the beach which out of pure luck is where the rest of the gang had stopped to rest. My face felt like an ice cube so naturally I was glad for the hot chocolate, that Super Steve (our awesome instructor) gave us.

Even though Paul and me had just got there we just had to set sail yet again, this time with Super Steve. As we got the hang of rowing our canoe again we became faster (mainly because of Steve).

After a while we came across an upturned boat. Steve said we could get on and dance so Paul being Paul immediately jumped on and attempted the can can (LOL). Eden and Mixie were the first to catch up with us. Little did I know their boat had capsized, I thought they had just jumped in so I asked Steve if I could do the same. He laughed and said I could so when we got to waist height I jumped in and started to swim (it felt like I was walking in the North Pole with nothing but my pants on).

Finally I climbed back into the canoe and made my way back to the bus for some well deserved free time !!!!

Benmore 2012 - The Gorge Walk by Eden

When we were at Benmore me and the rest of group 7 went gorge walking or as someone had called it 'George walking'. Steven (our instructor) and Mrs French came with us.

The gorge was right next to a graveyard so we had to walk through it. We came to a little, burnt, white house and that's where Steven told us the safety rules: rule number one - no pushing, rule number - 2 no splashing then finally rule number 3 - don't cry! The people in my group are: Logan, Freya, Fedor, Paul, Lewis, Savannah, Eilidh T, Ruka, Mixie and me.

Steven was the first to step into the clear, glittering water but he was soon followed by Logan. As we followed through the silky water we came to a wall of mud which we had to climb. We eventually all got up but while we were waiting Logan almost fell in but, he grabbed my leg hoping that I would tumble in with him, however, Mixie grabbed me and pulled me up just in time. Me and Mixie said, "We will get our revenge," but all he said was, "no, no!"

Soon after that we climbed up a small waterfall gushing with the shimmering water and up we went. But when we got up we had realized that we had stepped into a deep pond with gallons of water pouring in. Next we came to the dreaded, "Balancing test!" If you fell in you got your face and head dunked into the freezing-cold water. First to fall in was Savanna but she didn't do the penalty. Second to fall in was ME but I did it! I did the penalty! BBBBRRRRRR, it was frighteningly freezing! Third to fall in was Eilidh T but she did it. Me and her stood there with our hair dripping wet.

Then it was up another waterfall to get our face painted. I became the Queen. After this came another waterfall but this waterfall was different; it had trees that had been thrown to the ground from the strong winds that flew through the air in January. So we went over and under then under and over them to discover the keyhole and the easy way up a log or up the difficult way through the keyhole. Four girls went up the keyhole and 0 boys! I was the first one to go up and get to the top. I went up with tonnes and tonnes of water gushing into my face but I was brave so made it.

We soon came to the Rock of Africa and up we went.The rock of Africa is a rock balancing on the two banks with water below it, some people went under it. Steven tied a rope for people that couldn't get up. Most of us didn't need a rope. When we got up it was sadly time to go but there was a great water slide - WHEEEEEEEEE, Splash, into the deep water! This only made the gorge walk even more fun.

Eventually it was over so down we went and I even went down the keyhole but sadly that was the end of a funtastic day.I wish it could of lasted longer.what a fantastic day the funny part was when we soaked the mini bus HA! HA! HA!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Primary 6 make animated slideshows

We hope you enjoy some of the animated slideshows that we have made about our fun times at Benmore.

Fredi and Hamish have chosen a cool tune for theirs though I think that background might be a bit out of season!

Eilidh, Luci and Erin chose a fun background and tune for theirs; sharing the experiences of 3 different groups.

I'm not sure who this one belongs to. Let me know and I will edit this part of the post to give you credit!

I really like the title slides on this one. Good job Sam, Ahmed and Roddy!

Charlie and Alex Hamilton have chosen some good pictures for their Animoto.

Eden and Eimear chose a great background for their slideshow. Who took those great gorge photos?

Interesting pseudonyms from Sasha and Alex A. Thanks for sharing your production with us.

Bea and Amaya have chosen a happy tune and some great pictures. The background seems quite Christmasy though girls!

I love the background and the transitions slides on this one and the music is so upbeat but who is the cheeky boy sticking out his tongue in the photograph? Very enjoyable Adam and Lewis.

If your one isn't up please let me know. Some of them didn't have names on them.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Benmore 2012 - Slideshow

I am really looking forward to seeing the animoto slideshows you make with the photos on Dropbox. I bet you do a much better job than me!

Benmore animated slideshow

Here is another one.


Friday, 17 February 2012

Fantastic Five in the forest

I have been experimenting with creating an animoto video on the ipad with some of the Group 5 photos. Hopefully you can see it here if you click on this link. If it works more will follow next week. Please bring in your cameras so that you can share your photos too!

Link to Fantastic Five in the forest video

Friday, 10 February 2012

Thank you!

Thank you from all of us to all of you for working with us to provide the children with such a memorable, beneficial week away together. There will be some sleepy heads this evening, perhaps even this afternoon, following a jam packed week of daytime and evening activities, where every single P6 gave it their all. It has been a genuine pleasure to escort the pupils and we really enjoyed their company. P6s have made lasting bonds - with each other - and with the staff.

The Sciennes staff also gave it their all and sustained the 24/5 duty by working very closely as a team. All contributed to this blog but particular thanks to Ms French for major input, blogging in every spare minute (though these were few!) and adding so many posts written by the children themselves. We will publish more photographs here after the holiday.

Thank you to P6 teachers Ms French, Miss Gaffney and Mrs Watson for devoting their time, energy and above all care to their children, making sure all the pupils had the best possible experience.

Ms Christie was her usual amazing self: high profile with all the groups day and night - as were all the staff.  Mr McKenna is a seasoned camper, highly experienced in Outdoor Education, and the staff appreciated his presence just as much as all the children did. We were delighted he could join us. Miss Swanson is extremely fond of the year group, having worked with them so closely in P4, and Mr Wallace really enjoyed getting to know all the children better. Grateful thanks to the entire team and also to the extended team back at Sciennes, particularly Mrs Noble, Ms Anstruther, Mrs Atkinson and Mrs Ellis.

We are indebted to all the magnificent staff at Benmore who go out of their way to make our stay with them as comfortable as it can possibly be, always going the extra mile to accommodate our needs, and for the great skill,  expertise and dedication of the instructors. After a full day's activities from 9am till 5pm, each instructor spent additional time last night preparing individual comments written personally for each pupil for their JASS folders. All pupils who took part this week will also receive the 'Adventure' certificate; one quarter of the way towards full Bronze award accreditation.

Thank you to Mr Howie and all the staff back at school who have ensured that the four pupils who remained also had an enjoyable and interesting week.

Thank you most sincerely to all the families who support us, not least of all financially, in providing what we believe to be an invaluable educational opportunity for our children.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday and we look forward to building on the success of this week. Well done, Primary Six! Have a good rest - you really deserve it.  Happy holidays everyone!  
Ms Gallagher

Lothian Road!

Sent from my iPhone

Hermiston Gait

Bus One and Bus Two heading to you together.

Sent from my iPhone


Sent from my iPhone


Happy Birthday Elsa.

Homeward Bound

Wow! What a team! Up, breakfast and on the bus by 9.30. Grateful thanks to all the Benmore staff who made sure we set off on time, especially Andrew, Andy, Gill and Angela.
P6 are a genuine credit to you, their teachers and the school. A truly successful week. See you soon folks!
Ms Gallagher
Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Yes, Eilidh and Eimear have showered... it's forest war paint

Daisy has lunch after going native in the forest

Catherine returns from the forest

Roddy and Charlotte Group 8 biking

Rebecca Group 8 biking



Anna Group 8 biking

Love the wellies, Anna. Instructor Angela has her eye on them!

Ms French Group 8 biking

Canoeing pics

Group 7

Disco in full swing

The disco is now in full swing and the children are throwing some great moves. It is lovely to hear them singing happily and see them all having such a good time. Many thanks to instructor DJ Dave for turntable wizardry and karaoke.

Group 7

Wow, what a fun afternoon I had with group 7. We went canoeing and went straight into competition mode with a race to the other side of the lake. Fedor, Freya and myself were determined to win. I cheered them on steering the canoe and guess what we came first. Eden and Ruka second and Mixie and Eilidh T a close third. Well done guys! Lewis and Paul started off slow but soon got the hang of the steering and got there. Super focus and determination, well done. Logan and Savanna were canoeing with Super Steve and he was impressed with their rowing skills.

After the hot chocolate we played canoe football, which was great. Again team Mrs Watson were determined to gain as many points as possible and get team Steve! Yes, we did it and it was a super feeling! The group were given the task of balancing on top of an upturned rowing boat. This was when the laughs really started - Fedor, Freya and Eden all falling in and entertaining everyone. What a super time I had with all of you! Thanks for making me have a great day out. Go team 7!!!!!!!!!

Love Mrs Watson X

Group 5 Climb and abseil

This afternoon Group 5 and I spent some time on the climbing walls practising our skills before heading out to the cliff tops to abseil down! While I was safely with my feet on the ground taking pictures, the children bounced and jumped their way down the rock face and loved every minute of it! Everyone had a great time and encouraged others to have a go!

Miss Swanson

Mountain Biking with Group 1

Group one set off on a biking adventure this morning. We therefore, of course, built sand castles! Excellent time had by all biking through giant puddles and through the forest! We had several races to see who could cycle the slowest, Hannah and Charlie and Thomas did really well, getting to the finals unlike myself, stuck in the mud! We all had a great wet and muddy time!

Miss Swanson