Sunday, 13 February 2011

Photos Added

We will add more photos after the holiday, but for now here are some of Bus One and Group Eight. Scroll down to see them.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Thank you

Thank you to all the staff who made Benmore 2011 such a successful, happy trip.

P6 pupils, you were great company and you lived and worked extremely well as a community. You can be justly proud of all that you managed to achieve.

Have a great holiday and we'll see you back at Sciennes on Tuesday 22nd February.

Ms Gallagher, Ms Christie, Mrs Murray, Miss Phillips, Mr Donald, Ms Marley and Miss Wagner.

Journey Update Nearly There!

Lothian Road

Journey Update

We've reached Sighthill.

Journey Update

Drier but traffic is still quite heavy. Just passed turn off for Livingston.

Journey Update

Wet but making headway on M8. Just passed Braehead. Estimating we'll be back 1.30pm

Homeward Bound

Pupils and staff thoroughly enjoyed the amazing disco - everyone danced their remaining socks off. We were brilliant at getting to Benmore,outstanding all the time we spent here and this morning we were excellent at getting organised to head home.

Andrew, Caleb W, Varnit and Liam get Ms Gallagher's vote for best dorm all week but by the end of our time here all dorms were scoring 10 out of 10 during inspection. Keep it up when you get home P6!

We're just about to get on the ferry and will post updates on our journey.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Wednesday 9th February 2011

It rained all day Wednesday but we were out and splashing about merrily having started the day with a fantastic breakfast of sausages, beans and toast. After soup and sandwiches for lunch, all eight groups went back out again for afternoon activities.

Four teams were commended in Tuesday night's Scavenger Hunt which involved running around indoors and also outside in the dark. Great joy and a fabulous light show at the front of the house with torches flashing all around.

Photos to follow we hope: we brought a broadband dongle but the speed is very slow.
More here later!

Please feel welcome to comment. Ellie says thanks for your comment, Holly, and Lewis P says hello to all the family.

Thursday - Last Day of Activities!

All agree that the week is flying by so quickly.We awoke this morning to beautiful 'Benmore Blue' sunny skies (like the illustration on this blog) and can hardly believe our luck with the weather. Amazingly for the time of year, a couple of groups have managed to canoe.

Wednesday night was chicken curry, vegetable curry or baked potato for dinner with Black Forest gateau and cream. We are pleased to say that the children are eating well and also enjoyed cereal, fruit, toast, bacon and French toast this morning.

The Teachers' team was pipped at the post in the Pop Quiz last night. Kamran complained that we were using Miss Wagner as our 'secret weapon'! Tonight it's disco night!

We can honestly say that we are truly enjoying the children's company and looking forward to having a party with them to celebrate all their achievements. They are a credit to their families and teachers.

Wednesday Activities

Group Five were caving with Ms Christie and had to climb 350m up from sea level through a very steep, slippery forrest before they arrived at a hole in the hillside that looked impossible to get through. They did get through though and then it was a 30 foot drop to the bottom of the cave - suspended on a rope. David and Aisuna bravely stepped up as team leaders. Ms Christie admits to feeling way beyond her comfort zone so was delighted that the whole group worked wonderfully together to get everyone from start to finish. The second cave was even more of a challenge. It involved lying down then wriggling down, feet first, and along a 15 foot tunnel. Kevin, Charlie, Luca, Tom, Daniel, India, Beth, Euan, Aisuna and Myaha were extremely brave and thoughtful with one another during an activity that really tested them both physically and mentally. A special thank you to Myaha for not leaving Ms Christie behind!

Group Three went on a Forest Walk in the afternoon with instructor Angela and Ms Christie. Daphne and Aleena used their map reading skills to set their map at the start of the walk. After a fairly hard walk up through some tricky terrain, Aida, Rabin, Jonathan, Callum, Aleena, Daphne, Yu Ning and Morven decided they weren't wet enough so went for a 'Head and Shoulders' in a waterfall. Ferdinand was much more circumspect and kept his waterproof hood up. Great fun at the time but they were relieved and delighted to get back to the warmth of the Benmore drying rooms.

Group One orienteered with their instructor, Kris, and Ms Gallagher. The rain poured all day but there was no wind and all managed the first star orienteering course successfully. Ellie and Holly teamed up and helped each other when they got a bit lost. Laura, Caleb W and Andrew wandered off course on the second round but were found before they reached Dunnon! Ben D'Ulisse had been very tired but benefited from going to bed early on Tuesday night and woke up full of energy. Tomas showed great skill in map reading. Great team!

In the afternoon, Ms Gallagher climbed and abseiled with Group Three. Jonathan, Morven, Adam G and Rabin were like geckos, clambering up the climbing wall with ease. Callum did exceptionally well too - both indoors in the climbing room and outdoors at the quarry. He was beaming with pride. Aleena, Ferdinand and Yun Ning surprised themeselves with their ability to abseil down the the highest cliff at the quarry. What stars! Camp Headteacher, Andy Beveridge, came along as an extra pair of hands to instructors Angela and Thea. This meant all nine children had lots of turns climbing and abseiling, giving them all the confidence to succeed on the big abseil. Group Three is the only group so far where every single child has opted for the harder abseil.

Group Two climbed and abseiled with Mr Donald. All fearlessly took to the walls in the climbing room, enjoying different traversing games that they can try out in the playground when they get back to Sciennes!

In the afternoon, Mr Donald went orienteering with Group Eight. The group learnt the basics of 'setting a map' and using features to help them navigate. Max and Leon are clearly naturals and sped through their initial 'Star Challenge'. Sean and Waqar at first found orienteering a real challenge, but with a great effort they completed the course successfully. Well done!

Canoeing for Mrs Murray and Group Four on Loch Eck was a rainy but atmospheric morning. Ruaridh and Joe got off to a flying start, putting their paddling skills to good use. Humzah worked really hard to build his confidence on the water and had a fabulous time negotiating obstacles with Scruttz.

In the afternoon, Mrs Murray orienteered with Group Two. It was great to see this group pf children working so well together and really enjoying being with their instructor, Steven. There was some confusion with the second course but all completed the circuit in good time. Well done to Peter's team for coming in first.

Group Eight and Ms Marley spent the morning climbing and abseiling in the quarry. The constant drizzle made conditions very slippery. The group first climbed to the top of the quarry before making their slippery descent. It was very challenging and the children conquered their fear of heights and of leaning backwards over a cliff edge! Max, Lois and Isis had fantastic technique and quickly made it to the bottom. The whole group were very brave and encouraged each other along.

Group Six are made of tough stuff! They went mountain biking with Ms Marley in the afternoon. After a very tiring morning, they once again donned their waterproofs to head out on mountain bikes. Eesa, Struan, Alexander and Jamie always took the most direct route: straight through gigantic, deep puddles! The group arrived back at the centre soaked, covered in mud, but exhilerated from zooming along muddy trails.

Sam and Owen are working on their diaries in the Field Studies Room and have helped add comments about their group's activities on Wednesday. When Group Seven went orienteering in the morning, Sam and Jack came first in the star event orienteer course. All the children completed the big course, though Emily and Ellis lost some time points by getting a bit lost in the middle. Owen and Kamran had the fastest time.

In the afternoon, Miss Wagner joined the group for a gorge walk. It had rained persistently and in some places the water was up to Sam's knees. The current was strong because of the all rain and even the staff had to be careful to keep their footing. Most managed to do the big slide at the end despite being cold and very wet. This activity really challenged and stretched the group and they can be very proud of themselves for reaching the top.

Sam would like to say that Benmore is a pretty great place and he would definitely recommend it!  And he also says "Hi and see you tomorrow, Mum!"

Activity Groups

Great new friendships have been formed and we are all delighted with the children's ability to mix socially in Activity Groups and in dormitories. Happy campers.

Group One
Ben D, Euan H, Tomas, Andrew, Caleb W, Rowan, Laura, Holly, Sana, Ellie

Group Two
Lewis P, Taran, Finlay, Ben S, Caleb B, Peter, Angus, Yuan, Murrin, Jasmin

Group Three
Ferdinand, Adam G, Rabin, Jonathan, Callum, Aleena, Daphne, Yu Ning, Morven

Group Four

Humzah, Adam M, Joe, Ruaridh, David, Lewis, Isla, Asiya, Milly, Megan

Group Five
Euan A, Kevin, Charlie, Luca, Tom, Daniel, India, Myaha, Beth, Aisuna

Group Six
Shehar-Yar, Varnit, Liam, Eesa, Struan, Alexander, Jamie, Hazel, Anouk

Group Seven
Kamran, Sam, Aidan, Owen, Jack, Rameen, Hannah, Tabitha, Emily H, Ellis

Group Eight
Waqar, Javahl, Sean, Thor, Leon, Max, Flora, Emily E, Lois, Isis

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

First Full Day of Activities

Mrs Murray spent the morning with Group One and the afternoon with Group Six.
Group One – Forest Adventure. Very much an adventure and a beautiful walk up the river walkway towards Puck’s Glen. The group rose well to challenges posed by navigating their way up the river. They shared top level leadership skills – Caleb Wilson and Rowan in particular – and worked very well as a team to ensure everyone completed the task successfully. They loved sipping hot chocolate at the Viewpoint. Best bits: mud and puddles!
Group Six were orienteering. Hazel completed the first course in a record breaking 4 minutes 40 seconds – well done! Varnit and Liam took a bit of a detour but showed great determination and did manage to complete the full course in time for 5 o’clock cakes.

Mr Donald spent the morning with Group Three and the afternoon with Group Five.
Group Three tried very hard at mountain biking, especially as some had only learnt to ride a bike a this year during P6  Cycle Training. Their instructor, Angela, coaxed them all through, ending with an obstacle challenge. Daphne, Morven, Aleena and Adam had great fun but Daphne lost a trainer in the mud! Morven lost a boot the previous evening on the night walk! (Both items were soon recovered though.) Jonathan shone, winning a Mars Bar for conquering ‘Mars Bar Hill’.
Group Five went up the gorge. Mr Donald got some great videos of the challenges. Luca, Kevin, Tom and Daniel tackled some tricky climbs courageously. Beth, Myaha and India bravely worked outside their comfort zones, but with lots of encouragement got to the top. A highlight was squeezing under the ‘Rock of Africa’ (underwater) at the end. Even Mr Donald managed to squeeze under it!

Ms Gallagher spent the morning with Group Four and the afternoon with Group Two.
Group Four tackled the gorge walk as a team, supported by their instructors Scruttz and Mairi. It was a bright calm morning and the sun was shining as they set off. Ruaridh was the only one to go ‘Through the Keyhole’ AND go under the ‘Rock of Africa’. Joe got happily drenched in the waterfall. Milly was so kind and helpful to all her team mates, helping everyone to succeed. Isla enjoyed the challenge but was glad to get back to the centre to heat up. Asiyah, Humzah, Adam and Lewis Chan enjoyed scrambling up the slippery rocks and river banks. Megan nearly went under the ‘Rock of Africa’ but decided she would get too cold. She would love to try again in the summer! David found climbing up the waterfall holding onto a rope tricky so was delighted with himself when he reached the top.
Group Two had a fabulous time in Puck’s Glen on a Forest Adventure with their instructors, Steven and Hannah (a former Sciennes ‘pupil!). Peter absolutely loved getting soaked in the waterfalls and covering his face with ‘war paint’ from a blood stone. Finlay and Ben Scott covered their faces with so much mud they looked camouflaged. Yuan, Murrin and Jasmin enjoyed the hot chocolate by the fire. Caleb Blackie, Taran and Angus played happily in the stream and Lewis Pritchett  won the Predator Game by catching Hannah.

Ms Marley spent the morning orienteering with Group 5 and the afternoon canoeing with Group Three.
Group Five orienteered around the Benmore Centre. The group spent some time learning how to read the maps and symbols correctly before taking off on individual challenges. The children left at thirty second intervals and India managed to make up lots of time to take the lead. The children  were put into two teams and then spent an hour on a 2km course. Charlie, Euan, Kevin, Luca, Tom and Daniel managed to find all of the checkpoints in the inside/outside challenge and solved the acrostic to spell ‘Benmore is cool!’
Group Three took the opportunity to go canoeing as their optional activity and were so lucky to have a calm bright day. With their buoyancy aids securely fastened, the children took their three man canoes onto Loch Eck. After some practice paddling forwards and backwards - and sometimes round in circles – the children managed to work together to paddle across the loch. Group Three finished with a game of ‘buoy ball’. Ferdinand, Adam and Rabin were so keen to win that they forgot that standing up in a canoe is not the best idea and capsized. A hot cup of ‘cosy juice’ did the trick to warm everyone up.
Miss Phillips was caving with Group Eight in the morning and climbing and abseiling with Group Seven.
Group Eight is an adventurous group who chose caving as their optional activity. They started off with a steep hill climb. Javahl, Thor and Leon almost ran up in their excitement to get started. Sean, Leon, Flora and Emily were amazing tackling the steep climb. Waqar, Thor and Emily did really well getting over their fears. Everyone managed to squeeze through a very small hole to get safely out of the cave at the end of their session.
Group Seven started the afternoon on the indoor climbing wall by learning techniques and how to use all the different ropes. Kamran , Aidan and Jack were like spiders climbing the walls. After the indoor wall they went to a quarry where Kamran , Owen, Hannah, Tabitha and Ellis all decided to do the large rock climb. Hannah did extremely well. She was very fast. Emily, Sam, Jack, Rameen and Aidan all decided to do the large abseil and the whole group worked superbly.

Mrs Christie was climbing and abseiling with group six in the morning and mountin biking with group four in the afternoon.
Shehar-yar was very excited about climbing and abseiling although a tad apprehensive. Hazel and Anouk were leading the way for the girls and Varnit was the speediest and the most confident. Eesa, Alexander, Jamie, Liam and Stuan were very supportive of each other on their first and very challenging activity.
Isla led the way through the mud and puddles on her bike. The forest circuit was quite challenging and Adam bravely got back in the saddle after a fall at the bridge. David, Humzah and Asiya welcomed the half time juice break. Ruaridh won a short race, even beating their instructor Scruttz.

Miss Wagner  was with Group Seven  on the forest adventure in the morning and with Group One climbing and abseiling in the afternoon.
Group Seven were hugely enthusiastic about their adventure. Tabitha loved the scenery and seeing how far they had been able to walk from the centre. All the children in the group enjoyed the challenge.
Group One all loved the climb. Sana did very well and made it all the way to the top. The whole group were very encouraging. It was great to see the group working together. Euan did really well on the climb, was super fast up the hill and enjoyed it tremendously.

All the staff - Sciennes staff and Benmore staff - are really enjoying working with the group and we are all delighted with how well everyone is getting along together.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Night Walk

Squeals of delight holding onto the night walk rope last night.Great team work and excellent leaders path finding in the dark. Tumbled muddy and tired ish into bunk beds.