Diary Entries - June 2017

Click on the dates, below, to read the diary entry:

Ten Year 7 pupils, two Year 8 pupils and five staff set off at 9pm from
our school on Sunday night. Everyone was very excited and pleased
to have family, friends and staff to wave us off on our epic journey.

The first leg of our long journey concluded in Oban at 6:30am after
passing through the Lake District and Lock Lomond. Then onto the 4
hour ferry crossing, for many this was their first trip of this kind. We
travelled along The Sound of Mull on the Clansman boat, we waved to Tobermory (aka Balamory), chatted to the other passengers and
enjoyed the ride.

We arrived at Tiree just after 11am and were greeted not only by Fiona and her team, but also our friendly grey seal (must be the same one as last year) bobbing around by the pier. Once at the Alan Stevenson
House in Hynish the boys sorted out their rooms and made their beds before eating a quick lunch and out to play on the beach. Later in the
afternoon we took a short walk to Happy Valley where we were lucky
enough to see a minke whale thrashing its tail around in the bay.

Dinner was at 6pm, afterwards some of the boys popped to the shop with Mr Price and Miss Morrison, but not before getting the minibus
stuck in a sand dune. Some brilliant teamwork from the group saw the minibus tyres dug out and the shopping trip on their way. The
remainder attempted to secure the beach from the oncoming tide with a very fine dam. (It held strong for a while).

Finally a little crab fishing and a relaxation in the lounge before
everyone was tucked up in bed and asleep for 11pm. A busy day
tomorrow to keep them on their toes, windsurfing in the morning and a session with the Tiree rangers in the afternoon. We are dedicated to
cramming as much fun into this week as possible!

Quotes of the day:
- I do like Tiree, but c'mon Mr White, you know I'm a technology kind of guy, not a stone-age kind of guy

- Hmm, crab fishing... boring! Lowering socks filled with bacon into the water, what do they do they expect apart from wet socks that smell of bacon

- If you don't include tomorrow and the day after we only have 2 days
left, we should have come for longer!

By 7:30am the boys were ready for breakfast and excited for the day ahead. A good nights sleep had allowed staff and pupils to recharge their batteries which had been depleted during the long journey. A hearty breakfast followed by a brief meeting to explain the days plans, a tidy of the rooms, gathering the appropriate clothing and making of
lunches and then we were off for the day.

10:45am - First stop was Loch Bhasapoll to meet the instructors from Wild Diamond for a windsurfing session. Tiree is the home of the Tiree Wave Classic competition, the longest running professional
windsurfing event in the world, so it is a very popular destination for
windsurfing enthusiasts. The pupils and staff squeezed into wetsuits,
and after a short explanation of how to tackle the board, they were out on the Loch practising their skills. Everyone seemed to love the activity and a couple of the boys have asked if we can do it somewhere near
school in the future, it certainly seems like a good suggestion.

1pm - Straight from the Loch to a small place called Vaul at the
opposite end of the island to where we are staying. We met Steph, the Tiree Ranger, who took us on a short coastal walk. She pointed out the wild Thyme growing near the coast, explained some of the farming
methods around animals grazing freely, identified the others islands
such as Eigg, Much, Rum and Skye. The culmination of the walk was at Vaul Broch, the remains of a fortified building dating back to 60AD.

Evening - After dinner we played close to where we are staying,
Declan caught our first crab, a grey seal popped by the pier to say
hello and the boys relaxed in our beautiful surroundings. All tired, but
very happy!

Tomorrow morning some of the boys will meet with international
triathlete, Will Wright, who will put them through their paces on bikes
and fitness. The other pupils have chosen to go back to the Loch for
kayaking. The forecast is dry and so we expect to be outside for most of the day.


Quotes of the day:
- I'm doing the Canaking tomorrow (we presume this is a mixture of
Canoeing and Kayaking)

- If he's moving rooms, there's one thing I've got to say about that, I'm
having his bed. Why? Because it's the top bed and I can't even sit up in
my bed without hitting my head!

- Pupil: I've got cow poo on my shoe... (kicks shoe off 1 mile from the
minibus) Well, they are going in the bin... Staff: don't worry we will clean
your shoes.

- Pupil: I'd like to live in Tiree if there wasn't so much poo. Staff: Sheep
poo? Pupil: ...and cow poo! ...and no McDonalds, Chinese take-aways
or places to buy clothes.

A busy morning, breakfast and out of the door quickly.

9:30am - The fitness fanatics headed to Tiree Fitness to meet with Will Wright for their mountain biking and fitness session. The backdrop to
their skills session was spectacular and so were the cycle skills on
show and determination demonstrated which complemented the
scenery perfectly.

11am - Back to the Loch to meet Wild Diamond staff for a kayaking
session. Our arrival coincided with the sunshine and blue sky's
appearing, Tiree is taken to a level of beauty above and beyond most of the UK on a day like this.

The weather meant that we were not hanging around inside for too
long, so after lunch we were off in the minibus again to playing on the
beach.

2pm - Sandiag beach has something for everyone, clear water, sandy bays, shells aplenty, rock pools and rocky areas to explore. Plenty to
keep a Northern House School pupil interested and inspired. Although,
as Nick, Tayzhon, Hayden and Mr White found, the Atlantic Ocean is a little cold to swim in without a wetsuit.

6pm - A fish and chip supper, followed by a brief meeting and a trip to
the shop (although pocket money is now dwindling). Marshall and
Hayden built a fire on the beach for the group to enjoy. Once the shoppers returned, hot dogs were cooked on the BBQs on the beach.

A very busy day, but many highlights. Let's hope tomorrow's
adventures are as much fun. Sand-yachting, a visit to a Croft (farm)
and more time on the beach before we prepare for the early ferry on
Friday.

Quotes of the day:
- Pupil: Is that a lion? Staff: No, it is a cow laying down on a mound of
grass.

- Pupil: Mr White really likes looking at tyres... Staff: No he's reversing
and checking the minibus tyres do not hit the kerb.

- Pupil 1: How old is your twin sister? Pupil 2: Urrr, the same age as me!

The final full day on Tiree and high winds changed the plans. That seems to be the way Tiree works, weather dictates what is done on each
day.

We'd planned a sand-yachting session, but although high winds
sounds exciting, too much wind makes the activity too dangerous for
the inexperienced. Wild Diamond informed us of the change to a body
boarding session for the afternoon.

1:30pm - most of the group were very interested in visiting a local Croft (farm) to experience part of the traditional Tiree and Hebridean
lifestyle. Steph, the Tiree Ranger, had organised for us to visit Euan
and Elspeth's Croft in Balepheteish. We were introduced to 3 month
old lambs, a 4 day old calf, 1 year old sheep awaiting shearing and met
Moss the working border collie who demonstrated his skills at rounding up the sheep. We all loved our visit and the boys bombarded the
couple with questions which showed their keen interest in the animals and crofting in general.

3pm - the boys seemed a little unsure of the change to body boarding, but as has been the theme of the week, they were willing to give it a go. So back on with the thick wetsuits (getting them on is a physical
activity in itself) and off to the 'the green', a beach which yesterday
would have looked like something from the Mediterranean, but today
was truly Scottish. Driving winds causing large waves, ideal for surfing and body boarding. It was brilliant, for many the best activity of the
week!

Evening - we have an early start in the morning and the winds meant
outside did not feel inviting. We all sat in the living room enjoying each other's company, playing some games and watched a film. We did
pause to reflect on the week, Mr White led a review of each day and
the boys remembered how much they had done so far. They were also keen to look through the photos of the week.

A lovely day to end our time in Tiree. Tomorrow we are catching the
9:30am ferry, so we must be up packed up and out early to head
home. But before we get home we have a stop off at Treezone near
Loch Lomond, for an adventure in the trees. Incidentally, trees are very
scarce in Tiree, so that will be a big change straight away.

We should be dropping the boys off at their homes between 5am and 7am on Saturday morning.

Quotes of the day:
- 10 minute drive from where we had been staying on our way to an
activity... Pupil: So, are we still on Tiree?

- Staff: We're in Scotland... Pupil: No we're in England. Staff: Tiree is
part of Scotland. Pupil: No, it is definitely England.

                                               
  

Here are images showing the 460 mile journey taken to travel to Isle of Tiree