April 8, 2019

Edinburgh field trip

On Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd April, Maps and Facts club and UNESCO club went on a visit to Edinburgh, a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) World Heritage site.

We met early on Tuesday morning at Newcastle railway station to catch our train to Edinburgh; we were excited on that hour and a half journey. With our backpacks on our backs we marched across Edinburgh, down the Royal Mile, ending outside the Dynamic Earth interactive museum. Here we posted our first twitter picture outside a large tent like building. Inside we went into a ‘touch everything’ museum with lots of interactive experiences showing us how the earth formed and other geographical facts. After eating our packed lunches, we went into a planetarium cinema which showed us a history of science since the big bang and how we are all made out of stars. This was presented with useful graphics and was arguably one of the most interesting experiences of the trip, teaching us all about atoms and the life cycle of stars etc. One of the boys on the trip said that this was their favourite part of the trip because “it was interesting and fun at the same time”.

We then waited outside the Scottish Parliament adjacent to the museum where we found protesters saying the planet was dying; whether we agreed with them or not we were temporarily amused by their drumming band. Soon it was time to find the hotel instead.

After everyone found the room they were to be in, we set out on a treasure trail task. This task, which involved splitting into teams and navigating your team around Edinburgh, searching hard for hidden clues, let us explore the capital and let us see what we usually would not. It also let us practise our skills of independence, team work and resilience. Despite putting lots of effort in, several tricky questions meant we could not finish the trail that day. Ben’s favourite activity was the treasure trail because “it was fun having the freedom and independence”.

Rounding up at 5 o’clock, we treated our hungry selves to a Pizza Express meal. Staying true to our Geographical and Scientific and Cultural values we made sure no food went to waste.

That same evening we were in for a spooky surprise as we waited eagerly for our ghost tour. With an enthusiastic tour guide we delved into Edinburgh’s bloody past, from citizens’ old habits to the way they were executed! This led us to exploring vaults under a long-gone bridge which used to be a den for body smugglers and the poorest residents of the city. A few people saw some peculiar things but there were no widespread ghost sightings. Adam’s favourite activity was the ghost tour because “I found out new things about Edinburgh’s gory past” and “it was exiting exploring the vaults”.

We returned to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

After having a leisurely breakfast, we re-doubled our efforts on the treasure trail, in this penultimate attempt we did not work in groups but as one to get those who were behind up to the same point. This showed our leadership and community. Soon we were at the Scottish Parliament for opening hour, ready to explore another cultural hotspot. The design of the building inside and out was intricate and beautiful with shapes and colours incorporated into this composite building that opened in the early 2000’s, representing hidden ideas and creating visual metaphors. Exploring the building and finding out why it was there and how it worked was my favourite part of the trip, as being inside the chamber felt breath-taking and finding out how it worked was truly fascinating.

With the end of our trip on the horizon we felt we must have one last go on the treasure trail, showing our persistence and determination. I’m proud to say that some people finished before we spent some free time in our groups exploring the city and eating lunch with our friends. This final part of the trip was Yohan’s favourite part because “we had some time to spend with our friends”.

It went very quickly, but we all thoroughly enjoyed the schedule that led us to experience so much of what our clubs aim to give, so thank you to Mrs Stewart and Mrs Thompson for allowing this trip to happen. Going back on the train was slightly sad, but we all knew that even when we preferred different bits, we had as a whole, shared a truly fascinating and amazing experience.

By Oliver L, Year 9