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P7 Transition and John Muir Trust Discovery Award - 2023

At the beginning of May, Primary 7 pupils from Lionel School, Sgoil an Taobh Siar and Shawbost School completed their P7 transition programme and John Muir Trust Discovery Award. The John Muir Trust Discovery Award is an environmental award scheme. The Award and programme of activities took place over three days allowing the young people to discover, explore and conserve our natural environment. Taka a look at what they got up to:

Day one - Lower Shader

On the first day, the young people met at Lower Shader where they all got to meet each other. It was the perfect day for an educational walk to Steinacleit with Dr Chris Barrowman from Historic Scotland, exploring the prehistoric archaeological site. Everybody tried their hand at fishing on Loch Duin, later on they used their bushcraft skills to make shelter, fire, and well earned toasted marshmallows!

Day two - Barvas Machair

On the second day, the The 36 young people met at Barvas Machair where HM Coastguard set up a shelter which was the base for the day.

On the Machair, equipped with nets, specimen pots and magnifying lenses, the young people went on an interactive discovery walk and bug search. They learnt about the diversity of creatures that we have locally and what we call all do to protect them. Emma Stobart and Màiri Carrey from Bumble Bee Conservation Trust – Species on the Edge Project led these sessions and shared a wealth of knowledge with everybody.

The young people were then given the opportunity to appreciate and explore our local landscape from a different perspective – on mountain bikes. Led by Lindy from Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and Donald MacDonald (Ba), participants cycled along trails of the Barvas Machair. Participants challenged themselves and got some good exercise at the same time.

Katie Macdonald from Comunn na Gàidhlig guided the groups on a number of litter picking activities on the Machair throughout the day. The groups collected a substantial amount of litter between them all. They also discussed the importance of conserving our island and had fun with their new friends while doing so.

Day three - Clan MacQuarrie Community Centre

On the third and final day, each group spent time in the Sensory Garden at The Hebridean Community Garden which is based at the Clan MacQuarrie Community Centre. Here Christopher, Ben and Neil helped them to build raised beds. The beds were constructed and lined by the P7’s who then filled them with compost.

Suitable plants were chosen from the polytunnel and planted in their new homes. Being a sensory garden, it was only fitting to plant lemon balm and various mint plants. We are looking forward to watching (and smelling) the new plants grow.

The groups later embarked on a Clan MacQuarrie walk exploring the area whilst they learnt more from Murdo Burns who told them about the Clan MacQuarrie Clan Line Ship which came to grief on the west side of our island in 1953. The rescue of the 66 crewman (and the ship’s cat) was the biggest ever breeches buoy rescue with the island hospitality and generosity becoming legendary.

Over the three days, the young people collected heather from Shader, sand from Barvas, soil from Carloway as well as small stones & pebbles from various activities along the way. They learnt about history and tradition associated with the Sassine and then used the collected items to create their own individual Sassine’s – beautifully wrapped in Carloway Tweed.

The sessions were led by Kenny Maclennan, Chair of Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh and Agnes Rennie, Chair of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn who worked collaboratively to teach the young people about community land ownership. They discussed the history of each respective Estate and explored the many possible opportunities for our young people for the future.

At the end of each day, the young people spent time completing a logbook to document their experiences. Additionally, they created posters detailing their experience, the posters will be displayed in their schools.

This programme was funded and delivered by Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh in partnership with The John Muir Trust.

Thank you!

We would like to thank everyone who made this year’s programme possible, it is a true testament as to what can be achieved through partnership working and collaboration.

Importantly, thank you to the 36 incredible young people who made the most of this experience. We wish them well on their transition from primary school to secondary school and look forward to seeing what the future brings for them.

Find out more.

You can find out more about the John Muir Trust and the partners who worked with us to deliver this programme below:

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