School news 20th September 2013

Silver DofE Expedition – During the first week of September we had 2 groups out being assessed for their Silver Expedition.  Both successful, these expeditions took place in the “Great Wilderness”.  Participant Catherine Wyatt, S5, wrote the following report of her expedition for the Gairloch Times.

For our three day, Silver Duke of Edinburgh expedition we stayed on local territory, walking from Gruinaird to Poolewe, camping for the first night at Larachantivore and for the second night at Carnmore. Arriving for our first nights camping we became increasingly aware of an ominous black mistiness rolling down the hillside. Tents were pitched and dinner cooked at top speed, to avoid getting caught in the inevitable deluge. The first drops arrived as Innis licked his plate clean, and we dived into our tents not to emerge until the morning.

Happy Campers at Carnmore

We awoke the next morning to much better weather. However as we progressed to Carnmore we discovered several streams had swollen to abnormal proportions, making the crossings challenging. The highlight of our second evening was the sighting of a shooting star by Ciaran and Innis, the night being clear and starry.

We returned to Poolewe the final day in bright sunshine, and once the initial weariness had worn off we began discussing the possibilities for gold…

Malawi Update – The fourteen staff and pupils heading for Malawi in October had their final training weekend recently.  The group worked on their projects as well as brushing up on language skills.  They also covered some more Health and Safety issues.  We are grateful to Mr Townsend of Laide Post Office for the donation of insect repellent for each of the travellers as well procuring our mosquito nets.  We have also received a contribution of £500 from the Parent Council.  On Thursday 12th September a final check took place with the parents.  Everything is on track for the trip.  The group leaves Scotland on Wednesday 2nd October for Malawi returning on the Saturday19th October just in time to return to school!

Fourteen for Malawi

Ceangal Artists work with senior art pupils – On Wednesday 28th August, 2 Artists from the Ceangal International Artists’ Residency came into school with Ms Gulliver to work with senior art pupils.  The pupils were learning about some Indian folk art traditions, in particular Rangoli and Henna tattoos.

S5/6 Rangoli

Kiaran and Beena come from the north west of India, but the production of Rangoli takes place all over the country, particularly at the time of festivals such as Diwali, or to welcome guests.  Symmetrical patterns are drawn out on the floor, close to the front door or perhaps in inner courtyards.  These are filled in by sprinkling coloured powders with the hands.  Traditionally rice flour is coloured with such things as ochre and turmeric but these days, many synthetic materials are used, which give brighter, stronger colours.  Beena demonstrated with sand from Gairloch beach that had been coloured with Dylon dyes.  The pupils had a go themselves and, as with all these things, found the process much harder than anticipated.

The pupils then watched Beena produce a design with henna.  This is most often done on the hands, either on the palm or the back of the hand and on this occasion, Ms Gulliver was the guinea pig!  Henna is a natural dye produced from a plant.  It is formed into a powder, mixed into a paste and traditionally it would be applied to the skin with a small stick.  These days, however, it can be bought in small convenient tubes, the tops of which can be cut off so that the paste can be squeezed directly on to the skin.  Patterns are swirling and intricate and often look quite organic.  After being left to dry, the henna can be washed off and the dyed pattern remains below as a temporary ‘tattoo’. The day before a wedding in India, the bride-to-be meets with her friends and female relatives to apply henna patterns to each others arms, feet and legs.  Our example was not quite so extensive, but enjoyed by all nevertheless.

Many thanks to the Artists and Ms Gulliver for coming into school to share these processes with the pupils.

Culture Club and Higher English trip to Eden Court, Wednesday 28th August to see the National Theatre of Scotland/Royal Shakespeare Company Production “Dunsinane” by David Craig – The Higher English class and several Culture Clubbers travelled to Inverness after school to see this excellent production of David Craig’s play about Scotland after the death of Macbeth.  Lady Macbeth, Gruach, has not taken her own life after all, and claims she is the rightful queen, so the English commander Siward finds that his mission to restore Malcolm to the throne is more complicated than expected. The theme of the play is about the “impulse to do good which can often end up causing as much or, indeed, more bloodshed” according to the playwright, who wrote the play as Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq crumbled, and recognises the relevance his play still has to current events in the Middle East.  The strength of the production, however, was also in its mix of strong characters and performances, humour, a striking set design and live music onstage, making it a memorable and thought-provoking experience for everyone.

Former Pupil Success – Calum Mackison has been awarded a BSc Hons (2.1) in Audio Engineering by the University of the Highlands and Islands.  Well done Calum!

Currently Calum is very busy gaining experience as a sound technician in various venues in Perth, and further afield, including Belladrum and the Runrig concert at the Black Isle showground.

Important Dates – Also available here on the school website.

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