SMART create a Pocket Orchard

Our first trees were added to the Gairloch High edition of the Wester Ross Pocket Orchards project by the S1B SMART class this morning, who did an fantastic job despite the rain, wind and cold! We planted eight trees including pear, apple, plum and cherry. A great legacy for them to leave the school and hopefully for everyone to benefit from in the future!

Pocket Orchards

Pocket Orchards
First crop of fruit should be in 2020, with both the school and community able to benefit. A huge thank you to John from the project for his expertise and providing trees.

Pocket Orchards

More photos on Flickr!

Awards Summer 2018

A host of awards and certificates have been presented in the last week, celebrating achievements across first aid, photography and indoor rowing. A special well done to those who received all three!

S3 First Aid

Every pupil in S3 received their First Aid certificate, having undertaken a first aid course earlier in the year. We hope they never have to use their skills – but they are prepared in case they do! This is also an excellent award to have for work and volunteering opportunities in the local community.

Rotary Club Photography Competition

The Rotary Club in Dingwall hold an annual photography competition. This year the entry from Gairloch High School was so good they had to have an extra room for judging! Well done to all those who took part and particularly those who received highly commended or winning entries.

Scottish Indoor Rowing

Finally, we had another very successful year in the Scottish Indoor Rowing league with pupils from S1-S6 taking part. Lots of bronze, silver and gold certificates were awarded by Scottish Rowing for the pupils who reached these high standards. Well done!

P7 Induction Days

We’ve LOVED welcoming more pupils (and families) to our school community this week as our P7s from across the ASG have been in the High School for their induction days.

P7 Induction Days

They’ve been able to follow their new timetable, have met staff, learned how the place works and had fun getting to know each other!

S2 Investigation of the Marine Food Chain on Gairloch’s Beaches

While the rest of the school was away, S2 had the opportunity to explore Gairloch’s beaches with Dr Close and Mr Peter Cunningham on a Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. You can see all the photos on Flickr.

We conducted a sampling survey of the sand on both beaches and are hoping to find out if there are micro-plastics in the sand.

S2 Investigation of the Marine Food Chain on Gairloch's Beaches

Thursday saw Mr Cunningham electro fishing the Achtercairn Burn with several trout and eels being caught as well as some small plaice closer to the beach.

S2 Marine Habitats & Food Chains

On Friday we investigated the Marine Food chain on Gairloch’s main beach, first by using a Plankton net to catch Phytoplankton and the Zoo plankton which eat them. We then looked for filter feeding worms which eat the plankton, by digging in the sand. Next we used two different sized, sweep nets to try to catch the fish and marine invertebrates which feed on the worms and also the plankton.
S2 Marine Habitats & Food Chains

Lastly Mr Ian McWhinney brought his fishing boat over to the beach and came ashore with a variety of the predators of the small fish we caught in the sweep nets.

S2 Marine Habitats & Food Chains

Mr Cunningham shares some of what we found:

“Here’s a list of some of the things we found:

Zooplankton . . . with the plankton net:  Included crab or lobster larvae and other stuff too small to see without microscope. I’ll be happy to bring our microscope into the school one day with samples of plankton. There was not such a lot of zooplankton off the beach; much more in some concentrated patches where currents converge further out and around towards Melvaig.

I explained how other animals including mackerel and basking sharks can often be seen in the silvery mixing lines where the zooplankton becomes concentrated. So do jellyfish and floating things like sea weed and plastic bags!

 One jellyfish (moon jellyfish ) was recovered from the beach stranded. There was a barrel jellyfish washed up last week – I didn’t see it.  The leatherback turtles eat jellyfish – particularly barrel jellyfish.

Sand animals: We found lugworms and tube worms (sand mason worms I think) and a ragworm of some sort; and at least one other kind of worm (or bit of one). You could spend a whole session looking at worms! We also found Tellin bivalves and sea potatoes (Heart urchin).

S2 Marine Habitats & Food Chains

Sweep net of lagoon. Lots of animals here

  • Fish: dozens of juvenile plaice [rather than flounder I think] ; sandeels (maybe lesser sandeel and greater sandeel); juvenile cod (this year’s fry); gurnard sp; goby sp. (sand goby i think; it is very similar to common goby – which is found more in estuaries according to the book).
  • Crustaceans: hermit crab, shore crab
  • Molluscs: sea hare (kind of sea slug).
  • Echinoderms – think someone produced a starfish and a heart urchin, though possibly not in the net?
  • Think there was also possibly one very small purple stinger jellyfish; however I didn’t hear anyone squealing about that!

S2 Marine Habitats & Food Chains

Big sweep net: Much effort for not a lot; however two rather special story things:

  • Bob-tail squid, or little cuttlefish (Sepiola atlantica). These are great little creatures – if we had had more time I would have put it in an aquarium for all to see close up.
  • Lesser weaverfish. Venomous spines! Not good to stand on one of these in bare feet. . . you’ll find lots of stories on line of surfers who have experienced the spine. Good to wear shoes if wading about in the sea!
  • The crabs were interesting here – we got masked crab and swimming crab (?Liocarcinus depurator I think. Velvet swimming crabs can be found at low tide in the kelp around the An Dun headland).

S2 Marine Habitats & Food Chains

Ian’s animals: what a fantastic selection!

These I assume all came out of creels? Great selection . . .

  • Fish: cod (one-year old I think – a size bigger than the wee ones we found in the lagoon); flatfish (possibly a dab rather than a flounder?); sea scorpion  (not sure whether long-spined or short-spined . . . both can be found in the kelp at low tide)
  • Crustaceans: Lobster; Edible (brown) crab; Shore crab (I didn’t realise there was a local fishery for these too!); Velvet crab (I think there was one – these are often the fiercest); Spider crab (sea toad); Norway lobster (langoustine or Nephrops); Long-clawed squat lobster.
  • Molluscs: Octopus.  I decided that the Octopus is at the top of the food chain for us. Or perhaps if it had been in the bucket, the crabs they would have eaten it? Food webs can get very complicated . . .”

S2 Marine Habitats & Food Chains

 This coupled with the perfect weather constituted a really memorable and fun learning experience. Thanks to Mr Cunningham and Mr McWhinney for their time, skills and knowledge.

We need TWO school leaders!

 Our pupils know what makes our school a good place to be – and they also know what they look for in a school leader. We need TWO school leaders and are currently advertising for both a Headteacher and Depute Headteacher. 

Our school is small, built on excellent relationships, takes many opportunities, has hard working staff & pupils and is in an incredible part of the Scottish Highlands.

Please share our video so we can reach the best candidates and bring them to our school. We have pupils, staff and a local community waiting to welcome you!

For more information about Gairloch High School:

For more information about the posts:


S1 Modern Studies

The ‘ £1000,000 question ‘ display – S1 Modern Studies

In Modern Studies, pupils  in S1 have been learning how local councils work and how they help to support local people. Pupils were given an imaginary £1000,000 of tax money and their challenge was to propose a sustainable project that would improve the lives of the people in their local community and was also environmentally friendly.

S1 Modern Studies

Our pupils proved to be very inventive, they also did a great job to present their proposals.  Finn Simpson’s idea to improve Tournaig was voted by the class as the best project, while Shonagh MacKenzie’s and Ashley Quinn’s projects in Gairloch and the overside were runners-up.

A lovely exhibition of all the great project-ideas is now on at Gairloch library and you are welcome to visit  and see them in detail.

Wester Ross Fisheries Trust Phone Presentation

Mr Peter Jaroz of the Skye and Wester Ross Fisheries Trust  came to Gairloch High School in December; to present three S6 pupils, Roddy Macrae, Jack Wright and Sean Quinn, with OnePlus5 Smartphones (worth approximately £500 each) as a reward for working in their own time to develop an App for the Skye and Wester Ross Fisheries Trust.

The app is designed to collect data about fish catches and invasive species as well as give the user up to date information about where to go fishing in Wester Ross. They put a lot of time and effort into the project and have forged links with SWRFT and UHI  as a result of their efforts. This has given them an insight into the world of work and app development. The programme is ongoing and may be an opportunity to work with other GHS pupils in the future.

SWRFT Phone Presentation
We would like to say a huge “thank you” to the Skye and Wester Ross Fisheries Trust for giving us such a fantastic opportunity to work on an app that will be used by so many people.

Receiving the new phones will be a great chance for us all to progress with our careers as we can keep better communication with peers and other members of the work force. This job has given us an incredible amount of experience in working in the real world, having to meet deadlines and to work through all the problems that may have arisen along the way. These new and more developed transferrable skills will help all of us in our future careers and are rare in the work environment.

We would all hope to see future collaborations between Gairloch High School and Skye and Wester Ross Fisheries Trust so more people will be able to benefit from it in the same way we have.

We would like to thank Kevin Ginty for providing experience and knowledge in areas where we previously had none.

We would also like to thank Peter Jarosz and Dr Close for bringing the project to us and allowing us to take it on.

We really appreciate having this unique opportunity given to us.

Thank you once again,

Roddy MacRae, Jack Wright and Sean Quinn 

Modern Studies Parliament Visit

The National 4/5 Modern Studies pupils visited the Scottish Parliament recently. They had the privilege to attend First Ministers Question Time in the debating chamber, contribute to an enquiry of the Justice Committee and engage with some of our local MSP’s, Gail Ross, Edward Mountain and Maree Todd.

Modern Studies visit Parliament

As always, the trip was much enjoyed and worthwhile and our thanks go out to the wonderful staff at Holyrood who always go out of their way to make our Parliament visits  so memorable.

Modern Studies visit Parliament


Senior Art Exhibition & Calendars

‘Thanks to all who came to the Senior School Exhibition on Thursday evening. Your support is very much appreciated. We had a great turnout and sold a record 34 calendars!

Senior Art Exhibition 2017 Senior Art Exhibition 2017

There are lots of photos from the event, taken by Evander Duncan (S6) on Flickr.

Senior Art Exhibition 2017

There is a comment book alongside the exhibition which will be in the Library for the next couple of weeks if you’d like to add something. We’d appreciate your feedback!

Senior Art Exhibition 2017

Senior Music pupils provided the entertainment