Pupils’ experience of a lifetime

The pupils and crew are pictured on board after their trip.'Contributed photo
The pupils and crew are pictured on board after their trip.'Contributed photo

A FIVE-DAY trip on the seas around the west coast recently formed the introduction to sailing for Montrose Academy pupils.

The voyage, organised by Angus Council’s Local Multi Agency Resource Team (LMART) and the Ocean Youth Trust, involved five S3 pupils who joined a contingent from Brechin High School for a memorable trip that included visits to Lochranza, Arran and Bute.

LMART works with youngsters aged between nine and 16 to promote involvement in positive recreational activities.

It proved to be a hectic experience for the pupils who, although not many had met each other before, had to quickly work as a team for their departure from Greenock and familiarise themselves with their vessel.

No labour-saving devices were on board and, under the supervision of specialist staff, sails were hoisted by hand, the boat was steered by pupils, positions were plotted and logbooks filled out.

They also worked a rota system for different duties, including cooking for the 18-strong crew which turned out to be no easy task.

Ross Horne, LMART development worker, said: “Once the sails had been hoisted the young people were able to enjoy the spectacular scenery and wildlife of the west coast, but not for long before the boat had to be ‘tacked’ in order to catch another gust of wind.

“Pupils took it in turns to ensure that there was a tasty feast awaiting the hungry crew of 18. It proved a challenge to chop tomatoes, grate cheese, boil rice and bake potatoes when the boat was turning and everything was moving whilst on a slope.

“None of the pupils had any real experience of sailing but by the end of the voyage the sea staff where happy for them to take control.

“By the final evening the group managed to navigate themselves back to Greenock Harbour, an amazing achievement which was made all the more impressive as it was pitch black.

“The young people arrived with a change of clothes, a pair of wellies, enthusiasm and a sprit of adventure. They left with the experience of a lifetime and memories that will last them forever. All those involved were a credit to their school, community and families.”

The Montrose pupils’ involvement was made possible by financial support from Montrose Round Table, Montrose Rotary Club and the academy’s Parent Partnership.