On the final day of the Autumn term, 60 students and 6 staff set out to Edinburgh on a double decker coach. The anticipated negativity of a 5am start was quickly replaced by enthusiasm and excitement for all on board and, after a traffic free journey, we arrived and settled in our hostel in central Edinburgh. A short walk to dinner and to get our bearings was all we had time for in the evening, and after some team games, one and all were ready for sleep.
Day two saw a much more packed itinerary as we set off for Scotland’s secret bunker, a museum which shows the British plans for nuclear fallout during the Cold War era. A fascinating few hours underground, helped students to see the realities of the Cold War and how lots lived in constant fear of nuclear fallout, with governments well prepared for it. The evening activity revolved around the famous Edinburgh Ghost walk. The group here was split in two, with the other half enjoying a pizza buffet. The tour proved a particular highlight, with our host ‘Mr Clapperton’ re-telling various stories of people in Edinburgh during plague and witch burnings, with his assistant regularly playing different ghost characters, and jumping out at us to scare us for good measure! It was a highly entertaining tour, which students enjoyed and helped us get our bearings for the next day.
Sunday saw our busiest day. After some early morning drizzle, the weather cleared in perfect time to walk slightly up Arthur’s Seat, the now dormant Volcano which sits above and behind the city. We then walked through Edinburgh’s famous ‘Royal Mile’ which connects the city’s two castles, with our first stop being a short trip to the Surgery museum. This offered an insight into how far modern science and understanding of anatomy has come, with further gruesome tales and pictures of medieval surgery thrown in! The final part of our tour of the Royal Mile, saw students visit Edinburgh’s spectacular castle, where students could see the old fortress and learn about tactics used for fighting and living during the Medieval era. A night of bowling was more than enough to see most students through to bed.
Our last stop on the morning of the final day was to the royal palace of Holyrood, and frankly, saving the best until last, is an understatement. The spectacular palace is a delight to visit, with all students using a mobile device to guide them through the various rooms, and in particular learn lots about Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I’s cousin. The tour helped see what life was like for royalty, as well as understanding the circumstances behind Mary’s move to England. This finished our tour and soon after we set off for home. Another relatively traffic free journey saw us make great time and get back around 8pm, with a final awards ceremony taking place on the bus for many who had shown excellence in a variety of categories – well done to all our winners!
Overall the trip was a great success. It was Vandyke’s first visit to Scotland and Edinburgh, and definitely not the last. All students were a credit to the school and a pleasure to be with for the 4 days. Lots of laughs and learning taking place for all. Thank you to all the staff and students who made the trip possible and so thoroughly enjoyable. Munich 2022, here we come!
Mr Bodo, Team Leader of History