Outdoor Learning

Learning new skills through outdoor education at The Mary Erskine School

At The Mary Erskine School the girls can choose from a wide range of outdoor activities in addition to day trips and longer overseas and UK residential trips. 

From S1 and S2 Projects and S3 Carbisdale, to organised trips sailing, surfing and climbing as well as Combined Cadet Force and Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme, the girls can explore nature, overcome physical challenges, test their commitment and their resolve, build their confidence and have fun with their friends in the great outdoors.  

S1 and S2 Projects

In S1 every pupil enjoys a day out of school to participate in outdoor activities and learn skills on the hills as well as a week of projects. S1 and S2 Projects are twinned and include all children from The Mary Erskine School and Stewart's Melville College.  When they move into S2, the children participate in another twinned event which takes place after the boys and girls have completed their end of session exams in May. Each year group participates in 5 days of activities including mountain biking, hillwalking, skiing/snowboarding, sailing/canoeing, rock climbing, surfing and scuba diving. In addition, on entering S2, those who have acquired a love of the great outdoors have the opportunity to take part in an evening of 'hammocking' in the Pentlands.


One of the highlights of their school careers takes place in S3 when boys and girls in their shared House groups enjoy the 8 day Carbisdale experience and a variety of projects including Art, Canoeing, Environmental Studies, Orienteering, Technology, Mountain Biking, Two-day Expedition, History, Hillwalking and Landscapes and Land Use. Based residentially in the heart of the Scottish Highlands the pupils challenge themselves physically and also learn an enormous amount about the natural history of Scotland and about themselves through individual initiative and working together to overcome challenges, opportunities that will be fundamental to success in their adult lives.

Combined Cadet Force

The very popular and successful Combined Cadet Force is open as a voluntary activity to pupils in S3 and above of The Mary Erskine School and Stewart's Melville College.

Both the Army and Royal Air Force sections offer cadets the opportunity to develop in mind and body through a programme of exciting activities of a military or an adventurous training nature. The Army Section has 200 cadets and the RAF section which enables cadets to learn to fly is 100 strong. Camps throughout the year allow cadets to put their training and their leadership skills into practice.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme is extremely popular and is open to S3 upwards; it can be continued until the age of 25. Many pupils complete their Bronze, Silver and Gold before leaving school but this is not essential - some go on to finish while at University.

Every year about 50 of our pupils collect their Gold certificates at Holyrood Palace.

The Award is a voluntary, non-competitive programme of practical, cultural and adventurous activities, designed to support the personal and social development of young people. It offers individual challenge and encourages young people to undertake exciting, constructive, challenging and enjoyable activities in their free time. It also helps to teach young people the importance of contributing to their local communities.  

Outdoor education at The Mary Erskine School can help your daughter to become more confident and to develop skills, interests and friendships that last a life time.