Residential outdoor learning in Scotland
We talk to Richard at Galloway Activity Centre to hear all about the activities they provide and how they engage with schools to deliver amazing school residential trips.
Richard can you tell us a bit about Galloway Activity Centre and how long you have been delivering school residential trips?
"We were established in 1988 and have been running school trips since our conception. The centre started as a small family business teaching sailing, but, now, we have grown into perhaps one of the largest multi activity centres in Scotland. We run a mix of activities both on the water and on dry land.
You're based right on the shore of a Loch Ken, can you tell us a little bit about the activities that are available on the Loch?
On the water we run; sailing, windsurfing, paddle sports, power boating, stand up paddle boarding, sail foiling, raft building, our wobbly water park and our giant wet slide. We can run courses in which groups will receive a National Body certificated qualification or we can run multi activity breaks (or a combination of both!). On shore we offer; mountain biking, archery, climbing and zip wire, bubble football, Scotland's Highest Giant Swing, outdoor Laser tag, team games, leap of faith, climbing and zip wire, crate stacking, Jacobs ladder and a few more...
As well as physical education do you offer any other links to the national curriculum?
We have run a number of John Muir Discover and explore Awards. Whilst not directly part of the curriculum these are linked closely to Health and Wellbeing and very much geared to raising the children's' awareness of the environment – our natural playground.
What are the some of the soft skills that students will learn whilst on their residential school trip with you?
Our experiences are all about getting outdoors and active. Soft skills include growth in self-esteem and self-belief, becoming responsible citizens, greater social skills, resilience, risk awareness and team work. Children will increase their knowledge and make new or consolidate friendships.
When you package together your residential courses what types of things do you think about to make sure the student have a memorable experience?
Our aim is to give our children a unique, exciting and memorable experience in a safe and fun environment. We have a huge range of activities available and children will gain new skills during their stay at the centre.
Is your centre available to students from outside Scotland?
Yes very much so – we have had schools from the Northeast, London and Liverpool regularly. We have also had schools from Spain and even one from South Africa!
Do you offer an inclusive residential experience for students of all abilities and from different social and economical backgrounds?
Yes every school is slightly different and we tailor the programmes to meet the school aspirations. We are completely flexible and yes we very much would like as many students as possible to have an experience here regardless of social and economic backgrounds.
When students come on their residential trip to Scotland can you tailor make packages for them and what are some examples of what you can offer?
As above every school is different and we will run bespoke packages for every group dependent on the time they have available, their budget and the aims of the trip.
Are there any benefits of coming to Loch Ken outside of the summer term?
Yes - we have the most beautiful environment. We are based on the edge of Scotland's only Dark Skies Park and of course we also run discounted packages in low season. There is also a chance you might see the northern lights, a family of Otters and most likely red kites and red squirrels.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
We can and do cater for disabled each activity is slightly different but many can be adapted. We also have camping facilities and can run self-catering breaks to help save costs. Finally we run an evening programme for all our residential course – the pupils will leave us tired but very happy!
If you are interested in hearing a bit more about how Galloway Activity Centre can help you with planning your school's next activity trip then why not get in touch here.
Galloway Activity Centre
We’re a friendly family run outdoor activity centre that’s been operating since 1988 and caters to a wide range of children’s groups all year round. From the smallest group sizes to over 100 and from day trips to week long residential holidays.
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