The Active Schools nan Eilean Siar
Western Isles Way
Teacher Resource Pack
The Active Schools nan Eilean Siar Walking Challenge
The Active School Co-ordinators (Primary) are promoting a walking initiative across
all primary schools in the Western Isles. The initiative will target P4 – P7 pupils. The
initiative will run for five weeks, which will start with a week of collecting baseline
data, followed by a four-week programme. To allow us to gather information, pupils
will be issued with a pedometer and a recording table for the first week of the
project in order to obtain baseline figures. From weeks 2-5 the children will then
receive a booklet (Western Isles Way Passport) giving details of the project. Active
Schools staff have prepared a route map detailing the distances between key points
on the route. There is information about various points of local interest along the
route that can be used in the classroom to bring in a range of curriculum topics.
A Gaelic version will also be made available.
Individual Project – Western Isles Way
This involves each pupil in the P4 – P7 age group; they will be issued with a pedometer
and a Passport to record their daily step count. The passport will include a step
count table and a copy of the Western Isles Way route map. During the five weeks
of the programme pupils will record the number of steps they take throughout the
school day. The step count table will allow pupils to see how far along the Western
Isles Way they have managed to travel. There are three reward categories based on
distance travelled along the Western Isles Way.
Bronze Certificate 150,000 steps
Silver Certificate 200,000 steps
active schools t-shirt & Gold Certificate 263,000 steps
Members of staff involved with the classes taking part in the Walking Challenge can
also participate in the Western Isles Way project. Staff will follow the same rules
as the pupils involved; wearing pedometers between 9am and the close of the school
day; they will be asked to complete a Passport every day to enter the staff challenge.
All staff who take part will have their name included in a draw to win a prize at the
end of the project.
At the end of the project, the school with the highest average steps per child will School Challenge win an all expenses paid trip for all P4 –P7‟s to their local CnES Sports Centre for a
great Fun Activity session!
? Pedometers to be distributed first thing in the morning and collected at the end
of the day.
? Each class should have a „Walking Station‟ - a designated area to store and collect
pedometers and passports. Pedometers will be numbered and should be
distributed to the pupils alphabetically e.g. the first pupil on the register should
get pedometer number 1. ? Pedometers should be positioned on the waist, in line with the thigh bone of
? Pedometers should be collected, attached and reset once the pupil has returned
to their seat. It should only be reset again at the end of the day after the step
count has been recorded. ? Results sheets to be completed at the end of the day. Work with a partner to
? Pedometers are to be removed during PE and football, as this may result in
inaccurate readings. ? Active Schools will supply a large-scale map with coloured markers, so each child
can record their progress. ? If anyone completes the route, simply start him or her again from Stage 1 and see
how far they can go!
Why encourage children to walk?
? It is recommended that children walk at least 12,000
steps per day.
? Health benefits include improving cardio-vascular
fitness, strengthening hearts and improving lung
? Forming good habits at an early age can prevent some
serious problems that are now becoming apparent in
young people; including Type 2 Diabetes and even
osteoporosis. Any ‘load bearing’ activity such as walking
improves bone density.
? Children who develop good physical activity habits are
less likely to adopt unhealthy behavioural habits later in
life – smoking etc. ? Develop young peoples awareness of improving the
environment by reducing the number of car journeys etc. ? Try and emphasise that it is fun! As you walk, you will
see all sorts of things in the environment that you
would never notice from a car or bus! Use this to
develop awareness of different bird species, cloud
? If you can find someone to walk with, it is a great
chance to talk and catch up with all the latest gossip
Why encourage children to walk?
'Kids should be doing 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous exercise to be truly healthy and ensure their bones and cardio-vascular systems develop properly," Professor Chris Riddoch, head of the London Sports Institute at Middlesex University, who led the research, said. Mr Riddoch, a Government adviser on children's health and expert on physical activity, said children did a lot of walking but not enough vigorous sport like football and running.
“The growing number of overweight children proved they were not burning off enough calories through exercise" he said.
Boys were much more likely than girls to do an hour a day, while children from lower socio-economic groups did more than those who are better off, according to the study.
Neville Rigby, from the International Obesity Task Force, told The Observer that children lived in a society where parents were afraid to let them out to play, there were too few school playing fields and streets were packed with cars.
"We have to create safer spaces for them to play in so they have an incentive to leave their keyboard behind and go outside, and reduce the .
amount of fatty and sugary foods they consume," he addedthBBC Online 29 May 2005.
Some interesting local facts!
The Butt of Lewis Lighthouse was built in 1862 by members of the famous Stevenson
family. Not only were they great
engineers, one of their relatives was
Robert Louis Stevenson who wrote
fantastic stories such as „Treasure Island‟
„Kidnapped‟ and „The Strange Case of
Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde‟. Quite a talented family!
According to The Guinness Book of Records it is the windiest place in
It does not have Lighthouse Keepers – the last Keeper left in 1998. It now works automatically from a control room in Edinburgh – very clever!
The restored Blackhouse village at Gearrannan is an amazing place. The last inhabitants of the village left in 1974 to move to more modern
houses; the village then gradually became a ghostly ruin. It has now been
rebuilt, complete with a teashop and crafts area. The houses can be
rented out and people can enjoy a holiday near some great surfing
beaches at Dalmore and Dalbeg. It has even been used for a wedding!
Stage 3 again - this is a really interesting bit!
Dun Charlabhaigh is an ancient type of building called a „broch‟ – when
you say it, make it sound like loch!
It is 9m tall and is over 2000 years old! That is even older than your
Mum and Dad!
Experts think that it was probably the ancient equivalent of a very posh
house – a posh Iron Age house that is, with animals living on the ground
floor and some pretty dodgy toilets!
It was probably built to show how wealthy and important the owner was.
It is thought to have been still complete only a few hundred years ago -
until two families had a bit of a row. The Macauley‟s from Uig thought
that the Morisson‟s from Ness had been stealing their cows; the
Morisson‟s thought they were safe until….. one of the Macauley‟s, who
must have been a little bonkers, climbed up the outside and threw in
some burning heather, making the Morisson‟s run for their lives.
The building had wooden floors and a fancy roof that looked like an
upside down ice cream cone!
It is now one of the best buildings of its type left in Scotland and has a
really interesting Visitor Centre that is open during the summer months.
The mysterious Callanish Stone Circle is one of the most famous ancient monuments in the world; it was built around 3000 years ago but no one is
completely sure why!
It is known that the weather in those days was very different to the
Western Isles today. It was much warmer and drier with clearer skies.
This is why many people think that the layout of the stones has
something to do with watching the solar system – the sun, moon and
stars – we will probably never know the exact reason.
It is certain that the people who built it were very clever – just imagine
trying to move the stones without diggers, cranes etc!
In the middle there is a small chamber that was perhaps built to bury a
very important person.
The stones are laid out roughly in the shape of a Celtic cross and this
may have been by accident or design!
The biggest stone is nearly 5m tall!
Visitors from all over the world now come to Lewis to marvel at the skill
of these ancient engineers and to wonder what their purpose was!
There is another excellent Visitor Centre (and Café!) with a really
interesting exhibition area.
Lews Castle is one of the most famous landmarks in Stornoway. It was
built by the Matheson family nearly 150 years ago, who owned the Isle of
Lewis at the time. Lewis was then bought by Lord Leverhume, who had
great plans for developing the whole of the Western Isles, he even
started to build a railway line in Lewis! Lord Leverhume started a
company called Unilever – have a look in your cupboards at home and you will find some of their products – Flora, Persil, PG Tips, Walls Ice Cream etc!
It has been used as a school until recently; there are now plans to find a
use for the building, hopefully for the next 150 years!
Amhuinnsuidhe Castle was built by the Earl of Dunmore in 1868. It is just a few miles off our route, but is well worth seeing. On a clear day
you can see the Soay islands and Taransay. The name Amhuinnsuidhe
(you say it “avin-suey” – have a practice!) means „sitting on the river‟. It is famous for it‟s fishing and also cookery programmes are filmed here
Ionad Spòrs Eilean na Hearadh was opened in October 2004 by Liz McColgan, former World Champion athlete. There is a beautiful
swimming pool, children‟s pool, sauna and gym. The local community
raised ?1.6m to pay for the building! It took 11 years of hard work but
it was well worth it! If you have never been, try and force, sorry, ask a
grown up to take you –it‟s great!
Balranald Nature Reserve is well worth visiting. There are loads of beautiful birds in some fantastic countryside. If you want to see a
Corncrake, this is the place to go. They are very shy – that‟s why we only
managed to get a picture of half a Corncrake! However, they make up
for it by making a huge noise! They are now very rare – some people have
said that they have died out because people were so tired of the noise
they make at night that they would throw their wellies at them! It goes
“crek-crek, crek-crek” – try it but not for three hours at a time like they do sometimes!