Look out, little explorers about!

Young explorers from Rhunahaorine Primary School have embarked on a quest to discover the history of Kintyre's lookout towers.
Young explorers from Rhunahaorine Primary School have embarked on a quest to discover the history of Kintyre's lookout towers.

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Young explorers from Rhunahaorine Primary School have embarked on a quest to discover the history of Kintyre’s lookout towers.

The Courier has received letters from the school’s pupils appealing for help in finding out about a wartime watchtower near their school, and others like it across Kintyre, as they participate in the John Muir Award initiative.

This is an environmental award scheme with three different levels – explorer, conserver and the one in which Rhunahaorine’s pupils are taking part, discovery.

Lochlen Gibbs walking like an explorer with a stick he found on the beach – the school's very own John Muir.
Lochlen Gibbs walking like an explorer with a stick he found on the beach – the school’s very own John Muir.

The children have to explore and discover an area and select a spot to undertake some conservation activities before sharing their experiences. This is a big commitment for the school, requiring 25 hours of ‘on site’ work.

After finding out about Scottish-born American naturalist John Muir, his love for nature and his environmental work, the children mapped along their nearest beach and undertook a beach clean.

Nearby, the pupils discovered a trig point and a lookout or watchtower.

The children are keen to find out more about Kintyre's watchtowers.
The children are keen to find out more about Kintyre’s watchtowers.

They are interested in finding out more about Kintyre’s lookout towers and are appealing to Courier readers with any information or stories to send them letters to: Rhunahaorine Primary School, Tayinloan, Tarbert, PA29 6XG.

Some of the children are also interested in the rocks on the beach beside the lookout tower at Rhunahaorine.

They collected various examples and took turns smashing them in the hope of finding geodes – crystals or other mineral matter – inside. They discovered lots of interesting patterns but no real geodes – this is perhaps a lifelong project for some.

The children are required to discover, explore, conserve and share as they take part in the John Muir Award initiative.
The children are required to discover, explore, conserve and share as they take part in the John Muir Award initiative.

Other pupils are interested in the shells and crabs on the beach. Crabs ‘body parts’ are often collected and it is deemed a good find if a moveable claw or leg can be worked.

During one visit, the youngsters searched for shark egg cases and, after what seemed to be a fruitless hunt, more than 30 were found in one morning when their eyes became accustomed to what they were searching for. Their findings were submitted to the Shark Trust.

The pupils are enjoying exploring the beach near their school.
The pupils are enjoying exploring the beach near their school.

Head teacher Catriona Brown told the Courier she was ‘very impressed’ with the children’s enthusiasm and commitment throughout the project so far.

Mrs Brown hopes to be able to share in the near future if any of the children achieve the award.

The youngsters have cleaned up inside and around the watchtower.
The youngsters have cleaned up inside and around the watchtower.