The “Scottish Islands Peaks Race” is for teams of hill runners and sailors over a long weekend around the beautiful West Coast of Scotland. The sailing course of 160 nautical miles includes the strong tides and overfalls of the Corryvreckan and the Mull of Kintyre whilst the runners cover 60 miles and 11,500 ft of climbing.
The Windermere team, made up of four sixth form students Jack Dixon, Pierce Harris, Joshua Bellis and Michel Carrillo, completed the course in little over 58 hours just two hours behind the overall winners, 12th in a field of 39 including adult competitors sailing catamarans and 2nd overall in the youth class. Three of the adult team entries did not finish and the final team were a further 15 hours behind the Windermere School youth team.
The team worked in shifts on the boat to steer through fast and still waters of the course and in pairs to complete the four runs in the course. School Sports Captain, Michel Carrillo, completing three of the four runs which included two 20 mile, 3,000 ft runs within 24 hours and with less than 5 hours sleep. In periods of still waters the team propelled the boat using two oars made from two six meter, aluminium scaffold poles.
The Schools entry was organised and facilitated by Mr Reedy, teacher of Adventure at Windermere School, who has also completed the event personally on five previous occasions, winning his class in 2018. Matt completed every peak race and coached the students to complete this super human effort.
Boat Skipper Euan Scott who provided the yacht “Kittiwake” for the race and who has sailed in 20 previous attempts of the event commented, “this race and their team are right up there with my top most memorable and enjoyable; the team spirit was fantastic and as an experienced sailor I found that the students were so proficient that I did not need to watch their every move and in fact I learnt a lot about racing strategy from them. Their ability to read the weather, water and wind direction meant that even though we had by design one of the slowest vessels we competed right to the end”
Windermere School, based in the heart of the Lake District specialises in Adventure Learning, creating memorable experiences that make learning fun and unforgettable. The students don’t rely on Google earth to view an Ox Bow lake or Glacier formation, they go and see it first hand with weekly field trips supported by a team of outdoor adventure specialists who equip the students to be skilled and safe in the natural environment.
School Governor and parent, Jo Harris, said after the event that “as a school we know that kids learn more about themselves and each other from the outdoors than they ever will in a classroom. I asked my son Pierce what his best moment was and he stated quite a few (unable to choose), but the one that stuck in my mind was the playing Red Hot Chilli Peppers on board while he rowed for three hours through still waters whilst approaching the Island of Arran and how it made him feel contented, elated and happy. A small matter, but these things remain with you for life”.
For further information on the Scottish Islands Peaks Race visit: https://www.scottishislandspeaksrace.com/about/
The first time my daughter and I visited the school she said to me “that is a happy school no question.” The scholastic achievements of the school are evident and an easy measure for a school to demonstrate. What is hard to quantify is the holistic development of a pupil at which, in my experience, Windermere School excels.
Windermere School is such a unique community to be a part of. Not only is it based in a truly beautiful and inspiring national park, but the environment created by staff and students alike makes for an incredibly supportive, proactive, exciting and international place of learning in which everyone can thrive and be the best they can be.