Outdoor education forms a significant part of the co-curricular programme at Merchiston and boys are encouraged to participate at every opportunity. From a simple introduction in the Juniors, there is progression towards more challenging and demanding activities as the boys enter the Sixth Form. Every boy in the Senior School has to attempt the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award with the opportunity to progress to Silver or Gold as he moves up through the School.
Other outdoor activities are accessible through weekly clubs, Sunday trips or more extended excursions during the school holidays.
Merchiston is ideally situated to take advantage of the surrounding countryside. We have easy access to the Pentland Hills and the Water of Leith for mountain biking and low level walking, and we are only a short drive from the Lammermuir Hills, Glentress and the Borders. The Edinburgh International Climbing Arena is a 15 minute drive away and we have access to two outdoor crags within 45 minutes. There is a swimming pool on site with a fleet of pool kayaks as well as an on-site orienteering course. Sailing activities take place on the nearby Firth of Forth, whilst hill walking/winter trips see us cross the bridge and head up to the Highlands.
Rock Climbing: Climbing is a popular activity with the boys, and easy access to the indoor facility at Ratho helps tremendously. Climbing is run as a weekly activity on Tuesday afternoons or as a series of Sunday trips. In the Summer Term, there is opportunity to climb at Traprain Law, Aberdour or North Berwick Law.
Mountain Biking: Mountain biking is a popular activity with many of our junior boys and there are usually weekly rides into Colinton Dell and the surrounding Pentland Hills. Sunday outings will often include a trip to the justifiably famous Glentress near Peebles with its excellent selection of graded trails and skills courses.
Hill Walking: Most Merchiston boys’ hill walking experience is through D of E expeditions or in-House Hill Walks. Winter walks have also been organized.
Canoeing: This is a popular activity, and destinations have included the River Tummell and the River Tweed.
Sailing: Available in the Summer Term. Follow the link to the sailing section of the website for details.
Many of the above activities are provided by qualified full time members of the School staff. In some cases, we contract out to relevant AALS licensed providers.