At the end of May, GM6/7 from Sandbank Primary (Bunsgoil Thaigh a’Chladaich) travelled to Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute to participate in some ancient technology courtesy of Gordon and Jessica at Bute Heritage Woodwatch.
We had a brilliant day in the woods learning about how our ancestors lived throughout history. Sitting inside the Bronze age roundhouse we imagined life long ago and saw how they made hooks, needles, whistles, arrowheads etc from natural materials such as bones and antlers.
Moving forward in history we saw a viking longhouse that is in the process of being built and we learned that each village had to supply a certain amount of woven cloth to make sails for the boats plus a cloak and blanket for each warrior who crewed the ship. We had a go at plying rope, saw how to make nets for fishermen and examined some baskets that were used as fish traps.
There are lots of little shelters around the technology area where people can turn wood on a pole lathe, drill stones to make weights for looms or nets, weave, spin, make ropes out of different plants and smelt charcoal. Examples of ogham script were laid out so that we could learn which tree our initials belonged to (so we could touch our own wood for good luck). Jessica told us about some of the culinary and medicinal uses for plants that were growing round the site. All of the pupils were intrigued by the coracles – so we are going to have to return to learn how to paddle them!
We didn’t have time to do that on this trip but we did manage to build our own mini-rafts and sail them down the burn before lunch around the campfire (finishing off with toasted marshmallows). Our last task before returning home was to try lighting a fire with the firestarter tool, which was more difficult than it looked. However, perseverance paid off and two of the P7 girls were successful.