Outdoor Activities

We consider ourselves a hardy bunch here at Glenalmond so it's not surprising that the popularity of our Outdoor Activities programme has grown considerably in recent years

There are many activities to choose from with all of them offering skills that will never be forgotten by pupils.

Our Outdoor Activities Co-ordinator manages the range of activities available to all year groups, making the most of our outdoor classroom in Cairnies Woods, at the edge of the campus, and the outstanding natural facilities within easy travelling distance of Glenalmond.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Scotland is an amazing place in so many ways but if you are into paddling or just want to give it a try there are many opportunities here at Coll to do just that. Trips are run throughout the year paddling a variety of different stretches of water from gentle lochs to white water rivers.

On Tuesday and Thursday half-day afternoons we use Loch Freuchie, Loch Tay and various sections on the River Tay. Canoeing or open boating (Native American style) is used with junior pupils to promote team work and general paddling skills, whilst our swimming pool is used extensively to enable pupils to develop confidence with harder kayak strokes and learning how to do that ever famous Eskimo roll. National "star tests" to mark and celebrate proficiency in paddling are taken and we have an OG who left last year having gone from a complete novice to a BCU UKCC L2 Coach during his time here - an ideal qualification to use during gap years.

The College has a wide selection of well looked after and serviced equipment including trailers to transport canoes and kayaks, a dedicated drying room for wet kit and a variety of kayaks for either the complete beginner or play boater.

Canoes have also been used successfully for Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions recently at Silver and Gold levels.


Climbing activities are run throughout the year as part of the College games programme on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Both boys and girls have the opportunity to participate on these afternoons as part of their rolling outdoor activities programme.

We have a mixed ability group that goes out, from pupils who just enjoy simple climbs to those who are happy to do lead climbing and push their grades.

There are many venues at our disposal from the outdoor college climbing wall, local crags like Benny Beg at Crieff which was first used by Glenalmond pupils in Sept 1974 or Craigie Barns in Dunkeld, to the indoor walls in Dundee and Edinburgh.

Late in the Michaelmas or early in the Lent terms we run ice climbing on local waterfalls close to the college providing a) the right conditions exist and b) we can get there!

Climbing is a great sport that every pupil can enjoy whatever their ability.

Rock and Water Activities

This is any activity that combines both rock and water skills i.e. coasteering, canyoning and gorge walking. The latter two we run here at Glenalmond. Having worked as a gorge walking and canyon guide in and around Aberfeldy for the past 8 years, there are a few gorges and canyons that I almost know better than the back of my hand.

We use a gorge known as 'Glassie' where in recent years Second, Third and Fourth Formers have scrambled up. There are lots of mini waterfalls, trees to climb over / go under, short scramble sections and plenty of opportunities for that inevitable water fight.

For canyoning we go to Keltyburn which is a canyon that is easily accessible from any point making it an ideal location for all abilities. The jumps start at 1ft and go as high 40ft although we limit it to 25ft for pupils. There is plenty to do on the way down, from enjoying the natural jacuzzi pool, to taking the climbing sideways challenge or just simply enjoying the fresh spring water. This is run as an activity for those pupils who sign up for outdoor activities on Tuesday / Thursday afternoons and weekends during the Trinity term.


Learning to read and interpret maps is an important life skill. We have two permanent courses on site with more planned. Orienteering is taught from Junior Entry upwards and competitions are run through the third form programme on Monday afternoons. The CCF uses orienteering to improve cadets' navigation ability. Pupils have entered orienteering competitions both locally and further afield.