Lerwick Primary Schools Thank Swan Crew

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5 July 2022

The crew of the Swan, LK243, have received excellent feedback from the teachers and pupils of the Bells Brae and Sound Primary Schools. Primary seven pupils from both schools came aboard over 5 days in May for half day sailing trips, learning about life aboard, how to set sails, tie knots, steer the ship and the history of the Swan.

While the trips were short, each group of pupils fully engaged, which enabled everyone to get hands on with operating the vessel. Swan Skipper, Maggie Adamson, said: “All the pupils did really well, and showed real interest in what they were doing – it was a pleasure to have them aboard, and their enthusiasm was great.”

This enthusiasm was reflected in feedback from the teachers and pupils.

Primary 7 teachers from Sound School stated: ‘The Swan trip was fantastic. The bairns were able to learn new skills. Most had never been on a sailing boat before and were really enthusiastic about going again. It even made some think about a career at sea! The crew were really knowledgeable and got the bairns involved with everything. They gave ample opportunity for the bairns to ask questions and taught them lots.

Maggie was a great captain and teacher to the classes allowing them to put up the sails, knot ties, tie off learning the 'OXO' moto and to steer the Swan. It was fantastic to see so many pupils overcome fears such as climbing down ladders and being at sea. All pupils were elated after the experience and have many positive memories.’

While those from Bells Brae school said: ‘A huge thank you again for having our P7 classes on board the Swan. The bairns and adults loved the experience and many are hoping to get back aboard in their own time. Please pass on our thanks to Maggie and her crew. They were extremely good with the pupils and we really enjoyed their company. Hopefully this trip will be something we can continue with in the years to come.’

Pupil feedback came in the form of thank you letters and pictures, which Maggie and the Trust were really delighted to receive. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with the pupils remembering many of the things they learned whilst aboard, and highlights including steering the ship, working the sails and lines, learning how to tie knots, and trying out the bunks below deck! Nearly all pupils stated they would like to go on a trip again, with the majority keen to stay aboard for overnight sailing, and one even stating that they would like to take part in the Tall Ships Races!

Some of the Trust’s favourite comments included:

‘It will be one of the best memories of my life. My biggest highlight was sailing a 120 year old boat at the age of 11’

‘I would have loved to spend a whole 24 hours on the Swan. I hope I get the opportunity to go on the Swan for Tall Ships’

‘I got to steer the boat. It was very different to a smaller sailing boat, which I am used to.’

‘I would like to stay on the Swan instead of doing work at school’

‘I’ve never been on a sailing boat before and got to learn new words used on boats. We were lucky to see dolphins! I would like to go on the Swan again soon!’

‘I think the best highlight was checking out the cabin. It looked so much smaller from outside. It was like a Tardis.’

‘I learned that sailing on the Swan is hard work, and it takes a lot of people to do it.’

‘One of the funny things was when you told me, Bo and Sandy to pick up the bow sprit, but after a couple of seconds we realised it’s impossible with three people. After a minute everyone pulled a rope and the bow sprit easily went forward.’

‘I would have liked to stay for a week to see what it is like living on a 100 year old boat.’

‘I have never been sailing before. I enjoyed it so much more than expected and hope to go on the Swan again!’

‘When I was steering the boat I felt like I was Captain Blackbeard!’

‘My favourite bit was either steering the boat or being in the beds - I can’t believe that three of us could fit in there!’

‘It was the most brilliant thing in the world. I had so much fun and I loved it. I hope I can go on it again.’

‘Keep on giving children tours – thank you for an amazing day!’

‘I really enjoyed the Swan, it was the most fun I've had on a school trip.’

‘I have been on lots of ships before but never got to learn how to sail it.’

The Swan Trust relies on a range of funding to cover its core costs and deliver sail training opportunities. These school trips were supported with funding from Zetland Educational Trust, demonstrating the educational benefit of a trip on the Swan for Shetland’s school pupils.

Peter Campbell, Swan Trust Trustee, said: “We were delighted to receive this fantastic feedback from the school staff and pupils. With youth sail training at the heart of the trust, the enthusiasm shown by the pupils was particularly heartening and we thank them for taking the time to write their letters and draw such wonderful pictures. We would like to wish the pupils all the best for moving onto high school and look forward to welcoming them aboard again in the future.

We would also like to thank Zetland Educational Trust, and all our funders, for their support, without which we could not continue to offer these opportunities to our community.”

Find out more about the Swan Trust's youth sail training work here.

If you would like to help support Swan follow these links to donate or volunteer with the Trust.

For details of trips available to book check out our upcoming trips


Want to get involved in maintaining and operating a traditional wooden sailing vessel? There are a number of different ways you can volunteer to safeguard, care for and sail this unique heritage asset.

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