Criomagan à Sgoil Mhicneacail – Nicolson Notes

Author visit

Recently, we were lucky to be able to host a visit from poet Ryan Van Winkle in the school library. Mr Van Winkle carried out a series of poetry workshops with S2-4 classes.

Edwin Morgan’s poem ‘Offcourse’ was the basis of the workshops, and the pupils used this to form their own pieces of writing based on the experience of being lost. Places in which pupils admitted to having being lost ranged from Tunisia to the Castle Grounds, with the supermarket and Glasgow being the most popular.

Also discussed were ‘Mangurstadh’ by John Glenday and ’10 Things to do With a Cloud’ by Moniza Alvi, and it was in response to the latter that pupils composed the following poem about what they would do if a unicorn turned up in their English class:

Kill it with cuddles till it lays eggs

Skin it and wear it to a party

Hug it until I die

Rip the horn off and use it for ice-cream – mint choc chip!

Charge kids their lunch money to ride it


Study leave starts on May 5 and runs until May 29. Pupils will return to school on June 1. This applies to all pupils who have SQA exams. More detailed information is available on the school website.


The Achievement Assemblies for the second term have now been held. The photo shows pupils from S3 with their certificates. These assemblies are held every term to celebrate pupils’ wider achievements, not just academic progress.


The S1/S2 Girls Netball Sports Festival Tournament took place after school on Tuesday, March 24, in the Sports Centre. There was a fantastic turnout, with over 50 girls participating.

Eight teams entered the competition and played a two hour tournament which resulted in the yellow-black and yellow-white teams reaching the final.

The yellow-black team were the tournament winners and were awarded medals for their success.

Mrs Mackenzie and Mrs Rogers would like to congratulate the girls on their commitment and enthusiasm towards the club over the past few months. Netball Club will resume in August.


Pupils from the Rural Skills class participated in the Young Crofters 20:20 conference at Glen Canisp Lodge in Assynt. Here they joined other schools from Lionacleit, Mallaig, Lochinver, Kinlochbervie and Whalsay in Shetland.

The aim of the conference was to address the question “What do we want crofting to look like in 2020 and beyond?” Joining the discussion were Susan Walker (convener of The Crofters’ Commission), Fiona Mandeville (chair, The Scottish Crofting Foundation) and Dave Thompson (MSP).

The group participated in workshops and discussion groups where the pupils met with Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Crofting Commission, the Scottish Crofting Federation, some older experienced crofters and some new aspiring young crofters.

During a questions and answer session after his presentation, MSP Dave Thompson addressed some of the issues facing crofting in the 21st century.

He took note of the youth voice and will communicate the views of the conference to the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Thompson encouraged crofting groups to lobby parliament at every instance to have their voice heard.

During the three-day conference pupils were given the opportunity to visit local crofts in Achmelvich Assynt, where they saw sheep being milked, kale being produced under small-scale cultivation and tasted honey from beehives.

They also met with some young student helpers (woofers) on the crofts as they travelled to improve their English.

On the final evening a ceilidh was hosted by Margaret Bennett, the renowned singer and writer, along with an array of young musicians.


The S1 boys lost 5-3 against Inverurie in the semi-final of the North of Scotland Cup.

Their exemplary behaviour was, however, praised in an email to the rector by a member of the public who came across them on their journey.