Schools building bridges in the Western Isles

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Pupils from secondary schools throughout the Western Isles have been competing against each other in a design and bridge building challenge held at Lews Castle College.

The 2013 ‘Bridge Building Challenge’, jointly supported by CITB-Construction Skills, Western Isles Construction Training Group and Lews Castle College, saw 40 second year pupils from Sir E Scott School, Sgoil Lionail, Lionacleit, Sgoil Shiaboist and The Nicolson Institute battle it out building bridges using only wood and glue.

The challenge set was for the pupils to design and build a 1.1m-span wooden bridge which could carry the maximum weight for the minimum cost.

After the pupils used different lengths and sizes of wood and glue guns during the construction process, the bridges were tested to destruction by hanging weights from them to find the overall winner.

The challenge provided an opportunity for the teams of four pupils from each school to gain an insight into practical engineering and construction. Schools were supplied with information on what they had to build before the event and the prior preparation led to some fierce competition on the day.

Prizes were awarded in the following three categories:

Bridge carrying maximum load for minimum cost (overall winner)

Winner: Sgoil Shiaboist (Lewis)

Best designed bridge (originality & creativity)

Winner: Lionacleit (Benbecula) (Pictured)

Best team (co-operation and working together)

Winner: The Nicolson Institute (Stornoway)