Sun and hail for an early Scottish summer

It couldn’t have been a better start to the term: the boarders (94 of them this term; 42 in the Girls’ House and 52 in the Boys’ – absolute capacity) returned at lunchtime on Sunday 15th in beautiful sunshine and, having dispensed with their parents, enjoyed an afternoon of games and competitions. The outdoor pool was open for Water Polo – a new sport at Belhaven, organised and coached by one of the two Scotland internationals on the staff – and this was followed by the first of many barbecues of the Summer.
The following afternoon, another gloriously sunny day, I walked out onto the games fields to see the whole school out there together playing cricket, rounders, tennis and athletics – a perfect prep school scene. Thankfully the weather continued throughout the week and into the weekend, when we had the first cricket fixtures of the season against Ardvreck; the match reports have a new home on the Parent Portal.

After the first Sunday service of term and the story of Ling and the Emperor, the boarders entertained themselves with further games of cricket – self-policed and played in just the right spirit – and an afternoon on the beach. The day ended with another barbecue for all.
This week we had the whole school photograph (again, in the sunshine), we have been visited by the son of William Caldwell (headmaster of Belhaven Hill from 1945 to 1974), and there have been further cricket fixtures against Fettes, tennis against Fettes, and the first rounders fixtures against Fettes, Loretto and Cargilfield, all played while dodging the hail storms – how fickle the weather can be!
The children are all off this weekend for a well-earned break but when we return, the term will really start to gather pace: there is a lecture on journalism and working for the BBC for the seniors on Monday; the NSPCC are here doing workshops with the children on Tuesday – it is also ‘Dress as your favourite film character’ day to raise money for the NSPCC; on Wednesday there are cricket matches against Loretto and rounders at Kilgraston; on Thursday there is the Prep Schools clay pigeon championships at Strathallan; on Friday, Form 2 are off to Hadrian’s Wall, on Saturday we have the Inside Out morning for next year’s entry and others, followed by the PTFA race night and, on Sunday, the first of our academic scholars will be delivering his sermon at the ‘In’ Service.
All the while the Form 1s continue to prepare studiously for Common Entrance, now just 5 weeks away, although they have Mental Maths and French Listening to negotiate beforehand, the sun continues to shine (no jokes about Summer in Scotland being on a Thursday this year, please) and with 134 children in the school, rising to 136 in June, I think we’re in for a cracker!
That is all.

Henry Knight, 27/04/2018