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Sucked down by the targets

I SUPPOSE there wouldn't be much point planning a school trip to Corryvreckan. I'd have to pass my MIDAS minibus test first. You get a talk and the written paper immediately afterwards, and if you don't get 80 per cent you can take it away for 28 days and bring it back when you're ready.

Don't do the MIDAS: can't drive the yellow bus.

In any case the bus is a dozen years old and is about to fail its MOT. There is no replacement budget and we couldn't afford to hire.

So we would have to hitchhike: always tough with a trailer of 12 sea kayaks.

Kayaks. We would have to raise funds, borrow a mould and spend 12 weekends building these. No problem. But Health amp; Safety would be down on us like a tonne of bricks. Poking a resin-loaded brush 10ft inside the fume-filled bow of a sea kayak, covering the forearms with chop-strand glass. We could land up suing ourselves for damages.

Then there's Corryvreckan itself. Third biggest whirlpool in the world. As the flood pours up the Sound of Jura and turns sharp left to meet the westerly swell, it hits that submarine pinnacle and sets up a maelstrom of overfalls. So there's the risk assessment: we'd have to find the proforma, and write that up.

Risk: kayaks being sucked to the bottom of the sea. Procedure: leader leaves original of consent forms in depute rector's tray.

But now which year group to take? Can't take S1, because they are doing national tests to confirm their level Fs from primary. Can't take the second year because they are moving up into third year prematurely because they have "made their choices".

Third years obviously can't go because their exams have been pushed back into June: that's them kicking their heels waiting their turn of the hall. Fourth years? Perish the idea, they're on the two-term dash to Higher Still.

Some of the good paddlers in S5 are still mopping up mandatory internal assessments; without which they won't have passed the exam, I think the man said. And half of the sixth will be off in the leisure sector, serving Surf 'n' Turf and Islay Mist to 2002's randomised member of the Staff Escape Committee.

So it looks like we can't go to Corryvreckan, not like we did in 1978. You wouldn't be allowed to go anyway, not without target-setting. You couldn't skive off to the third biggest whirlpool in the world - not without promising to do the second biggest next year.

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