Two educators in Scotland are helping outdoor enthusiasts to share their passion for walking and climbing, while reminding people why it is essential to stay at home during the coronavirus lockdown.
Ollie Bray, a former secondary head and now global programmes director at the LEGO Foundation, and Lorna Kerr, marketing and events lead for digital learning and teaching at Education Scotland, have been "overwhelmed" by the response – including from schools – since they launched "Give COVID the Boot" at the end of last week.
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Ms Kerr said: "The idea is a simple one, but a powerful one. Basically, we are asking people to get into virtual adventure teams – for example, their hillwalking group, an old university climbing club, a mountain rescue team, it doesn’t matter. Then we ask everyone to record a short clip of one adventurer throwing a hiking boot, ski boot, shoe, trainer, whatever, to the next. Someone then edits the footage together into one sequence and then adds the hashtag #GiveCOVIDtheBoot."
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She said she and Mr Bray had been "overwhelmed" by the response in the past few days, including contributions from Scottish Mountain Rescue, Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, and Dorset Search and Rescue. Schools such as Nairn Academy, Culloden Academy and Kingussie High have also taken part.
I am very proud to share this video of the Nairn Academy ASN department showing their love for the #GiveCOVIDtheBoot campaign! TOP EFFORT! We now challenge the @NairnAc_HT Senior Management Team to #GetInvolved Will they rise to the challenge? @olliebray @HighlandCouncil pic.twitter.com/VJTHVJNHPS— Kirstin Grant (@_Kirstin_Grant) April 12, 2020
In an update today, the fifth day of the project, it emerged that there have been more than 100,000 views of Give COVID the Boot videos.
There has also been a supportive message from Scotland's education secretary and deputy first minister, John Swinney, who tweeted: "This is an absolutely fantastic, warm, funny and encouraging initiative containing good advice. Well done to all."
🥾🦠GiveCOVIDtheBoot🥾🦠— Tweed Valley MRT (@TweedValleyMRT) April 12, 2020
Challenge accepted from @OchilMRT. The #giveCOVIDtheboot challenge encourages folks to stay home, stay safe and protect each other, our key workers, emergency services and our volunteers. The hills will be there for another day!https://t.co/MwHLsgpSlm pic.twitter.com/r8zSUaEumq
Mr Bray, who was a headteacher at Kingussie High in the Highlands before joining the LEGO Foundation, said: "Social distancing is more about geographical distancing. In the time of Covid-19, being social is more important than ever before – after all, being social is what makes us human. Lorna and I hope that the #GiveCOVIDtheBoot campaign will bring people together, trigger some adventure memories that will lead to a few smiles and remind us that we can still be together, while staying at home."
He wrote: “The Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team video was incredibly creative. It had great messages about staying at home and we also loved seeing all the rescue team families involved! It also has a drone, a toy helicopter, a dog with the face mask, the surprise dip in a paddling pool and final woof from one of the search and rescue dogs!"