June 8, 2021

Tunnel Vision

Andrew, Our Development Officer, has been in touch with West Calder High School who expressed interest in our Outdoor Learning opportunities.  A site visit was arranged & following further discussions the school decided that this would present an ideal opportunity to fit in with their Skilled2Work initiative.  Andrew put together a suitable project that he and the school felt would suit students in the 14 – 18 year range.

This was to build two new tunnel entrances for our 7 1/4” public running track.  This would give the students the opportunity to work on a small civil engineering construction, experience a live construction setting and give them confidence of building ‘hard’ skills.  Working as a team as part of an intergenerational group, the students will learn construction skills whilst taking part in physical activity.

This is not just an exercise. This is a real challenge and the team will be building an important feature for our site.

This is what the tunnel entrance looks like at the moment…….

This is is the planned end result, which should look….

…something like this.

Andrew designed & built the entrance to the bridge in 2019/20.

From West Calder High School came three members of staff (Jack, Stevie and Allan) and 8 students.

The project consists of building a concrete box with and arch at each end of the tunnel.  Five concrete sleepers on top of each other will form the roof end which will be covered with a membrane and earth.  The concrete front wall will then be faced with a stone wall and stone arch.  Later we may fit doors to provide secure storage.

The Programme:

  • Briefing and purpose,
  • Checking of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) , tools, materials, site safety.
  • Photos for beginning and at each stage of construction for evaluation.
  • Removal of vegetation
  • Demolish existing walls by hand and electric tools.
  • Clean up of blocks for reuse and move to storage and debris clean up.
  • Dig out foundations of side and end walls.
  • Measure for wall position. Discuss strength of construction and drainage considerations.
  • Mortar mixing.
  • Concrete block wall construction. Side walls with blocks flat for double strength. End wall single vertical layer with wall ties.   Block cutting, building, maintaining lines and heights.
  • Arch building.
  • Natural stone wall building.
  • Evaluation photos.






And the students verdict on progress so far?  ‘It’s great, the atmosphere at AMEC is friendly & the members are just big kids at heart!’


Andrew hopes to attract interest from other schools in the area as this programme develops.  If you are interested to find out more, why not email Andrew: development@edinburgh-sme.org.uk