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Many people enjoyed the sunshine, activities and great home baking at the Lochaber Rural Education Trust open day on Saturday.
The trust has been operating at An Clachan just outside Fort William for the last 14 years and in that time has welcomed thousands of schoolchildren and adults through its doors to experience the country lifestyle of not too far in the distant past.
However, the idea of having an ‘outdoor classroom’ stemmed from a visit to the croft of Isabel and Ewan Campbell over 40 years ago, when primary two pupils from Banavie school took up an invite to see the animals and learn a bit about crofting life.
This became a regular feature, extending to many other schools with lambing time in May proving to one of the most popular months.
From this beginning, Isabel’s vision came to fruition when the Trust was formed as a charity in 2001.
Four years of very hard work and fund raising later the present building, located just off the main access road to Nevis Range, was begun, completed and opened.
The original aim of the Trust was to provide facilities which do not exist elsewhere in Lochaber, for the benefit of people of all ages and abilities.
This has been exceeded many times over, not only in keeping traditional skills alive, but also inspiring children and adults with their infectious enthusiasm on the subject.
Thanks to donations and the dedicated hard work of its volunteers, the Trust still manages to fulfil it aims, but financial assistance is always welcome to cover ongoing costs such as rent and power.
The work of the Trust revolves around it activities, involving even the youngest students from nursery to primary, secondary pupils and adults in everything from historical talks to butter making, baking, planting seeds to harvesting, cooking and serving the results of their labours.
Traditional country crafts also feature strongly, alongside guided walks around the picturesque paths amongst spectacular scenery and, of course, meeting the animals.
Home made cakes by the trayload were offered to visitors at the Lochaber Rural Enterprise Trust open day. Picture Iain Ferguson, alba.photos
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