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Case Studies > Countryside Learning in Cowal

Artaraig Estate, Loch Striven


Case Study Countryside Learning in Cowal Artaraig Estate, Loch Striven www.helpingithappen.co.uk
Case Study Countryside Learning in Cowal For a couple of chilly days in April, Ardtaraig Estate on the Cowal Peninsula, in collaboration with the education charity Countryside Learning Scotland, invited four local primary schools for a day of countryside learning. This learning event demonstrates just how estates across the country are using their resources to help to educate young people and develop positive local community relationships.

Dressed in full waterproofs and full of enthusiasm the children arrived at 10am and were invited into the barn where they watched a slide show explaining the brief history of the estate. The children learned about the change in land use, about Ardtaraig’s gradual change from sheep farming to forestry, about the wildlife that is found in the forests and finally about the deer. There were plenty of questions from the children and then it was outside for a short walk through the woodland where they learned how to recognise Ash and Beech and age trees by counting the growth rings.

The younger children went for a shore walk and spent their time with Nicola Simpson (Managing Trustee of Ardtaraig) identifying shells and rocky shore wildlife which caused great excitement as they also saw lambs and pheasants on the way!

The second part of the day linked what the children had learned about the deer at Ardtaraig with the Balagowan Larder, a local venison business. The aim was to show the journey of the meat from carcass to burger. The children rotated around a series of different activities led by Winston Churchill, the owner of the business, and his two butchers. The group came face to face with two carcasses and were told about its value, how it was shot and the importance of it being hung. They then moved on to see the skinned carcasses, they watched a butchery demonstration and all got the opportunity to pack the meat and put it through the vacuum packer. The children then visited the deep freeze and used the burger making machine to produce plenty of burgers for everyone. Finally, Winston and his wife kindly cooked them and all the children enjoyed a fresh venison burger for lunch, a large number of whom queued up for seconds! Head Teacher at Toward and Innellan Primaries Cathleen Russell said afterwards that the children had a really good time and found the visit to Ardtaraig and Winston Churchill's venison larder very informative.

Countryside Learning Scotland would like to say thank you to Nicola Simpson and Winston Churchill for their support throughout the two days and also to the staff and children from Innellan, Tighnabruaich, Toward and Strachur Primary Schools, all of whom gained a huge amount from the experience.
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