Sir Michael and Lady Sally Nairn, owners of Pitcarmick Estate in Perth and Kinross invited a group of children from the local school to come along and learn all about estate management. With the support of Countryside Learning Scotland (CLS) Sir Michael led a group of around 30 children (dressed in full waterproofs and wellies) and their teachers around the different areas of Pitcarmick where they gained an insight into some of the types of work involved in running an estate and met some of the employees.
First stop was the livestock; a meeting with the stockman and an introduction to different breeds of cattle followed by a sheep dog demonstration. This was followed by Sir Michael showing the children some examples of hedge and tree planting and the damage that rabbits can do to young saplings led to a discussion on fencing. They visited the pinetum, a fabulous woodland full of different species that Sir Michael and his family have developed over the decades. As part of the learning on river management, the group watched a tree being felled and had a safety talk about the clothing worn and machinery used.
After a quick break on the lawn, they looked at various different traps and had a chat about pest control and then met the gardener where everyone had the opportunity to plant a sunflower and take it back to school with them. The final part of the walk ended at the sawmill where the boys in particular were fascinated by the machinery. Half way through the day, Sir Michael had everyone lying in silence for 10 minutes on the grass listening to wildlife, no mean feat for a group of 30 seven year olds!
The school were full of praise for the visit, one member of staff saying: “It exceeded my expectations, very impressed. It worked because you kept the children moving to different areas which kept them occupied and visually stimulated. Also having different people speaking and demonstrating held their attention. There were lots of opportunities to ask questions and the children thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”