NEARLY 800 children are learning about living and working in the countryside as part of the “Estates that Educate” programme.
Primary and secondary school pupils in the Angus Glens, Grampian, the Southern Uplands, Speyside, Strathdearn, and Tayside are receiving five consecutive weeks of moorland education.
Topics covered include deer management, cooking game, renewable energy, and working ponies.
Estates taking part in the programme include Dunecht, Dalhousie, Glenogil, Gannochy, Lochan and Logiealmond.
Lianne MacLennan, national coordinator of Scotland’s regional moorland groups, said: “The ‘Estates That Educate’ programme stemmed from the need to develop pathways to rural work.
“In many areas of Scotland, young people leaving school feel they need to move to Edinburgh or Glasgow for work, and this is a real threat to rural Scotland”
She added: “We want to ensure that rural communities survive and reverse the trend of rural depopulation.
“There are jobs in rural areas, but young people often aren’t aware of them.
“This is a programme of hands-on taster sessions that children wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to experience.”
Colin Lanyon, head keeper at Gannochy Estate, said: “We are really pleased to see more and more young people coming every year to find out about the uplands and their local estates.
“For many, it’s the first time that they have ever tasted venison or grouse and the chance to cook it and to learn about how deer and grouse are managed is a new experience and one that they will remember.
“Once they start to appreciate all the elements of managing an estate it enables them to connect with not just potential jobs but also the balance between upland farming and moorland conservation.”
Catch-up on more countryside news on Scottish Field’s outdoors pages.
Plus, read Michael Wigan’s fishing column in the July issue of Scottish Field magazine.