The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Shieling gets new bothies
Project teaches young about traditional tending of livestock
Six modern bothies have been built at an outdoor education centre and campsite to teach young people about Highland heritage.
The innovative Shieling project south of Dunmaglass at Struy, near Beauly, will be used by up to 30 youngsters and three teachers at a time, to encourage learning about local traditions and skills.
“We’re inspired by the shieling where kids took cattle up the hill”
The project is inspired by the former practice where children would help take livestock up the hill to “the shieling”, camping there in small bothies and discovering a world beyond the village.
Project founder and leader Sam Harrison said: “We are so excited about our new bothies.
“So far the project has cost £163,000 and we will be taking our first visitors next week.
“This is a shieling-inspired sus- tainable camp and we’ve been around for a couple of years, but having these new bothies brings it on a stage further.”
He added: “The kids have helped with the designs. It’s exciting times. It will be an education centre and a simple campsite.
“The point is that we’re inspired by the shieling, where kids used to take the cattle up on the hill and camp there.
“We offer week-long trips for schools and summer camps. We have people coming from as far away as Aberdeenshire and the Western Isles, but it tends to be Invernessshire.”
Youngsters help milk cows and look after pigs, as well as learning other skills.
Mr Harrison said: “They come and help us to look after the animals, learn to cook and make blankets, and they learn about the Gaelic heritage of the shieling.”
The campsite will be easy to dismantle or reconfigure in case the project seeks to move location, and it aims to provide a camping experience while remaining safe and secure.