A group of volunteers have put in more than 400 hours of their own time with the long-term plan to build a rural educational centre near Forres.
The local beauty spot at Loch of Blairs three miles south of Forres, has been out of use as a fishery for many years, but when Finderne Community Council started looking for a project to get their teeth into. the overgrown loch and boat shed seems an ideal choice.
Six months later, the Friends of Blairs Loch has been cleared of reeds, trees and rhododendrons and the full extent of the site’s potential is now visible.
Brian Higgs, a member of the group, said, “When we first came to the site, everything was so overgrown, but when we started to cut back the weeds, trees, rhododendrons and reeds in the water, we saw that the boathouse had the potential to be restored.
“It’s taken 400 man hours to get to this stage, but we now have a vision that the buildings can be renovated to create an educational centre for primary and secondary students.
Rural facility on our doorstep
He pointed out that children have to travel to the Aigas Field Centre nearly Beauly where there is an established field study centre, for this type of experience, and to have this on their doorstep will be a great advantage.
“We got some initial funding from Money for Moray and that helped us to get started, and we have to repair the roof before the winter.
“When the time is right, we’ll make an application to the big funding organisations for money to renovate the buildings completely, as well as landscaping the area in front of the building.”
Attacking the vegetation branch by branch, tree trunk by tree trunk, the group are winning the war on nature’s grasp at the beauty spot which has taken place over some 15 years, but the group are rapidly making progress on what will not only be revived as a local beauty spot, but also an important education centre for local youngsters.