Cairngorms National Park

View to Braemar

Gathering place opens in Carr-Bridge

15th May 2009

Youngsters in Carrbridge can now get closer to nature throughout the year thanks to nearly £17,000 awarded by the Cairngorms Local Action group and its partners.

The money has funded the construction of the Gathering Place – an attractive wooden shelter in which Carrbridge Primary School pupils can work whatever the weather.

It is hoped the outdoor classroom, which was opened on Friday (May 15), will give students a better appreciation of the Cairngorms National Park and enable them to engage with the Countryside Rangers, Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) outdoor learning initiatives, the RSPB and SNH.

The Gathering Place will also be available for the local community to hold outdoor events such as plays and art exhibitions.

The total cost of the Carrbridge Primary School Parent Council project is £16,884, including £7,734 from the Cairngorms Local Action Group, £7,000 from Awards for All, £1,250 from The Highland Council and £900 from Carrbridge Community Council.

CNPA board member and Highland Councillor Jaci Douglas said: “It’s great to see this initiative come to fruition. Getting kids out into the environment and experiencing things first hand makes the lessons come alive – after all we all learn, and feel, better if we are out doing things for ourselves.

“I think it’s really exciting that here we are within the stunning and beautiful Cairngorms National Park and our children, the future of the Park, have this great opportunity to really engage with their surroundings and feel a real connection to their landscape – this feeling will surely stay with them always.”

JoJo Offord, the school’s head teacher, said: “By taking children outdoors we remove the barriers the traditional classroom can put up between young people and first-hand, real-life experiences.

“Outdoor learning is hands-on and direct and the knowledge that children gain from it is real, first-hand and unforgettable.”

Activities at the Gathering Place will include outdoor learning sessions on topics such as nature & science and improved Eco School activities.

It will also host community plays, art exhibitions and musical events.