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Friends of Blair Loch granted £20,000 by Berry Burn Community Fund towards field study classroom

By Garry McCartney

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Work continues on the boathouse at Blairs Loch just outside Forres.
Work continues on the boathouse at Blairs Loch just outside Forres.

A COMMUNITY refurbishment project has been given a financial boost by natural energy.

Friends of Blairs Loch will use £20,000 from the Berry Burn Community Fund towards extending and re-developing the stable building at Loch of Blairs into a field study classroom with toilet facilities and a meeting room.

Treasurer Brian Higgs confirmed the grant is part of a £100,000 project to build an outdoor learning classroom next to the refurbished boat house building at the natural beauty spot.

He said: "The stable classroom (new build on the site of the existing derelict stable) and bothy will be available for pupils on field studies trips. The bothy for small groups, perhaps from Forres Academy, and the larger stable classroom capable of taking full primary school classes of 30 plus.

"Both venues will also be available for other community groups such as senior citizen clubs looking for a tranquil venue, art groups, photography groups, Scouts etc ... anyone that wants use of a lochside room next to a beautiful wood!"

Friends of Blairs Loch were granted £30,000 towards the project from the Scottish Landfill Community Fund and are working on raising the remaining required £50,000 through further grant applications and fund raising.

Mr Higgs said: "We have completed refurbishment of The Bothy - for groups of up to 18 - but the final electricity connection by SSE was cancelled last week, we assume due to the COVID-19 crisis. We had hoped to have the full outdoor learning venue available in the autumn but everything is now very much up in the air."

The Friends have also been restoring the loch for fishing. They hoped to have it stocked with a working boat house by the summer.

"The timetable is now totally dependent upon what happens with the COVID-19 lockdown," admitted Mr Higgs. "All work has stopped as per the government’s social distancing instructions."

For more information visit website www.blairsloch.com

The refurbished bothy next to the boathouse.
The refurbished bothy next to the boathouse.

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