Project participants

Project Participants

The loch sits on the Altyre Estate and is owned by Sir Alastair Gordon Cumming. Sir Alastair has been hugely supportive of the project development and has agreed to provide a rent-free lease of the loch and associated buildings. The Estate is also providing support in terms of man power for some of the restoration works and for the development of an educational facility at the loch.

The Finderne Community Council (FCC) is the elected community body for the local authority administration area of Moray to the south of Forres. Having been formed in 2015, after over a decade of no community council being in place, the members of the FCC were keen to see some local community development projects established. Loch of Blairs was identified as a potential project that could create some local volunteer interest.

Initially the concept was to find a group of volunteers, anglers, that wanted to get involved with clearing the loch of the various plant infestations and re-establish a trout fishery. Presentations were put on by members of the FCC and a group of 12 individuals from the local community signed up to support the project. This is an informal group, referred to as “Friends of Blairs Loch” who are working with the FCC to clear the access from the old boat house at the loch to the main body of water.

However, as work commenced it became clear that the buildings adjacent to the boat house (an office/bothy, a cart room and a 2-stall stable) had the potential for restoration and redevelopment into some form of educational field study facility. Contact was made with representatives of Forres Academy and the Associated School Group (the 8 Primary schools which feed the secondary school) and the concept of a field study laboratory and field study classroom was developed. As the project progresses it is hoped that there will be involvement by staff and pupils at the schools, along with associated Parent Councils, which will be powerful in creating the community ownership of the amenity.

The participants listed above have been critical in getting this ambitious project initiated, but successful delivery of that ambition will need further partners. The aim is to create an enthusiastic partnership of local development groups, voluntary organisations and community associations to work together with funding agencies in delivering a fantastic community asset for the whole of the Forres area, not just Finderne. We, the Finderne Community Council, are pleased to offer our support.

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