Variety of projects seeking funding

The team behind the Aberlemno Bunker Restoration Project.
The team behind the Aberlemno Bunker Restoration Project.

One of the rural projects involved in a unique fundrasing venture with Angus Council has broken through its target, with £5264 pledged.

Eleanor Harris, a historian and environmentalist, was seeking £5000 to help her major refurbishment of Blair House in Glen Doll.

Blair House is a 20-bed field centre at the head of Glen Clova. From it you can explore the Forestry Commission woods, be on top of Driesh by lunch or climb any of a dozen other Cairngorm Munros, watch eagles and red squirrels, or study botany or geology in six SSSIs, including the globally-significant botanical site Corrie Fee.

Part farm cottage, part Forestry Commission bunkhouse, it became the Edinburgh Academy field centre in 1970.

Since then, in wayfaring courses, owl-pellet analysis, rock climbing, mountain navigation, identifying Silene suecica or simply harebells, participating in art, music and creative writing, thousands of children have played and studied there.

Eleanor said: “I was one of those children. When in 2014 Blair House, no longer suitable as a school facility, was up for sale, I decided to buy it and refurbish it. I want to make the magical privilege of staying in Glen Doll available much more widely: to school, university, community, faith and family groups.

“The refurbishment includes meeting fire regulations, installing modern bathrooms and insulation, and eco-friendly ground-source, solar and wood heating. It is expected to cost up to £200,000.

“I aim to open in summer 2015, but to fund the capital cost I need your help! I spent all my capital on the purchase; I have around £20,000 in private loans from Blair House supporters and can expect around £80,000 sustainability loans for heating and insulation work. This leaves around £100,000 to find.”

Also seeking funding is the Aberlemno Bunker Restoration Project set up by 16-year-olds Lachlan Macleod and Ronnie O’Rourke.

Both have a huge interest in the Cold War and have both lived in the village of Aberlemno for most of their lives.

Lachlan explained: “In January, we decided to take on the restoration of the former Royal Observer Corps Nuclear Monitoring Post.

“This is one of 1600 small bunkers situated 15 feet underneath the ground and these bunkers were the front line against the threat from the East of nuclear weapon attack.

“If this had happened, the crew in these post could warn the public in time to save the lives of millions.

“We both felt that the Cold War is very often forgotten about by so many people.

“With your support, we believe that we can carry on our restoration to bring the bunker to its former operating state and show people what really was going on.

“Very few people ever realised that these bunkers were scattered across the country, but we hope that we will be able to turn the bunker into a community visitor attraction and educate the public.

“This will not be possible without your support, as getting hold of the old equipment, buying consumables, advertising and just keeping the post in good, dry condition is a very costly business. We thank you very much for any support or donation to our project!”

The two are hoping to raise £1000.