REP MSc Rural Land and Business Management students on field trip in Scotland

15 June 2015

REP MSc Rural Land and Business Management students on field trip in Scotland

Real Estate & Planning's MSc Rural Land and Business Management students enjoyed another superb fieldtrip in the Highlands of Scotland last week.

Real Estate & Planning's MSc Rural Land and Business Management students enjoyed another superb fieldtrip in the Highlands of Scotland last week. Staying in the Cairngorms National Park, the students visited local estates, businesses, reserves and visitor attractions. The MSc RLBM fieldtrip, which has been referred to by previous students as “Victoria’s Bootcamp” is sometimes a test of endurance as well as skill: the days start with 7.30am ‘board meetings’ to discuss the previous days’ visits and end with the students cooking supper for the group and any guests.

This year, the first day was a fitness test as well as orientation. Students started the week on Cairngorm Mountain, with a presentation from Dougie Somerville of Natural Retreats about management of the mountain, and then meeting Will Boyd-Wallis, Head of Land Management and Conservation at the Cairngorms National Park Authority. Will talked to the students about land use in the National Park and walked the students up to Ryvoan Bothy on the RSPB’s Abernethy Estate, where he passed them over to Ross Watson, who talked to them about the RSPB’s management on the long walk to Forest Lodge and on to the Osprey Reserve at Loch Garten. From the ospreys the students moved on to reindeer, joining Tilly Smith on an evening walk to the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, the only free ranging herd in Britain. The fifteen or so miles the students had walked by the end of the day justified a fish and chip supper at Reindeer House afterwards.

Tuesday was spent at the very diversified Alvie Estate, where the Laird, Jamie Williamson, and Alvie’s Factor, David Kinnear, explained the forestry, renewables, tourism, farming and game operations, then joined students for a BBQ afterwards. Alvie hosts us every year and it is always a delight to catch up with the Estate’s latest plans.

A new addition to the fieldtrip this year was a visit to Cawdor Castle to learn about managing an internationally renowned visitor attraction from CEO Ian Whittaker. Also new was the concept of giving the students an afternoon off to enjoy outdoor pursuits in the Strathspey valley – a perk taken up by the programme director, Dr Victoria Edwards and visiting academic Dr Victoria Myers, who cycled to Loch an Eilein and then cooled down in Loch Morlich on the way back.

Thursday, which was organised by CKD Galbraith, saw the students visit Ardverikie and Corrour Estates. Amongst the beautiful scenery of ‘Glen Bogle’ house and loch (from popular BBC television series Monarch of the Glen), managing agent Rob Whitson explained Ardverikie’s hydro-electric production to the group and some recent forestry developments. At Corrour, Philip Dean explained the conservation management embarked upon and the vision for the sustainable future of the Estate.

Board Meetings concluded on Friday, with the last of the students making their presentations in time to allow an hour’s swimming at Loch Morlich under the snow-capped mountains, before flying home to torrential rain in the south. Who said that Scotland has bad weather?!

To see photos of the trip go to our Facebook page.

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