“Blair House is one of those rare magical places with the capacity to transform lives by reconnecting people with nature and landscape. Eleanor’s vision for Blair House is inspiring, exciting and completely selfless. If you can, please support Eleanor in her efforts to breathe new life into Blair House and the spectacular Glen Doll.” Jonathan Hughes, Chief Executive, Scottish Wildlife Trust
“I am delighted to support Eleanor’s vision for redeveloping Blair House. The project will give many the chance to visit and experience this marvellous setting and keeps a long standing association with this beautiful area alive. Best wishes and good luck with your plans.” Marco Longmore, Rector, The Edinburgh Academy
Blair House is a 20-bed field centre in Glen Doll, at the head of Glen Clova, Angus. 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. Blair House, part farm cottage, part Forestry Commission bunkhouse, became the Edinburgh Academy field centre 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.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.
I must exceed the initial crowdfunder target of £5000 to receive any money at all, but I know that there are easly enough people who are excited by the idea of filling Blair House with life and learning once more to raise this and much more.
There are brilliant and unique rewards to say thank you for donations, which reflect the ethos of Blair House: restoring nature, by inspiring people. Eleanor Harris is a historian and environmentalist, and daughter of Edinburgh Academy teacher George Harris. Follow Blair House on Facebook or Visit the Blair House blog for the latest news.
Wildflowers: A special pack of Scotia wildflower seeds in a unique Blair House packet (for 1 sq.m patch) including cornflower, mayweed, yarrow, bedstraw, cranesbill, scabious, campion and more to remind you of the roadsides of Clova. Over the summer you'll have the opportunity to upload photos of your Blair House Meadows to the facebook page to show how we built Blair House from flowers!
Woodland: If you walk north-west from Blair House over Jock's Road you will find yourself in the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest, which once covered Glen Doll itself. Once almost lost, Trees for Life is restoring this rich ancient ecosystem to its former glory. Blair House has its own "grove" in Drundreggan, waiting to be filled with trees. Ecologists agree that the two best things you can do for the future is to educate people about the natural world, and plant trees. By making a donation to Blair House you can do both! You'll receive a personalised certificate to commemorate your tree.
A Book in the Library: Blair House is a superb place for reading and I intend to shelve the upstairs study as a proper library. This is your opportunity to choose the novel or children's book you'd most like visitors to discover, and have it placed in the library with a special book-plate. The only limitations are that books must be in print and under £10 (unless you supply a copy), and I reserve the right to refuse books with extremely unsuitable content.
Sponsor the Refurbishment: For higher rewards you have the opportunity to have your name on a special sponsors' plan which will be displayed in Blair House. These rewards are limited, so catch them quick!
If you are a shy soul and would prefer to plant extra trees (at £25 each) instead of being a named sponsor, please select the £1 pledge which will give you the opportunity to give as much as you wish, then contact me to arrange trees at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an additional reward for all donors I intend to invite you to the opening events, certainly for the day, and hopefully with the chance to stay - with more VIP treatment for more generous donations. But there is much to do before arranging the opening, so I haven't promised anything in the formal rewards.