Island wide initiative celebrates health and well being week

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Pupils from all of Arran’s schools have been involved in a large number of educational events and activities as part of health and well being week.

Focusing on both physical and metal health the initiative involved an outdoor day at Dymill, an outdoor cooking day, a football game on Lamlash Green, a walk up to the Roots of Arran community land, a cycle to Brodick, a summit ascent of Goatfell and a beach clean in Lamlash among many others.

The highlight for many came on Wednesday when all the island’s P5/6/7 and S1 to S3 pupils took part in a Farm to Fork initiative which, with the assistance of the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET), involved over 13 exhibitors – local and from further afield – hosting demonstrations and activities aimed at teaching children about where their food comes from and the benefits of healthy eating.

Depute head teacher Quinton Black speaking at the Farm to Fork event at Lamlash Primary school said: ‘ This initiative serves not only to educate pupils about making educated and informed choices about food but it also demonstrates some of the many career options that are available to school leavers without having to leave the island.’

Island food producers who hosted exhibits included farmer David Henderson of Kilpatrick Farm who introduced the children to some of his sheep and explained the process of farming while answering any other questions that the children had about food, farming, sheep, cattle and raising livestock.

Children were also invited to climb into the huge tractor that was parked in the school property while indoors children sampled bread from the Blackwater Bakehouse and cheese from the Arran Cheese Shop, all while learning all about how the products are made. Children also learned about beekeeping and sampled honey and could try on a beekeepers suit from the Arran Bee Group.

Local Butcher David McKinnon of the Arran Butcher attracted a huge amount of interest from children with an exhibit of a lamb carcass which he later portioned in a demonstration for the older children. Younger children, that wished to, were allowed to feel and touch the skinned lamb with gloves on their hands while David answered any questions about meat, butchering and healthy eating.

Equally popular were the Arran Distillery exhibit – where children had to opportunity to try the product prior to the fermentation process where alcohol is produced – and the exhibit of Robin’s Herbs where children eagerly enjoyed tasting and identifying the herb samples.

Two interesting and informative exhibits were those of RHET representatives Elaine Bryson and Christine Cuthbertson who taught the children about milling wheat and arable farming. Elaine taught the children about the concepts of food miles, sustainability and healthy eating while promoting farming and countryside practices.

Elaine said: ‘ The Royal Highland Education Trust works with children and volunteers to provide free educational activities and experiential learning opportunities linked to the Curriculum for Excellence.

‘People have lost the connection between food and farms and we are delighted to be visiting Arran again to rebuild that connection. The children have been very receptive to learning more about farming, particularly during our recent farm visits, and they are better able to make choices about the food that they eat to be able to make better life choices.’

Faculty leader for hospitality, technical and health and well being, Lucy Urquhart-Dixon, said: ‘Thank you to Elaine of RHET and all of the exhibitors for helping to make this possible. With the assistance of the many teachers and exhibitors who have been involved we have helped to inspire the children to provide them with the knowledge and skills and coping mechanisms required to develop into well rounded, confident individuals.’

Pupils line up to see the sheep brought to the school by David Henderson of Kilpatrick Farm. 01_B20farm01

Pupils are allowed to climb into the Massey Ferguson tractor to see what it would be like to operate the machine. 01_B20farm02

George Grassie of Blackwater Bakehouse gives each pupil a taste of the bread that is produced in his bakery at Blackwaterfoot. 01_B20farm03

A hands-on experience, young boys experiment with the barley used in producing whisky. 01_B20farm04

Douglas Coulter, tour guide at Lochranza Distillery, shares a laugh with three young girls asking about the distillation process. 01_B20farm05

Ayrshire and Arran project coordinator for RHET, Elaine Bryson, watches on as pupils assemble plastic food items. 01_B20farm06

Primary pupils handle the meat provided by the Arran Butcher. 01_B20farm07

Pupils try on a beekeepers suit with Arran beekeeper Margo McLellan. 01_B20farm08

Butcher David McKinnon shows the pupils the various cuts of meat and explains the butchering process. 01_B20farm09

Robin Gray asks pupils to identify the taste of the various herbs he has given them to sample. 01_B20farm10

A popular choice, Arran Cheese Shop supplies had to be constantly replenished. 01_B20farm11

Pupils sample the fruits of their labour at the outdoor cooking day. No_B20farm12

Out in the sunshine, pupils enjoy a football game on Lamlash Green. No_B20farm13