Venture Trust, National Museums Scotland and young carers groups in Glasgow have joined forces to enable 12 young people with caring responsibilities to explore changing land use triggered by Scotland’s silent revolution, the Lowland Clearances, since the 1700s.
During the 18th century, Scotland’s traditional system of agriculture changed radically. But as farming methods were modernised and small portions of land consolidated, many cottars and tenant farmers were forced to leave their homes, displaced to the industrialised cities of Glasgow or Edinburgh or seeking new opportunities overseas.
The group’s research in to the Lowland Clearances has already begun, with a visit to the National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride.
Here’s what they had to say about their visit:
“I had never heard of the Lowland Clearances before but now I have an idea what happened and why it was so bad.”
“The staff were very knowledgeable and told us all about the Clearances.”
“I found out that some people moved to America and Canada.”
Now they are about to embark on an epic journey through remote rural landscapes in Southern Scotland, walking, camping and living in these environments.
The group will travel down to Wiston Lodge in Galloway Forest Park and finish their preparations for the expedition. The following day they will travel on to Loch Trool, where they will track the shores, taking in sites of historical interest as they go, before camping on Saturday night and Sunday night. Weather permitting, the group will summit Benyellary where the entire area will be visible and the extent of the enclosures will be apparent.
The project takes a unique and dynamic approach to engaging young people in experiencing heritage ‘up close and personal’ encouraging them to live, breathe and experience the environment first-hand, learning new personal and technical skills ranging from map reading and personal care in the wilderness to action planning and decision making.
Venture Trust is a charity that supports young people and those from chaotic and disadvantaged backgrounds, and helps them to make a successful transition to adulthood. Many of those we work with have been in care, are homeless, or are dealing with issues such as abuse or addiction. Our programmes give these young people the opportunity to develop new skills and capabilities – by taking them out into the Scottish Highlands away from the influences, stresses and behaviours of their usual environment. The activities they take part in inspire, encourage and support participants to re-evaluate their lives, develop new skills, and return home armed with increased self awareness, self confidence and the life-skills to make their ambitions reality. Long-term community support helps participants to apply their new skills to make and sustain real changes in their lives.