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From gun to plate — Children given insight into glens life

Children from Cortachy Primary School on the hill at Glen Prosen Estate, learning how to beat a drive.
Children from Cortachy Primary School on the hill at Glen Prosen Estate, learning how to beat a drive.

A group of Angus youngsters turned grouse beaters for a day as they followed the fascinating journey of local game from hilltop to dinner plate.

The event for youngsters from Cortachy primary was the culmination of three trips to Glen Prosen estate for the pupils, who have been discovering how foods such as grouse, rabbit, lamb and venison are produced.

Glen Prosen Estate manager Bruce Cooper on Shankhill of Dreish.
Glen Prosen Estate manager Bruce Cooper on Shankhill of Dreish.

Thanks to the gamekeeping staff, the youngsters have observed the life cycle of iconic moorland species such as red grouse and curlew, at different stages of the year over the heather moor.

In Tuesday’s finale the children participated in a mock grouse drive before visiting the game larder and then tasting the produce for themselves.

DNic_Gun_To_Plate_Glen_Prosen

Chefs from local firm Sinclair’s Catering Ltd were on hand to cook grouse, venison and rabbit for the children, straight from the hills they had earlier walked over.

Glen Prosen estate head gamekeeper Bruce Cooper, a member of Angus Glens Moorland Group, said: “It has been great having the children here, watching them connect with nature and letting them see, first hand, the management that produces the food on the table.

The pupils looking at one of the grouse.
The pupils looking at one of the grouse.

“In May, they saw the variety of wildlife on the moor, the wading birds were displaying and flying around. Then in the early summer, they saw some of the chicks and learned why the chicks need protection from the things that eat them, in order to survive.

“On their final visit they have learned about how the game is harvested, which is really important.

Bruce Cooper showing one of the deer hanging before going to the game dealer.
Bruce Cooper showing one of the deer hanging before going to the game dealer.

“It is very easy to lose the connection between food and how it gets to the plate. Even for adults, it is so much easier now to grab something quickly from a supermarket.”

A 2013 survey highlighted the need for greater education about the origins of food, with almost a third of kids questioned believing cheese came from plants.

Bruce Cooper and Jordan Sinclair of Sinclair Catering with two pupils and the finished product, a barbecued grouse.
Bruce Cooper and Jordan Sinclair of Sinclair Catering with two pupils and the finished product, a barbecued grouse.

Cortachy primary head teacher Lynn Shellard said the initiative had been an enriching experience for the youngsters.

“Glen Prosen Estate has provided excellent opportunities for our pupils to develop their skills for learning, life and work in motivating contexts for learning.

“The superb estate staff have provided well-planned and engaging opportunities for our learners to develop their knowledge and understanding of the local environment and an awareness of the world of work.”

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