We waited with bated breath for the decision. Getting planning permission in the Cairngorm National Park can be a delicate matter, so when the news that our application for a new ‘snow sports base’ adjacent to the artificial ski slope at Lagganlia was approved the cheering could be heard all the way down the A9 to Edinburgh.
The spirit of the late George Boyd Anderson must have soared that day. Due to a chance encounter, while skiing in Switzerland, Boyd decided the children of Edinburgh must also experience at first hand the joy of this sport. First, he built the dry ski slope at Hillend, Edinburgh in 1965 and then purchased and gifted land in the Scottish Highlands to the citizens of Edinburgh so that our pupils could experience learning on the ‘real stuff’.
Today Lagganlia Outdoor Centre stands proud as a highly regarded Outdoor Learning venue; delivering inspirational adventure experiences in a stunning rural location. Lagganlia was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in June 1970, Boyd Anderson’s signature is the first name in the Visitors’ Book and one lodge is named after him in recognition of his role in establishing such a valuable facility.
‘A fitting tribute to Boyd Anderson’s legacy’
The ‘Snow sports base’ will provide an all-year-round facility to engage the young people of Edinburgh and the local community; promoting opportunity and developing talent. The development has been designed to create a purpose-built resource, comprising a size able flexible student area and teaching space, state of the art equipment store, viewing deck and modern changing facilities. The building will be at the foot of the impressive dry ski slope, providing direct access and improved accessibility for participants with additional needs.
The chance for children to experience what it is like to stand at the top of a mountain and look across a frozen landscape before sliding to the bottom with a level of control.
The new Convenor for Education, Children and Families Councillor Ian Perry commented, ‘The new base will build on the heritage of the Lagganlia Outdoor Centre, it will be a fitting tribute to Boyd Anderson’s legacy.’
One Head Teacher that can vouch for the impact of the development is Alasdair Friend. Alasdair was previously Head Teacher at Leith Primary School and recently took over at Towerbank. He has a successful history of snow sports residentials and is inspiring his new school to embark on their first ski residential to Lagganlia in 2018 with fifty-six pupils attending.
As Alasdair states, ‘I have always been convinced of the benefits of taking children to learn and challenge themselves in the outdoors, especially when the skies are blue and the sun is warm. The Scottish hills in winter, however, offer just as many opportunities for schools. The chance for children to experience what it is like to stand at the top of a mountain and look across a frozen landscape before sliding to the bottom with a level of control. Snow sports require a level of physical independence, determination and can provide a true sense of achievement, joy and wonder. Lagganlia has outstanding instructors that provide caring and challenging learning experiences for the children and who can adapt to the potential winter weather variations. The whole experience is always exceptionally well planned, and they can deliver snow sports to all children regardless of their prior ability or needs. Like Boyd Anderson, I am passionate that all children should have the right and opportunity to try snow sports in our spectacular country’.
The development is currently being submitted to Highland Council for building warrant.