Jean Langhorne


22 Mar ‘ 23

How I came to be involved in the Shieling Project

From our longest serving director

From our longest serving director

I first met Sam in October 2009, on a 3-day canoeing and camping trip to Suilven in Assynt. This was run by Speygrian Educational Trust, as one of their creative journeys in nature:

A year later, I took part in one of Sam’s Open Ground, place-based education courses in Glen Strae in Argyll. At that time, I was doing an Eco-psychology course at the Centre for Human Ecology, so we shared an interest in a similar body of literature and had lots to discuss on the subject of participative experiences of place and ways to develop a deeper connection to our natural and cultural heritage in Scotland.

In 2013, when Sam came up with the brilliant idea of The Shieling Project, I was one of 3 other founding Directors who were invited to come on board and set up the Community Interest Company, in order to develop the Project. The following year, we managed to find the perfect site on the Struy estate, and then we began running events and teacher training courses there, usually just with a tepee for shelter and an open fire, on which to make tea!  We had lots of help with these early events from some brilliant and resourceful people, including Emma Planterose-Magenta, volunteers from Velocity Café in Inverness, local musicians and community members. 

In the last 9 years, as the work of the Project has grown and developed and the site has changed out of all recognition, I have continued to be involved as one of the Directors on the Board, as well as continuing to help out at events and sometimes during summer courses.  I feel very privileged to still be involved in this unique and influential project and to be working with a brilliant team of co-directors from a variety of professional backgrounds.  I have found that the Project attracts a wide range of talented, committed and holistic-minded people, so it always feels very inspiring and stimulating to meet and work with them. I love coming to the Shieling Project site at Struy and I feel very lucky and proud to be part of it all.

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