CLS Annual Report 2015-16

Here is our Annual Report for 2015-2016, a brilliant overview of everything that CLS have achieved over the past year including our new Trustees and Ambassadors, our Education Programme events and many other projects.

CLS Annual Report 2016

Polly Murray & Guy Grieve new CLS Ambassadors



Perthshire based Polly Murray, the first Scottish
woman to ascend Mount Everest and Isle of
Mull based Guy Grieve, owner of the Ethical
Shellfish Company and who spent a year alone
in the wilds of Alaska, join Chris Tiso, CEO of
Scotland’s leading outdoor clothing and
equipment retailer Tiso, as national
ambassadors of Countryside Learning Scotland.
Polly,Guy & Chris offer CLS the benefit of a
formidable track record in outdoor exploration
& adventure and aim to promote the learning
opportunities we provide to Scotland’s young

Chris Tiso named first ambassador of Countryside Learning Scotland

Chris Tiso, CEO of Scotland’s leading outdoor clothing and equipment retailer, Tiso has been named the first national ambassador of Countryside Learning Scotland!

Read the full story here published by Tiso and also featured in today’s issue of The Courier

Chris Tiso, CEO of Tiso

The appointment, confirmed by Ian Robertson, Executive Director of Perthshire-based CLS further underlines Chris Tiso’s renowned commitment to support individuals and organisations that share his passion and active interest in the great outdoors.

Countryside Learning Scotland’s vision is for a viable and sustainable future for Scotland’s countryside. The charity aims to promote an informed understanding of the value of the countryside to lifelong health, quality of life and wellbeing.

Working in partnership with local authorities, teachers, outdoor learning professionals and representatives of diverse rural industries, it gives school-aged pupils, those in higher education and community groups the opportunity to learn about and potentially establish roots in Scotland’s rural economy.  This includes facilitating talks with rural industry professionals such as farmer’s, gamekeepers and foresters to arranging ‘countryside visits’ to working farms, estates and rural businesses.

Chris Tiso, who is also Hon President of Scouts Scotland, commented: “I feel very proud to be asked by Countryside Learning Scotland to be its first ambassador and to help further raise awareness of its work in giving young people hands-on learning, training and employment opportunities in the areas of land-use and rural industry.

“From a very early age I was raised to develop a deep appreciation and strong affinity with the outdoors. I very much look forward to helping CLS engage young people in the tremendous health benefits and life-long work and leisure opportunities offered within the countryside.”

The charity is headed up by Ian Robertson who qualified from Jordanhill College of Physical Education where he studied sport in the community before becoming involved with Scottish Rugby for 12 years as player, coach and development officer.  He then project managed the Scottish National Angling Programme and The Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group followed by four years as wildlife manager at Pitcarmick Estate, before taking on his role as Executive Director of CLS.

Ian Robertson of Countryside Learning Scotland, added. “As the head of Scotland’s leading outdoor retailer, Chris is widely recognised in Scotland’s business and outdoor community. He shares our passion for giving young people every chance to develop their appreciation, knowledge and skills in rural based activities.

“From Ullapool, Rannoch and Dundee, to Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Glasgow, CLS is already engaging almost 1,000 pupils, students and teachers across no less than six local authorities.  As we seek to increase our footprint in Scotland’s great outdoors, I am certain that Chris will prove to be an excellent ambassador for Countryside Learning Scotland.”

Issued on behalf of Tiso by Beeline PR

Countryside Film Competition

CFC Poster-page-001High Schools from across the country have registered their interest and are now busy making their short films before the deadline of 26TH JUNE 2015.The promo for the competition can be viewed on youtube here:

The groups entering films include: school film clubs, Media Studies and Modern Studies groups,  John Muir Award groups, Leadership groups and Faculties from Art and Design and the Humanities.

If you teach pupils between the ages of 14-17 it is NOT too late to enter. The pupils are invited to make a short film (5-7 mins) based on any rural topic. It could be for example about traditional land use, countryside recreation (a hobby), conservation and the environment (wildlife) or renewable energy. It is up to you, the film could have a political message behind it or equally, it could be about mountain biking in the local forest!  There are some fantastic prizes on offer, including for the winning team, a work placement opportunity with the BBC. All films should be entered in dvd format to our address: King James VI Business Park, Friarton Road, Perth PH2 6DG. Good luck!

Glasgow’s All Saints RC Secondary School win our Countryside Short Film Competition


The winners are a group of three pupils from the drama department of All Saint’s RC Secondary School in Glasgow with their film ‘Airplane’.

All the judges agreed that Airplane was the clear winner. The film follows a paper aeroplane out of the school window and through the urban landscape of central Glasgow, taking the viewer on a silent tour of litter that has collected under bridges, at the sides of fields and in rivers. With a very clear message drawing the film together, film producer and judge David Smith said “The film is a really simple idea and communicates something in real depth and gets the message across very successfully. It is shot in a very straightforward way but seems to be very sympathetic to the places. A very worthy winner”. The teacher who supported the winning team Julie Harris explained that ‘the pupils were all really proud of what they had made, they went out at weekends shooting and were a really dedicated group’.

One of our organisation’s key aims is to provide training and career opportunities for young people and we are very hopeful that since the winners consist of a budding writer, director and stage star, they will really enjoy their prize of a work placement with the BBC Landward production team.

The runners-up are a group of pupils from Ullapool High School and the team will all receive a high quality go pro camera kindly donated by Tiso. Their film ‘Forest Film’ was very different from Airplane and sets out to explore the recreational activities available to people in the forests around Ullapool. With a number of interviews with local people, tourists and businesses, the film had a very clear structure and managed to explore a diverse set of outdoor pursuits in less than seven minutes!

We would like to pass on our thanks to all schools that entered the competition and the Nineveh Trust who very kindly funded the project; huge congratulations in particular must go to the pupils and supporting staff of All Saints RC Secondary School and Ullapool High School.


Finest Festive Fir Tree Programme welcomed over 200 children

IMG-20131023-00018Primary school pupils usually spend the run-up to the festive season making presents and learning about the Nativity story – but a farm near Newton Stewart offered a unique outdoor learning experience to find out how their Christmas trees are grown. Garrocher Farm, at Creetown, welcomed nine primary school parties during December, when plantation manager Martin MacKenzie explained to the young visitors all about the parts of a tree, how the trees are grown, and how to recognise the main species – fir, pine and spruce. The farm owned by James Craig Farms Ltd, which is a member of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, last year provided the Christmas tree for 10 Downing Street. It also supplies the Ritz Hotel in London with its tree each year.

Catherine Midgley, of Countryside Learning Scotland, who organised the learning programme, said it turned out to be a very successful pilot scheme. “Countryside Learning Scotland promotes the countryside as a place of employment, and this farm is a good example of that. The children learned an awful lot about how the trees are grown and managed in a range of activities that linked to the curriculum for excellence outcomes. They had a wonderful time and the farm kindly delivered a Christmas tree to each participating school which went down very well with the teachers!”.