Retreat benefits from donation

Bob Myles greets the shooting party at the Retreat, which raised a five figure sum for the community hub
Bob Myles greets the shooting party at the Retreat, which raised a five figure sum for the community hub

Three sporting estates in Angus have helped keep a vital rural community hub alive, thanks to a five-figure donation.

Invermark, Millden and Gannochy estates have brokered an ‘altruistic arrangement’ with Glenesk Retreat and Folk Museum, which sees the estates meet the Retreat’s trading shortfall, helping to keep the community resource going.

The Retreat, originally the brainchild of a local school headteacher, Greta Michie MBE in the 1950s, was purchased by the local community in 2005 through a mix of fundraising and private and public sources including Community Land Fund.

However, its remote location means it cannot attract the level of additional footfall required to generate profit. Thankfully a donation of £20,000 from local estates, helped by letting rental from a driven grouse shoot means the venue will continue in 2016, following the winter close-down.

Angus Councillor and Chair of Glenesk Trust, Bob Myles, said: “These donations help keep the Retreat viable. The Retreat and museum is a great attraction in a rural community but it needs money to keep it going. Without estates contributing towards it, I think this facility would close. We need to keep people and life in the area. This donation also shows the amount of money brought in by sporting estates in these places. If we didn’t have that coming in, these communities would find it very difficult.”

Richard Cooke, from Dalhousie Estates and Secretary of Glenesk Trust, said: “The contribution this year shows continuing support from the sporting estates in the area for what is a really important venture. It is not only a focus for the community, it also provides employment in the summer months.”

The estates involved are members of the Angus Glens Moorland Group, whcih highlights the role estates play in community life. Co-Ordinator of the Moorland Group, Lianne MacLennan said: “We recently held a Community Open Day at the Retreat for families and kids, many of whom are children of the gamekeepers or staff who live and work in the glens. It is a great venue and it is important the estates here continue to support it.”