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Kindrogan Field Centre

Kindrogan Field Centre occupies an early 19th-century house located in Strathardle (Perth and Kinross) a half-mile (0.8 km) west of Enochdhu, 2½ miles (4 km) northwest of Kirkmichael and 7 miles (11 km) northeast of Pitlochry. The white harled house features crow-stepped gables and has a three-sided courtyard behind. It was converted into a field centre in 1963 for the Scottish Field Studies Association (SFSA), and now serves as a base for fieldwork programmes for schools and universities, adult education courses, conferences and natural history excursions. In 1972, a classroom extension was opened by Hector Monro (1922 - 2006), who was then Under Secretary of State for Health and Education at the Scottish Office. In 1995, the centre was again significantly extended with the conversion of the adjacent steading to provide further bedrooms and teaching rooms, at a cost of around £500,000 raised under the stewardship of Professor J. Terry Coppock of the University of Edinburgh, after whom the new block is named. The new facilities were opened by HRH Princess Anne. Since 2002, Kindrogan has been run by the Shrewsbury-based Field Studies Council and ownership was gifted to them in 2010. The centre now has the residential capacity for 115 tutors and students, together with five classrooms and an eclectic library.

Kindrogan House was once at the centre of a sizeable estate which was the property of the Small family, passing through marriage to the Keirs and then the Balfours. Their graves lie in a small cemetery behind, on Kindrogan Hill. The estate was sold to the Forestry Commission in 1960 and the hill was planted with trees, while the house briefly served as a hotel before being sold to the SFSA.

Queen Victoria rested nearby on the banks of the River Ardle on the 1st October 1866 and the spot is marked by a plaque.

Lord Cockburn became a regular guest of the Small Keirs and wrote in his Circuit Journeys (1888), describing his first visit in 1838:

Kindrogan, which I never saw before, is a very nice little Highland place. A sensible house, picturesque rocks, good hills, and an excellent stream. We were most kindly treated, and very happy.

Several fine specimen trees, associated with the former estate, remain including giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), oak and yew, together with limes lining the east and west drives. A cutting from the Fortingall Yew - the oldest tree in Europe - was planted next to the house by noted botanist and broadcaster Professor David Bellamy in 2002.

Kindrogan is also notable for holding the British record for the amount of snow lying on Christmas Day - 47 cm (1 foot 6½ inches) in 1981.


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