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Arnol Blackhouse junior guides scheme launched

1 May 2013

Pupils from Sgoil an Taobh Siar stepped back in time at Arnol Blackhouse this week.

The pupils were launching a Junior Guides scheme for the popular visitor attraction which is run by Historic Scotland.

The scheme involves pupils in period costume taking on the role of characters from the past and offering tours of the blackhouse to other school pupils during term time.

The current tour covers the 1950’s,  when some of the older community were still living in blackhouses. Pupils are given the chance to find out more about living and working at the blackhouse through the eyes of their Junior Guides. The tours also incorporate a number of Gaelic phrases and words.

Barvas school had previously taken part in the scheme, prior to its merger with Airdhantuim school to form Sgoil an Taobh Siar. The new scheme will see more pupils being able to take part in the initiative and helping to tell the story of the blackhouse and the area’s past to young visitors.

A special preview of the tours was also organised for invited guests by the school at the launch.

Alice Macleod, Headteacher  at  Sgoil an Taobh Siar said;

“We are delighted to be launching the Junior Guides scheme here today.

“The pupils have been working very hard to learn their lines and getting really immersed in their characters and have been really enthusiastic about taking on the role of Junior Guides.

“Blackhouses are a hugely important and unique part of our heritage so its fantastic that the children are getting the opportunity to tell this story to the next generation.”  

The Junior Guides scheme is an established part of Historic Scotland’s national schools programme which provides young people with an exciting opportunity to become actively involved with their local historic site and also supports schools in delivering the Curriculum for Excellence.

Mairi Morrison, Local Learning Officer for Historic Scotland said:

“It’s fantastic to be here today to take part in these inaugural tours by Sgoil a Taobh Siar.

“The scheme is a great way for children to embrace their local history as well as helping to develop confidence and transferable life skills.”

For Information

About the Junior Guides Scheme:

  • The junior guides programme has been running for a number of years at a variety of Historic Scotland properties including Linlithgow Palace, Claypotts Castle, Doune Castle, Craigmillar Castle, Stanley Mills and Iona Abbey

  • Closely linked to many aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence it is designed to increase pupil’s understanding and appreciation of their local heritage, as well as helping them to build confidence and develop transferable life skills.

  • Full details about Historic Scotland’s schools programme and free educational resources can be found at

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • 2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland, inspiring our people and our visitors to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty, landscapes and biodiversity as Scotland prepares to welcome the world in 2014 and beyond. Find out more about Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty at

Historic Scotland around the web:

                                                      Year of Natural Scotland logo linking to

For further information

Iona Matheson
Media & PR Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8703 or 07827 956 858