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June Newsletter: it’s a Bute!


Jam-packed with cooking and field activities, Root Camp is taking our 6-day field-to-table courses to the beautiful Isle of Bute for the first time. These will run during the October half term…

9th – 14th October – with chef, Christopher Trotter
16th – 21st October – with chef, Sumayya Usmani


The Mount Stuart Estate on the Isle of Bute will be our home this October half term. The island is just 90 minutes from Glasgow with undulating hills, exquisite gardens, wild areas and the promise of the sea everywhere. The Bute beaches are alive with colour and movement – seaweeds and shellfish, porous rocks and, looking out to sea, you can spot seals and otters.

We will cook in the kitchen of the magnificent Mount Stuart house and will eat in the large Victorian dining room and the outside courtyard.

Iain McKeller, will take us foraging for seaweed on the beach.  Iain is the Google no.1 supplier of seaweed. He will  share our foraging sessions with Morven Gregor who will show us how to make a fire on the beach and to make salt.  We will wander in the woods and collect berries, wild herbs and, hopefully, Chanterelle mushrooms.
We will work in the Mount Stuart kitchen garden with Don Murray (previously Head Horticulturalist, Eden Project) and his team.  We will plan for winter crops; prepare the soil; and harvest autumn produce for our meals. Our comfortable tents will be pitched in the glorious meadow within the walled garden.Fishing
Jimmy Poole manages Loch Fad and will teach us various methods of casting from both land and boats.  He will also show how to gut and fillet our catch and then we will take it to the barbecue and/or to Jessica and Gordon’s smokery.   They run craft workshops on the estate, and will teach us to carve spurtles*, and to smoke salt and nuts.
*traditional Scottish porridge spoons
Wild Meat
Billy Shields, the Isle of Bute Countryside Ranger, will run the wild meat sessions.  He will talk about different trapping methods, and teach us to skin and prepare rabbits for the pot.And rounding things up…
In addition, we will cook inside and outside, tell stories by the fire, and watch foodie films – if we are not too tired.

Root Camp will run:

9th – 14th October – with chef, Christopher Trotter
16th – 21st October – with chef, Sumayya Usmani

Price is £775 (five nights and six days)

16 Bursary places are available and a teacher (or equivalent) should support these applications.

Don’t miss out! Book now for a place!

Bute Family Charitable Trust
Bute Island is at an exciting point in its evolution – plugging the flow of its diminishing population, welcoming the small influx of Syrian refugees and igniting a period of regeneration – including the refurbishment of the 1930’s Pavilion, which will be a multi-purpose cultural space.  There are plans for a 6* spa hotel as well as multiple new arts and community projects on the island.  Foodie programmes like Root Camp are part of Mount Stuart’s energetic determination to rejuvenate and bring together the farmers, producers and artisan food makers of the island, making Bute ever more attractive to visitors.