Change of scenery for Castle Toward's learning legacy

15th February 2013 at 00:00

The work of a much-loved arts and outdoor learning retreat will live on, after the company which runs it announced the purchase of another education centre.

Actual Reality, a not-for-profit company, has been running the Castle Toward and Ardentinny centres on the Cowal peninsula since the break-up of Strathclyde Regional Council in 1996.

In June it will vacate Castle Toward - an A-listed building which has welcomed around 400,000 pupils over 60 years - as Argyll and Bute Council is selling the property for redevelopment as a holiday resort.

But Actual Reality has bought the Ardentinny Centre for #163;130,000, and hopes to provide similar activities to those enjoyed at its more famous base.

Castle Toward is renowned as a destination for gatherings of young musicians, and Christopher Mason, an Actual Reality director, said there would be "no difficulty" taking school music groups at Ardentinny.

"We shall have enough beds - 139 - for orchestras, but rehearsal and performance space may be a bit of a problem," he said. "We may have to find an innovative solution, such as using a church."

The firm wants to refurbish Ardentinny, and hopes to secure a grant for 40 per cent of the #163;250,000 needed.

"We are tremendously keen to rebuild our music work, and the new building will have appropriate rehearsal and performance spaces," said Dr Mason.

Actual Reality's founder and managing director, Peter Wilson, is confident that Ardentinny will be able to provide outdoor education "for many years to come".

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