Moray landowner gifts site to charity for community outdoor adventure hub

Milltown AirfieldA generous landowner has handed over one hundred acres of land and buildings at Milltown Airfield to help a charity construct a centre for outdoor learning.

Located to the south east of Lossiemouth, the ex-MOD Airfield has been returned to the Innes Estate and the owner Mark Tennant and his family has offered to lease the land to charity Outfit Moray for 35 years, at a cost of just £1 per year.

The charity said the move will help it realise its long held ambition of creating a centre for outdoor learning, adventure and nature exploration.

RAF Milltown was originally a World War II airfield and satellite to RAF Lossiemouth which transferred to the Royal Navy becoming HMS Fulmar II in 1946. It remained operational with the Royal Navy for Mirror Deck Landing training until 1972 when it was returned to the RAF, operating as a gliding school until 1977. More recently it was an MOD communications facility with over 50 large antenna on the site until that ceased in 2007.

Outfit Moray propose to move their entire operation to Milltown airfield, and the first phase has already been designed by Andrew Tognarelli, of Kerr AT Architects, and is a visionary design repurposing the existing buildings to house an office; outdoor kit store and drying room; changing facilities; bicycle workshop and shop; and a multi-purpose meeting and training space; as well as a café; and an outdoor climbing wall and bouldering area.

The five kilometre perimeter track also forms a part of Outfit’s lease, and we hope to turn this into a cycle track, giving those less confident or less able to ride a bike the opportunity to cycle without the worry of interacting with other vehicles. There is further scope to develop camping and glamping opportunities on another area of the site, which Outfit hope to achieve in phase two.

Mark Tennant, the owner of the Innes Estate, said: “I really want what we are doing here to be an example of how landowners can work in partnership with community and charitable groups. It is not always about trying to buy land for community use when landowners are happy to make land available for projects that will make such a huge a difference to the lives of others. I am giving what is a significant part of an old airfield for what is, I believe, a unique and well planned project that will benefit large numbers of vulnerable children and young people, not just in Moray but across Scotland. I am absolutely delighted to be able to help make this happen.”

Ian Rideout, CEO of Outfit said: “We have been in discussions with Mark Tennant and the Innes Estate for the last eight months and with funding from Legacy 2014 we have been able to undertake a detailed feasibility study to determine the viability of this project. We are extremely grateful to Mark & his family for giving us the land and buildings at Milltown Airfield to pursue what has been a concept we have been developing for the last ten years. The project at Milltown airfield will not only enable us to develop the charitable and socially enterprising work that we do but most importantly provide us with the facilities to transform the lives of more young people through learning and adventure outdoors.”

The Community Outdoor Learning and Adventure Hub will cost about £2 million to bring to fruition with a target date of January 2017 being set for the completion of the first phase. Outfit Moray is already actively fundraising and is in discussions with a number of potential funders.

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