Barony Campus 2013-14 Student Newsletters

by Barony Student Newsletter Group (2013 - 2014)

February 2014, Issue 10.

Welcome to the Award Winning SRUC Barony Campus Student Newsletter.

SRUC LogoWelcome to our February/March 2014 newsletter page. We wanted to share what we have been up to at Barony, which includes an article from a former forestry student, Introduction to engineering work experience, fundraising events from NC Animal and more.

You can click on the thumbnail images within the image galleries to view larger images. Text highlighted as green within the articles are hyperlinks to websites, which open in new windows. You can also place feedback (using the Place feedback link) and rate our newsletter at the bottom of the newsletter page.

You can view last year's student newsletters by click here

Our next student newsletter release will be on the 30th of April.

On Wednesday 18th March we hosted and planned a tea party that had an Easter theme. We planned it all our selves but asked Alison for ideas and to take us shopping for things.

We spent a lot of time baking for our tea party; we baked Fruit loaf, cheese scones, fruit Scones, Butterfly buns, Krispy nests, Meringues. We invited a lot of people that have helped us at the Barony. Everyone was impressed with the way we set the table out with the flowers and napkins even the cakes look spring and colourful.

It was employability assessment.  When we had reviewed the plan and the tea party we were delighted that we all passed

The visitors where very impressed and very surprised that we made meringues in the microwave. Brain took the recipe to try them at home. Christine took a doggy bag for colleagues and they loved them.    Gillian took some cakes for her mums supper.

Shereen  -  I thought it was an amazing day   I was really proud when Leesa and Samantha from HNC animal care said that the buns were far better than they have ever cooked

Bethany -  I enjoyed baking, making microwave meringues.   I was surprised that when I put little balls of mixture into the microwave for a minute and a half they puffed up into meringues.

Dana -  I really liked baking cakes,  I made the Krispie nests on my own.  Eating them was great too.  I liked having a cup of tea and chatting to Leesa and Samantha.

Ruaridh - I liked having a coffee with  Brian and Gillian  and rest of the group we all had good chat.  I liked talking to everyone about what we had made for the tea party. It was a really good day.  We all enjoyed it.

By: New Directions Students

Engineering Banner

Liam Stewart

I went on my work experience at Hamilton brothers in Bishopton, outside of Glasgow. I started at 8.00am and finished at 4.30pm every day from the 3rd of February and finished on the 14th. I really enjoyed my 2 weeks there. I did many different jobs around the workshop and some out of it as well. I would go back for an apprenticeship if the opportunity came up.


Ben Hyslop

The two weeks work experience I went to James Gordon’s at Heathhall.  In the two weeks there was a good mix of work from jobs in the work shop to jobs out on the farms. It was a good work experience the work that was carried out had to be to the best of the ability.

At the work experience I was mostly working with Stuart Leslie. The most jobs I done on my two weeks work experience were clutches which are very good to test how good you are at remembering where everything goes. Overall all I enjoyed my work experience and would hope to move on to get an apprenticeship later in my life.


Gavin Alexander

I went on a work experience placement at Ramsay and Jackson Ltd started on the 3rd of   February to the to the 14th of   February.  On my work experience I was driving machines and the manager was giving me jobs to do around the workshop fitting hydraulic valves to quickie loader and doing PDI checks on the tractors and telehandlers and building quad bikes up.

The manager, Billy Ramsay, said that I was to give him a phone after my course to see if I can get an apprenticeship.


Johnanthon Hill

On my work experience I went to Hamilton bros in Tarbolton. During my week it was a enjoyable and important experience and I did learn a lot of important knowledge such as servicing of modern machinery.

I worked from 8.00am to 4.30pm five days a week I was mainly in the workshop but did go out to a couple a jobs such as a construction site in Glasgow were I done most of the servicing on two diggers.

I also carried out servicing jobs on Massey Ferguson tractors and helped with splitting a Kubota tractor and replacing the wet clutch.


Keiran Warrick

I did my work experience at RC Dalgleish, Lockerbie.  I started at 8 in the morning and finished at 5 in the evening. 

I was mainly out of the workshop doing jobs on mostly local farms.  When I was in the workshop the jobs where never the same, after college I would like to peruse a job at my work placement.

 Click here for a students Work Experience Mahara evidence collection.

By: Introduction to Land-Based Engineering


Having decided on a career in land management while at school I decided to leave following GCSEs and spend a year working with the land agency department of one of the country’s largest firms. This gave me an excellent grounding in the industry, and also opened up a previously unconsidered sector to me. Forestry is one of the UK’s fastest growing industries, and an important part of the rural make up the country – both as a land use and an industry.

Realising that further study was the only way to progress; I looked at colleges and courses in England for some time before the Barony was recommended to me as the only place that taught “proper” commercial forestry in the UK. Studying forestry in the most forested area of the country also seemed to make a good deal of sense, and so I enrolled on the two year BTEC Forestry course in 2010.

The course was designed to teach practical forestry skills in the first year, with a specialism of either arboriculture, mechanisation (machine operation) or forest management in the second year. The first year was a steep learning curve, and by the end of it I had no problem finding subcontracting work as a hand cutter and ground worker until continuing my studies in the second year, as a slightly richer and more experienced student!

The Barony’s small course size allows for a level of instruction that really brings the best out of students, with enough competition between the lads to maximise enthusiasm; and a closeness of instruction to best put across the information and experience of the lecturing team. This was especially useful when learning more complex subjects such as timber mensuration (measurement) in the second year, where near one-to-one lessons made sure the material was fully understood.

Equipped with a knowledge of forest management superior to many land agents, I had no problem finding a local job as a assistant forest and land manager with a very reputable firm. It was while working in this role I learnt the true value of the practical experience gained from the Barony, without which planning and overseeing operations would have been considerably more difficult. I began to develop my passion for writing while working in the woods, it giving me a subject to level my pen at, and I started writing a blog, which at the time of writing has had over 15,000 visitors. This lead to various commissions to write articles for rural publications, as well as public speaking opportunities to voice my opinion on rural matters, something I probably enjoy too much for my own good.

As well as freelance work I am also studying a Bsc(Hons) in Rural Property Management, with a view to continuing to work in land management on completion, hopefully with some a forestry specialism. The understanding of forestry given to me by the Barony has proved imperative to both my further studies and work, and given my time again I would not hesitate to return, strong in the mind set that what you reap is what you sow.

Have a look at my blog: 

By: Sam Thomson (BTEC Forestry 2010 - 2012)

Robert Muir (HNC Agriculture student) was lucky enough to represent his country in his chosen sport. That chosen sport would be tug-of-war. You may think that tug-of-war is just something that is pulled at BBQ’s and fun gatherings, made up of heavy people. As an amateur sport it couldn’t be any different!

Tug of war is competed in weight limits for an 8 person team. Tug of war is all about technique and hanging on to the rope longer than your opponent’s.  Training started back in mid-September and unfortunately the diet started the next day, training twice a week with the team using a pulley system and weights, and every other night would involve a 3mile run!

Many weekends were had with teams of Tinto, Ayrshire, B.R.C (Edinburgh), Kinnef and East Kilbride competing in club competitions leading up to the Scottish nationals in December where Robert  assisted his team Tinto to have a good day and coming home with medals in various weights

After The Scottish Nationals training steeped up even more preparing for the UK championships in January where the teams from Scotland took on the rest of the British isles. Robert helped his club Tinto to a silver medal in the 680kg weight limit

Robert was also chosen to represent Scotland in the 600kg weight limit pulling along-side world champion pullers, pulling against England, Ireland and Wales. Scotland entered two teams in the 600kg weight and a lot to uphold as Scotland are world champions at this weight.

Scotland had very good UK championships coming home with medals in all weight limits and both Ayrshire and Tinto coming home with medals in the club competition.

This year the world Championships were held over in Ireland where Scotland and its clubs went over to defend their world title. Ayrshire pitted themselves against 14 other clubs from all over the world and came out on top with gold medal. Following that Scotland not only defended there world title, they achieved 3 out of a possible 4 world gold medals

So if you fancy becoming a world class puller, male or female come along and give it a try, information can be found on or you can ask Robert or Doug Goldie (Engineering instructor) for more information.

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Creative Commons license

February/March 2014 by Barony Student Newsletter Group (2013 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported license.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from Barony Student Newsletter Group (2013 - 2014).

I have been fascinated by animals for as long as I can remember. My Dad bred and showed budgies and my Grandma was always telling me that my Mum bringing home stray dogs and cats was a regular occurrence, so I guess it is no surprise.

My first memory was when I was at primary school, I begged my Mum to let me bring the class hamster home for the weekend. Sammy, as he was called, was a gorgeous orange Syrian hamster and so tame. My Mum finally let me bring him home and he was a real hit with all the family especially when he would run up and down the living room floor picking up little bits of food we had left for him, that was until he started chewing the living room carpet! Within a few seconds there was a huge hole, my Mum to this day says she was astounded at how quickly he managed to destroy so much carpet shoving it into his pouches as he went. Sammy was quickly picked up and put in his cage, I knew then that I would not be getting a hamster as a pet.

Having worked in the banking and education sectors since leaving school, I have never had a job which was around animals, I say that, but, as an ‘animal’person I have always been surrounded by a variety of animals from bearded dragons to parrots and of course dogs and cats, I have always wanted to learn more about every animal I have kept and have successfully bred lizards, cats and dogs along with guinea pigs, and chickens.

Getting on in life at 52 years of age and with both my children now independent I realised that if I didn’t make a life change now I never would and why not do something that I love.

I started looking at what courses were available to do on-line or by distance learning, I wasn’t brave enough or confident enough to think about going to college full time and leave the safety of my job. I found the SRUC Barony Campus Certificate correspondence course on-line and immediately thought that it was the one for me. It looked fascinating and covered topics that I knew I would find useful and that would interest me. I contacted my Vet, having so many pets she knows us very well, and asked her if she had heard of it and what she thought of it, she came back and agreed that it did look ideal.

Although I was keen to learn about animals I really did not at that stage want to feel pressurised to get things done by a certain date. The course allowed me to work at my own pace getting workbooks one at a time and also paying for them one at a time.

This gave me the flexibility to continue to work and complete the books at my own speed. ( I soon found, however, that I got so involved in them that I was setting my own limits and waiting in eager anticipation for my next workbook). I nervously sent off my application form and was pleased when I was advised by the college that some funding may be available through Skills Development Scotland. This was a great help and really easy to access by filling in a few forms for an Individual Learning Account, this paid for the first three books. The other books have been self funded. At this time I was unsure whether I would like the course or indeed be able to do the workbooks to the standard needed. The college was extremely helpful and the course tutor answered all my questions,( some of which I’m sure were ridiculous), really well and gave me the confidence to think “Yes I can do this!”

When my first book arrived I was really excited and I loved the format, I got myself into a routine I would first read through the workbook, sometimes I’d do this as bedtime reading, then read the relevant chapter in my text book, I’d then allocate a time to sit down and start the activities. I really enjoyed the assessment pages and realised that I was learning quite a lot even although I thought I’d had a lot of knowledge already about animals, what’s more I was remembering it.

Some of the assessments needed you to have some practical hands on knowledge so I approached my own vet who allowed me to go in, have a chat and look at what I needed to for the assessment. She also talked me through certain things, for example her routine for disposal of sharp objects. I found I came to enjoy questions like these and found them more of a challenge. Her willingness to share her knowledge was really useful and again I learned a lot and saw what I had read about in the textbook being done in a real life situation. Once my assessments were completed I sent them back to the tutor and eagerly awaited my new workbook and of course my results.

My tutor (Amie Miller) so far has always had positive comments to make and this is a great confidence booster. I am at present about half way through the course and I am still motivated and I have realised that I enjoy studying when I am genuinely interested in the subject. I am hungry for more hands on experience and knowledge, so much so that I have applied to do an NC in animal care which is due to start in September, so fingers crossed that I am successful. I am extremely lucky in that I have a very supportive husband and children and this has allowed me to pursue something that I love. In the future I hope to get a job working with animals either in a veterinary practice or rescue centre. I have surprised myself and shown that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and start something new.

By: Rose Miller (SRUC, Barony Campus Distant Learner Student)

Animal Care Banner


The students of Cumbernauld College recently attended Barony Residential for two weeks between the months of December and January. The students very much enjoyed their time in Barony learning new things and gaining more practical experiences.

It was different from the classes we have all been attending back in Cumbernauld as in Barony we got to be a lot more hands on taking part in practical sessions from walking the dogs to worming the sheep!

We were split into groups and all had opportunities to work with farm livestock, small furries, reptiles and aquatics. This was great as most of us had never had the opportunity to work with some of these animals before. Some of us even got the chance to milk the cows which was great fun although it did get a bit messy!

While working on the farm some groups got to go over to the sheep field to see the farmer’s sheep dog, Fly in action. This was really amazing and impressive as most of us have never had never had the opportunity to witness this before! We also had theory classes which helped us prepare for assessments we had to do.

All the lecturers and staff at Barony were very helpful. They went above and beyond to help the students with any questions or queries they had and went out of their way to make sure the students understood all the course material. Tom and Pearl also made the whole experience very enjoyable by providing night-time entertainment and overall good banter!

By: Jade Sherry (Cumbernauld College, NC Animal Care)

Hi there, this is the return of the fun five facts.

The first fact is about cows did you know that the most money ever paid for a cow in an auction was $1.3 million.

The second fact is about plants did you know that the rose family of plants, in addition to flowers, gives us apples, pears, plums, cherries, almonds, peaches and apricots.

The third fact is about engineering did you know that the word engineer comes from a Latin word meaning ‘cleverness’.

The forth fact is about dogs did you know that the most popular male dog names are Max and Jake. The most popular female dog names are Maggie and Molly.

The fifth fact is a wierd one did you know that If coloring weren't added to Coca-Cola, it would be green.

By Darren McMillan (HND Animal Care)

We went around the lake at the sports fishery and collected a huge amount of litter.   We had seven bags and we filled them with a lot of glass and plastic bottles, one trainer, drinks cans, deodorant cans, beer and cider cans, broken glass, as well as forestry and farm waste.

We did this so that the campus would be a nice place to walk in the summer.  It was all very dirty, but it was two lovely sunny afternoons.

Here are the comments that our group made :

  • Dana said that people should put their rubbish in the bin.
  • Janet said that it is just a disgusting way to act.
  • I said that I thought that there was too much waste.
  • Alison says that it just shows you what disgusting habits some people have.

 Please look after our environment and either put your litter in the bin or take it home with you.

 Thank you.

By: Bethany Fowler (New Directions)

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