You’ve got fifteen (read ’em and weep) days before the big break-up. Gabe Stewart advises how to save your summer sanity by planning ahead -— a stitch in time saves nine mental breakdowns.

With over a 700 playschemes running in Central Scotland, availability appears high, while costs still remain (relatively) low. Margaret Browning, chair of the Regional Working Party on Playschemes, runs one in Blairtummock. Easterhouse with a catalogue of activities.

‘We try to have enough

money to go away every Wednesday on

longer day trips, to Deep Sea World or Blair Drummond Safari Park,‘ explains Browning. They charge kids 75p every time a bus is hired, that’s on top of the princer sum of£l .25, not per day, not per week, but for the whole five weeks: lOam—noon, 1.30pm—3.30pm. weekdays, Monday 4 July-Friday 5 August.

Gingerbread’s playscheme in Bruntsfield has similar activities although at rather higher prices. Gingerbread is not just for lone parents; about 10 per cent of kids are from two- parent families, although they pay twice as much as single parents: £30 per week (£15, lone parents) for the first child, and £20 per week (£10) for each subsequent child. The playscheme runs 8.30am—5.30pm, every weekday, Monday 4 July—Friday 12 August.

But what do kids think of them? ‘1 liked the playscheme,’ says Aaron (9), referring to Glasgow's After School Kids Club (aka ASK). ‘We went places like Dean Country Park, Blackshaws Farm, and bowling, and places like that. it was good inside as well. We had a party, and a disco and a birthday party. 1 had a great time.’ Lindsey McBride (8%) agrees, but with one minor reservation. ‘1 like the games they put out and the trips we go on. But I don't like swimming because the water gets in my eyes, but i like the rest. l’m glad i came, because it‘s fun.’ Blairrummock Playscheme. 04] 771 5828. Gingerbread Playscheme. 031 220 1585. For details of playschemes in your area reIephone the coordinator for Glasgow Local Committees. 041 227 3546 or Lorhian Play F orum. 03/ 337 6208.

[- oown on THE FARM

Blackshaw Farm offers rather more than all the usual stuff you’d expect on a working hill farm. Cow-milking, animal feeding, tractor and trailer rides and sheep-shearing in the heart of the peaceful countryside comes face to face with quad bikes, pedal

1 tractors, aerial cableways, summer

' sledging, football pitches, and tons of other kids activities.

Alice Smith (3%) says: ‘1 had a ride on the pony and tractor, and i liked the chickens.’ Her elder sister Phylis (6%) also got a kick out of the rope swings

_ eurv ems

Creepy-crawlies; love ’em or hate ’em, they hold a fascination for children.


For the ultimate in a kids big day out, Kelburn Castle and Country Centre takes some beating. As well as tours around the castle and grounds, there’s a riding and trekking centre with a brand new attraction, The Secret Forest. This has its grand opening on Saturday 2 July, attended by the Mad Hatter and his friends, a brass band and a luggling (ester. The Secret Forest is a wild, impenetrable wood containing a network of pathways, underground passages and overhead

_ G’DAY sponr

Leisure centres have heaps of healthy- type stuff to do. Take Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall, for instance, sporty sorts

could spend all the hols there. Indeed, some of them do, like Isla Kennedy (13): ‘A group of us go to netball coaching there. They’re quite nice, and it’s much more fun than at school, ’cos you’ve got extra games. I’ve also

in the hayshed, and added,

knowledgeably: “The adventure playground is one of the better playgrounds I’ve been to.’ Blackshaw Farm gets a big thumbs-up from ASK playscheme children too. Lesley Lamont (9) and Lynne Dearie (8) both loved it.

Lots of the activities are under cover, including a new indoor adventure fort, which is a big advantage if the weather’s so-so, but bring wellies just in case. £2.40 for children (2—16 years), £3 adults. This may seem steep, but it’s only a tenner for a full car, which isn’t bad value because there’s enough to keep kids occupied

Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World at Lasswade, with up to 1200 butterflies, caters for insect addicts in a big way. it’s a favourite haunt of Anna Thomson’s (7): ‘l’ve been about four times. I like it ’cos you get to see lots of butterflies in a big greenhouse. There’s parrots flying around too, and bright orange and white fish. There’s other animals too, tarantulas, ants, caterpillars, and you get to see cocoons too. You get to learn lots of interesting things.’ Anna also recommends the picnic and play area. If you’re a working parent, and can’t afford the time to take your children there yourself, the Butterfly Farm is

just one of the many places visited by

walkways, which will take you to the Gingerbread House, the Chinese Garden or the mysterious Grotto. Along the way you may encounter the Woodcutter’s House, the Crocodile Swamp, or pit your wits against the Maze, or the Castle With Ho Entrance. Kelburn’s a firm favourite with Hina Calder (12). ‘I really like the adventure course. You walk across logs and stuff, and climb up a tower. And there are lots of horses,’ she adds, wistfully. As if this wasn’t enough, during the summer holidays there’s also a full programme of children’s activities such as rocket-making and circus skills workshops, Punch and Judy shows, and Sparkle, the children’s

done badminton there.

Ainslie Park’s series of summer short-course coaching classes includes judo, gymnastics, trampolining, football, basketball, swimming and badminton. George Holmes (11) tried the short tennis course. ‘lt’s just a smaller version of tennis, good for children up to eight. I was there a whole week but it stayed being interesting all week. Everyone’s really friendly, especially the teachers.’

More than just animals at Blackshaw Farm

for a full 10.30am—5pm day out. Blackshaw Farm Park, West Kilbride, North Ayrshire, 0563 34257.

Children’s Adventure Tours. This unique childminding company operates full and half-day tours from Edinburgh during the school holidays, and other destinations include Dirleton Castle, Deep Sea World, and Purves Puppets at Biggar, as well as museum and woodland visits. Butterfly and Insect World, Dobbies Gardening World, Lasswade, Midlothian, 031 663 4932. Daily, 10am-5.30pm. £3.25 (£2.55 concessions, £1.90 children). Family ticket (two adults and four children) £9.30.

Children’s Adventure Tours, 4 Marchmont Street, 229 9816.

entertainer. Kelbum Castle and Country Centre, Fairlie, Ayrshire, 0475 568685. Dally 10am-6pm. £3.50 (£2). A free minibus service runs from Largs station to Kelbum twice a day.

Ainslie Park also runs a holiday playscheme featuring fun and games, arts and crafts and a bouncy castle, and a Lunch Club offering lunch and a swim for over elghts.

For further information on sports activities in your area, contact your local sports centre, Glasgow City Council Parks and Recreation Department, 227 5529 or Edinburgh District Council’s Recreation Department, 529 7902.

82 The List 17—30 June 1994