I think anyone who has had any experience of Lendrick Muir will enjoy this collection of reminiscences from the various contributors. Its variety reflects the very different personalities of the staff who at different times have lived and worked at Lendrick Muir.

Despite their variety, the articles are characterised by their humour the writers' readiness to laugh at themselves, an ability so necessary for weathering the frequently stormy life at Lendrick.

It is, of course, difficult to be writing an introduction to this final magazine but the quality of the articles and the often hilarious anecdotes capture the legend of Lendrick Muir which will continue long after its closure.

Lendrick Muir has played a unique role in the education of children experiencing emotional difficulties. Its closure will sadly, leave a large gap in the educational provision for such children. The fund of experience, the commitment and under-standing of the various contributors to this magazine show how difficult it will be to fill that gap.


At this time of worldwide concern about the rate of extinction of plants and animals, it is sad to report the fast disappearance of a unique species found only in one habitat in Central Scotland.

Homo Lendrickanthropus has shown an amazing variety of behavioural patterns but space will only permit a brief review of its eating habits, its response to training and its migratory instincts, to illustrate how these have led him into an evolutionary blind alley.

The need to be first in the meal queue is a noticeable and dominant aspect of Lendrickanthropus. Having obtained more than sufficient food to satisfy his needs he will then make sure that other members of the group (known collectively as a school of Lendrickanthropoids )

1. Gets substantially less

2. Are not allowed to settle to their food

3. Use every opportunity to spoil their food and

4. Distribute any excess around the communal eating area, (sometimes called the Dining Hall)

Thus, by his efforts meal times are made as unpleasant as possible. As he attempts to consume vast quantities he is seen periodically to raise his head and shout out his disgust, presumably to make others eat less. The energy expended in these diversion activities necessarily means that feeding is very inefficient and has probably been a major factor in the decline of the species.

Attempts have been made over many years to train Homo Lendrickanthropus but although he does have remarkable imitative powers, experience has shown that there is little prospect of establishing habits of tolerance and co-operation over the longer term (especially the spring term). Training sessions are often marked by his inattentiveness and he has been known on occasion to turn on his trainers. The use of tools has been regularly observed but usually to attack others or to destroy his living area. There is little evidence of Homo Lendrickanthropus having made that cultural leap to an appreciation that tools can be used creatively. Homo Lendrickanthropus has considerable ability to express himself artistically and examples can be seen all over the walls, somewhat primitive when compared to cave paintings but equally energetic.

An interesting aspect of this unique species behaviour is its impulse to migrate. A critical factor here appears to be population size. When numbers are in excess of about fifty, the population pressure causes individuals and occasionally groups to ?do a bunk". This refers to their remarkable ability to travel very long distances presumably in an attempt to establish subsidiary groups. However, these have never been successful because of their inability to adapt to conditions outside Lendrick and they are returned to the "school" usually within a few days. Migrations occur sporadically but are particularly prevalent in the warmer months of the year. As the population has declined the frequency of this particular behaviour has fallen dramatically. This inability to diversify and exploit new habitats has made Lendrickanthropus very vulnerable in a changing social climate.

I, personally, have been involved in working with this particularly interesting species for thirteen years and I feel a deep sense of loss that its extinction seems inevitable. It's [sic] often bizarre, usually self destructive behaviour has provided much of value and has made life in this unique community a valuable ethnological experience.


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