Offenders have been helping build the replica medieval village
Offenders on community service orders in North Lanarkshire have been helping build a replica medieval village in a forest in the Carron Valley.
The council's restorative justice team has been working with heritage organisation the Clanranald Trust at Duncarron Fort.
The site is being turned into a tourist and educational attraction.
Offenders have been learning old-fashioned building methods and helping the project take shape.
North Lanarkshire council said it had so far invested more than 10,000 man hours in building work at the site.
The plan is to create a motte and bailey, typical of a Scottish clan chief's residence, and eventually provide an arena where groups and individuals can experience the atmosphere of an authentic medieval working community.
Community service supervisor Roddy McGregor talks about the project
Maureen Hughes, manager of the restorative justice service at North Lanarkshire Council, said: "We have some offenders who have actually finished their community service orders and asked to come back to Duncarron as volunteers, so that shows how enthusiastic they are about this project.
"It's not a soft option. For many of them it is their first experience of hard physical labour and working in a disciplined environment.
"They get a sense of pride from being part of a big project where they can see the end result."
She added: "The majority of those working here do not reoffend."
The restorative justice team have been mainly involved in building and drainage work at the site.
Brian Nicolson, 39, who is currently on a supervised attendance order, said: "I have done all sorts of work on community service. At Duncarron I've been clearing trees and some of the other boys have been lifting logs and moving wood.
Duncarron will provide a total hands on interactive experience for visitors
Charlie Allan Clanranald Trust
"Community service is not an easy option. It's hard work and now I'm getting a bit older it has made me think about my ways and start growing up a bit.
"There is a sense of achievement to know that instead of going to prison you are helping the community."
The Duncarron Fort project is the brainchild of the Clanranald Trust which promotes Scotland's history through education and entertainment.
As well as raising funds for projects such as Duncarron its members are also trained in medieval warrior techniques and have appeared in battle scenes in films such as Gladiator and Braveheart.
Last month Hollywood actor Russell Crowe donated a battering ram from the set of his new Robin Hood film to the project.
The Duncarron site will eventually resemble a medieval village complete with longhouses, a great hall, a watchtower and even an amphitheatre which will host jousting events.
When complete the site will be a tourist and educational attraction
Charlie Allan, chief executive of the trust, said: "Duncarron will provide a total hands-on interactive experience for visitors.
"While our members are out raising funds for the project they can't be here, so the partnership with the council has been great.
"The community service lads have contributed so much and they, in turn, have learned a lot from us.
He added: "I think when they first come out here they are a bit wary of it but within hours of being here they seem to relax and get on with the job.
"They have developed their team working and communication skills and go away feeling a good bit better about themselves at the end of the day."
Mr Allan said the trust was working with the council with a view to developing a formal training scheme whereby the community service workers would get a certificate in recognition of the skills they had learned on the project.
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