Scottish organization makes bid on former Camp Spaulding property
|Published: 07-09-2023 12:02 PM
Kilt making, Scottish Highlands dancing and Gaelic classes are some of the offerings that could be coming to the former Camp Spaulding property in Concord.
The New Hampshire Gathering of the Scottish Clans – the organization that puts on the Highland Games and Festival every September at Loon Mountain – wants to turn the former summer camp into its new headquarters.
If the Concord zoning and planning boards approve the nonprofit’s plans for the 57-acre property, the camp will be used as a training ground for Scottish athletes and will host various classes and workshops, said executive director Terry Wiltse.
“We are very excited about what we can do there but if we can’t use it for the purposes that we want to, there is no point in us having it,” Wiltse said.
The organization has no plans to build additional structures on the site, but will renovate the main lodge into office and conference spaces for staff and upgrade the cabins for overnight guests. The former playground on the property will be torn down for both amateur and professional athletes to practice for the popular Highland Games, which often draws between 35,000 visitors each year.
“We plan to use it in a similar way to the way it was used but we also want to have some events that are smaller than the games but bigger than we’ve been able to,” Wiltse said. “We’ve always wanted to have a Scottish museum and library and host the Scottish New Year celebration.”
In 2020 just ahead of the camp's 100-year anniversary in Concord, the facility was shuttered and listed for sale after Waypoint, formerly known as Child and Family Services of NH, saw falling attendance that led to financial losses, Waypoint President Borya Alvarez de Toledo said in an interview with the Monitor in 2021.
At this stage in the sale, Waypoint has accepted NHSCOT’s offer contingent upon the approval and feedback of the City of Concord.
When Wiltse first expressed interest in the property, which sits in Ward 2, City Councilor Erle Pierce put together a neighborhood meeting with NHSCOT in June to discuss what the property could become. Many residents wanted to see additional housing, an event center and restaurants while others were in support of the renovations and NHSCOT’s plans.
“Camp Spaulding has been here for 100 years and they’ve always had a great reputation,” Pierce said. “If I lived next door, I’d love to see it kept as a camp but NHSCOT does a good job of continuing the Scottish way of life.”