Highland Apple Day this weekend
The preparations for the Highland’s second Apple Day are almost complete. For those attending the delights of pin the maggot on the apple, who can peel the longest peel and freshly squeezed apple juice await. There will also be the opportunity to see over 30 different varieties of apples, courtesy of the National Trust of Scotland at Fyvie Castle.
The free event, organised by The Highland Council, will take place from 1pm to 4pm at Inverness Botanics (formerly The Floral Hall) this Saturday (24 October).
The two apple experts attending are Andrew Lear of Appletreeman Nursery down in Bankfoot near Perth and John Hancox of the Commonwealth Orchard which is a charity that works with schools and communities helping them create orchards. Both men have a wealth of experience of growing and looking after apple trees and will identify apples that you bring along. John has also promised to make some cider! There will also be fresh apple juice being pressed on the day so bring a container if you would like to take some away, it freezes very well. If you have some spare apples then bring them along to be smushed with John’s electric apple press.
John will also be giving a talk on orchards and his work in the hot house, so if the weather is not kind there will be a warm place to retreat to.
The apple map that was created in 2011will be at the event awaiting any new contributions. It has 151 sites of orchards or apple trees with over 70 different varieties represented. The number of sites on the apple map has doubled since it was created in 2011, but there are still more orchards and apple trees to go on it. People coming along can add sites to the map at the event. Just about all the big houses in the Highlands that still have a walled garden have some fruit trees there. So work on the apple map will continue after this apple day.
Apple trees can be found all over the Highlands from Tongue to Wick over to Skye and down to Morven and all round Easter Ross and Inverness-shire. The site with the greatest number of varieties is a site just south of Inverness, it has an amazing 69 different varieties planted there. The largest orchard is near Auldearn with an acre (or 4000 square metres) of orchard. The historic orchard with the greatest recorded variety was at Ardross Castle with some old metal apple tree labels found in one of the garden buildings telling us that there were 39 different varieties planted there some time in the past. Eight of these varieties were replanted in 1992.
Willet, the Council’s Biodiversity Officer, said: “At our last apple day 200
people attended, we are hoping to break that record so please do come on down. If
you have an apples that you want to have identified then do bring them along on
the day, we look forward to hearing your apple-related stories and whilst doing
so we can enjoy some freshly pressed apple juice.”