Newsletter No.24 - Autumn 2021
Added at 01:20 on 30 October 2021
We care for a part of Scotland’s history which belongs to our community.
NEWSLETTER No.24 - Autumn 2021
Update on volunteering
Our new path in the woodland is very successful and a great deal of clearing of bracken etc has been done together with tree pruning to keep paths clear. The pond and its supply ditch has been worked on as usual but has been very low in water over summer. Dragonflies have been very busy in later summer and wild flower meadow area developing.
At several work parties we have discussed the orchard which as volunteers know takes a great deal of maintenance time. Soft fruit has done exceptionally well this year apart from blackberries some of which developed a brown leaf blight which apparently spreads from wild brambles. Our trees are maturing well apart from some losses which are inevitable but not producing much fruit so far.
Volunteers have worked hard, despite covid and weather limitations, removing encroaching brambles and plenty of other weed growth on castle site, orchard and woodland. Repairs to timber stairs are ongoing together with timber treatment and path maintenance..
General summary of conclusions for the coming year.
- We will replace one row of blackberries with cane raspberries planted in a timber surrounded bed to limit weeding and allowing remainder of mound to be more easily strimmed.
- We will add to blueberries and gooseberries by planting in pots located on platform. If possible we will move potted raspberries to this also making them easier to manage. We will add a frame to platform for a bird net and locate some large water tanks nearby.
- On tree rows we will trial one row protecting trees with timber at low level and removing plastic ground cover which has restricted weed growth allowing small trees to mature. Tops of mounds will be prepared for grass which can be strimmed. Ditches will still need controlling but hopefully maintenance will be easier. We will also trial battery electric strimmers as I now have one and find it very convenient for relatively light work on grass.
- None of the above will cost much but will take volunteer time and effort hopefully reducing this in future years while increasing fruit production.
- We will continue planting our willow “fedge” this year along the fence line.
- We have 50 free trees ordered which should arrive in January for planting in woodland.
- We have no firm plans for more castle exploration but continue to discuss this with our Archaeologist who hopes to complete publication of work done on completed digs by end of year by which time the last of detailed laboratory reports delayed by covid should be in our possession.
- Our sheep continue their sterling work cared for by our volunteers winter and summer.
If anyone wishes to comment on any of this or has any other suggestions please let me know.
On behalf of everyone residents and visitors I would like to thank all our volunteers who contribute a great deal in different ways to make the castle the visitor attraction and local leisure area which it has become.
Work parties are on the first Saturday of each month from 10.00 am but continue to bring own tea break at present – we have hand and tool sanitiser on site and social distancing will continue. All welcome to pay us a visit.