Bute’s Commonwealth orchard is bearing fruit

Children from Apple Tree Nursery try their hand at making apple juice with fruit harvested from the Commonwealth Orchard at Mount Stuart.
Children from Apple Tree Nursery try their hand at making apple juice with fruit harvested from the Commonwealth Orchard at Mount Stuart.

Apple trees planted on Bute four years ago as part of the Commonwealth Orchard Project have started to bear fruit - and a group of children from a Bute nursery went along this week to sample the new harvest.

Local primary school and nursery children went along to Mount Stuart on September 30, 2009 to help plant an orchard on the approach to the attraction’s award-winning visitor centre.

That orchard is now producing fruit, and Commonwealth Orchard director John Hancox returned to Mount Stuart on Friday for an afternoon of apple fun with a group of children from the Apple Tree Nursery.

The children spent time learning about the orchard before picking, coring and juicing apples. The afternoon was rounded off with the kids drinking the apple juice they had produced and munching on apple pie baked specially for them by Mount Stuart’s head chef, Oscar Sinjorgo.

Roisin Cameron, Mount Stuart Trust’s events co-ordinator, said: “In 2014 we plan to host a larger scale event in the orchard celebrating the year of the Commonwealth Games in Scotland.

“We are delighted to see the ongoing success of the Commonwealth Orchard initiative and our own orchard is flourishing under the care of the Mount Stuart gardens team.”

The Commonwealth Orchard project also oversaw the planting of fruit trees on a site at the edge of Kilchattan Bay, at the south end of the island.