The Forth Valley Orchards' Initiative is made up of several projects that run at the same time.

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Thanks to Rab for his latest journal. He has a tortuous trip by bus to see the Kinneil Orchard Group in Bo'ness, and visits the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway that rekindles old memories of steam trains. He talks about his own orchard, including his peach tree, and plans to make a 'Buckhaven in Bloom' video. 



Hi Everyone

Just a wee update. Saturday past I travelled to Kinneil Orchard just outside Bo'ness, West Lothian and met up with Ian Shearer and his wife and boys. Went for coffee first after nearly four hours of travelling on bus from Fife, which I will tell you in more detail later.

Kinneil Orchard is set in an old estate more than 100 years old. Sadly went into decline. During WW2 there was talk of demolishing the place, but various bodies stepped in and halted the decay. Happily, it is slowly being rebuilt. The big house is all surrounded by fencing. There is an avenue of old standard cherry trees stretching the whole length of the south- facing wall, I would say round about 80 to 100 years old.

The new orchard planted by the group is in a nice big rectangular piece of land, getting the full sun, consisting of apple, pear, plum, etc. Saturday volunteers' day was clearing weeds from around the base of the trees, a 'must-do' in young orchards so trees get a chance. Once it matures, should crop for many years.

Was great meeting all the group and helping a wee bit. It's good to see small town orchards popping up. Hopefully more will appear in other towns.

After good spell with the group, went for lunch back at Ian's place. He has a few old apple trees in his own garden. The land used to belong to a large house next door, but was divided up for housing. Most of the trees were in his place - old varieties, too!

After lunch, we went to the town of Bo'ness to the steam railway heritage centre, by the way.

I have a confession! I like trains, since I was a kid. After school, I used to sit at the railside near my home for hours watching the coal trains go by. I remember thinking, 'I want to do that!', but the old pits near me closed, and so did the railway, but Bo'ness brought it all back to me. The smell of the smoke and the steam when the engines went by!

Bo'ness seems to have a healthy band of helpers and visitors and tourists, so WHY !?! is Bo'ness not on the bus route from Edinburgh?   I left my home at 6.45 am to catch the bus to Edinburgh thinking there was a bus to Bo'ness, but NO! I was told I would have to go to the Waverley Steps at Princes Street and get a bus to LINLITHGOW, get on another bus and double back. B____y Crazy. I think the people should lobby your councillors and MSP, and get a better bus service. You are paying your Rates Tax, etc, so you deserve the same respect as the city, so get your buses back.

Anyway, I had a really great day. Wished Ian all the best and thanked the group for having me, and making me welcome.

Since Saturday, my plum trees have started flowering their heads off. They are two weeks earlier than last year. Remember last week in April? We had a heavy fall of snow. This week is frost-free, I think. My peach tree in the greenhouse is at the pink bud stage. I planted it in a large pot, so looking really good. Left door of greenhouse open to let the bees in and get to work.

I'm going to be doing another video soon called, 'Buckhaven in Blossom', so anybody watching my videos and never tried growing fruit, TRY IT. You get the bonus of nice flowers and tasty fruit.

See you soon.


Kinneil Orchard and Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway video (April 2017)