Friday
Jun092017

KAILYARD JOURNAL

INTRODUCTION 

In the 19th century, a group of settlers inhabited the lower slopes of Bennachie.  From their toil and sweat they built simple thatched cottages and turned rocky heather moor into arable fields surrounded by substantial stone dykes, all with materials from the hillside.  The settlers became known as the “Bennachie Colonists”.  The ruins of these crofts are still visible today and one in particular, known as Shepherds Lodge, still shows evidence of a kitchen garden or “Kailyard”.  To celebrate 2017 as the year of History Heritage and Archaeology, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the Bailies of Bennachie/Bennachie Landscapes Project a grant to recreate this kailyard to demonstrate how the land was used in the past and to provide opportunities for further involving community groups in the Bennachie Colony.

At the end of 2016 the Bennachie Landscapes Project (BLP) appointed a sub-group to guide this project through.  The following entries are a diary of how the volunteers involved are approaching this task.  As 2017 progresses entries of their progress are being logged which highlights their achievements, problems, mistakes, and personal enjoyment.

 

 

A Note to all Volunteers: 

After each event there will be a short write up by the Kailyard Sub-Group.  Any comments from those helping are welcome.  We would love to hear about your experience - whether it is about the job you were doing, what the weather was like, any observations such as wildlife, or perhaps how you felt about the site and its connection with the Colonists.  

 

Friday
Jun092017

A GARDEN JOURNAL 2017 

Recreating a Scottish 19th Century Kailyard
On the foothills of Bennachie

December 2016

Fantastic news – we have been successful in our bid for a grant to help with the recreation of the kailyard at Shepherd’s Lodge colony site.  Once the jubilation ceased the question we were all asking was “Where to begin?”    The decision was made to have a small sub-group of volunteers with a “chivvy” to help move things along.  The Kailyard Sub-Group (KSG) was accordingly set up and ready to go.   A flutter of trepidation could be sensed!   Kailyard Sub-Group (KSG)

Friday
Jun092017

12 January 2017

Email circulated amongst KSG members suggesting ways forward and asking for comments/ideas ready for discussion at the next Bennachie Landscapes Project (BLP) meeting.  Meanwhile volunteers busy researching what might have been grown in the Colonists’ kailyards.  All research being posted on our Google Drive for all BLP members to view.  (KSG)

Friday
Jun092017

14 February 2017  (BLP Meeting)

At this meeting we (KSG) related our proposals following an analysis of the research that had taken place.   It was considered more viable to start with some of the easier to grow soft fruits from the 1800s.  One of the issues we have is aftercare of the site.  Shepherds Lodge is someway away from the car park for most of us to get to, so plants that will not require so much attention were considered best.  The choice therefore resulted in gooseberries, currants (red/white and black) and raspberries.  A new member joined the Sub-Group who is particularly interested in herbs and so the suggestion was to possibly include some.  Research will be needed first though.  (KSG)

 

Friday
Jun092017

2nd March 2017

Kailyard Sub-Group sent out update following above results from meeting and research undertaken since.  This also included a plan of action and timetable.  Once comments received and updated an email will be sent to all BLP members for information and volunteers.  Work can now begin in earnest!

Tuesday
Aug292017

14th March 2017 

A small group of volunteers met at Shepherds Lodge to survey the Kailyard.  Once a botanical survey had been carried out, a general survey of the area was made.  The kailyard is covered in a mix of vegetation including broom, young tree seedlings, foxgloves, ferns and grass.  Quite a large area to clear, prepare and maintain so to start with we felt it would be better to just prepare a plot large enough to grow the fruit bushes we had chosen and only extend it when/if we decide to grow more.  An area of approximately 25 square metres at the south-west side of the kailyard was measured out.  We can now map out the area and start planning the planting - although a lot of work is needed to be done before any planting!!

During the afternoon a small cross-section was dug across the kailyard where a footpath is shown on the 1867 1st edn. OS 25-inch map.  A hard 'floor' was found closer to the house than shown on the map which could be the path we are looking for.  Nothing conclusive, so need to do a bit more investigating by way of a couple of cross-section trenches.  

 

 

Tuesday
Aug292017

30th March 2017

Once the plot has been cleared and dug, we will need to test the soil.  We approached Oyne Primary School re the children coming to help do this testing and we are really pleased that they have accepted.

 

Tuesday
Aug292017

6th April 2017

Spoke to the Bailies webmaster re setting up our Garden Journal on the Bailies Website so all volunteers could watch our progress.  This is now in hand. 

 

Tuesday
Aug292017

11th April 2017

Sent out request for volunteers for Colony Workparty on 23rd April.  This will entail clearing the whole kailyard site of all unwanted vegetation.  Test pitting to further investigate the old footpath will also take place.  Fingers crossed for good weather!