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Cromarty Old Tennis Courts Allotments

Since signing the lease with Cromarty Estate in April 2012,  the society and plot-holders have been working very hard on improvements on the allotments as a whole, but also on the individual plots.

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Old Tennis Courts Allotments - Before
Old Tennis Courts Allotments - Before
This shows a view of the Old Tennis Courts Allotments looking West. As you can see, the grounds are badly overgrown with brambles and rosebay willowherb
Old Tennis Courts Allotments - Before
Old Tennis Courts Allotments - Before
This shows a view of the Old Tennis Courts Allotments looking North. Brambles and rosebay willowherb evrywhere.
Clearing Work Begins
Clearing Work Begins
The Society has hired local landscaper, Dougie Shepherd with Alex MacKay, to clear the bulk of the brambles, etc, with a mini digger. We considered doing it by hand, but this would have taken _months_.
Mini-digger clearing undergrowth
Mini-digger clearing undergrowth
Making progress much quicker than by hand.
More clearing
More clearing
The mound of growth in the right foreground is the remains of previous clearing work by the Cromarty Estate, and this has been left due to nesting blackbirds. Once they have fledged we can clear this properly.
Initial clearing almost finished
Initial clearing almost finished
After more than tow full days of clearing, Dougie has already made a huge difference, and the society is now looking forward to getting their own hands dirty.
Vie of the allotments from the East
Vie of the allotments from the East
A big change, and the soil is surprisingly good. More work needed, though.
View from the East towards Cromarty
View from the East towards Cromarty
This is the old, rather ramshackle wall on the north east boundary of the Old Tennis Courts Allotments
Marking the plots begins
Marking the plots begins
After Dougie's sterling clearing work the Colin Miller (with assistance from Colin Dun and Barbel Dister) starts measuring the grounds precisely and dividing it up into equal sized plots
The first paths marked
The first paths marked
Some of the main paths marked, and marking the plots begins.
Plot marking finished - growing begins
Plot marking finished - growing begins
Graham Fox of Sutor Creek steals a march on everyone else and gets planting
Digging and manual clearing proceeds
Digging and manual clearing proceeds
Colin Miller removing stones and roots from his plot.
Planting and rows
Planting and rows
Growing begins in earnest
Runner Beans Wigwam
Runner Beans Wigwam
Runner Beans wigwam appears on John Woods's plot - a little optimistic, perhaps, as the eastwinds can be bad and the deer and wind fence is not yet erected.
Barbel surveying the plots
Barbel surveying the plots
View to the north east, with the ivy growth now removed from the wall.
Colin Dunn's grandiose 'empire'
Colin Dunn's grandiose 'empire'
The first phase of building an extensice collection of wooden raised beds, primarily for fruit growing.
Riddling and tilth
Riddling and tilth
John Whyte works overtime, riddling his plot's soil to a fine-grained tilth ready for lettuces and herbs.
The Ian Rankin Cold-frames
The Ian Rankin Cold-frames
Windows kindly donated by Ian Rankin (from Stornoway House) are re-used as cold frames on John Keiller's plot
Colin Miller tends his tatties
Colin Miller tends his tatties
An unusually clement day for the summer of 2012, which so far has been cool and grey.
Colin's Raised Bed Empire - update
Colin's Raised Bed Empire - update
Colin's raised beds now almost finished, and mulching begins to prepare the soil for autumn fruit planting. His famous 'throne' is at the back.
John Keiller's Plot
John Keiller's Plot
Plants in neat rows and beginning to grow, having recovered from trampling by a recent invasion of trespassing cows - culprits in background.
Martin at work
Martin at work
Martin Gostwick engaged in the interminable task of removing stones from his plot.
Jane Clunas weeding - again
Jane Clunas weeding - again
Although Jane Clunas's and Colin Miller's plots at the northern edge of the allotments have proved to have the best soil, they also seem to have the best collection of weeds.
The Empire Established
The Empire Established
Colin's raised beds now almost fully completed and windbreak gauze added to help ameliorate the persistent easterly wind.
Colin Miller's Plot
Colin Miller's Plot
Potatoes now well under way. Many locals have advised that planting potatoes was a good way to clear and improve the soil for next year.
Graham Fox's Plot
Graham Fox's Plot
Graham has a lot of experience in managing allotment ground and growing vegetables, and itshows. This is already the most productive plot.
Gill and Phoebe Weeding
Gill and Phoebe Weeding
Gill, and daughter Phoebe, weeding and planting cabbages and other slug food.
New North Gate
New North Gate
Part of the improvements made at the allotments to improve security and prevent deer and cattle trespass.
New Deer Fencing
New Deer Fencing
After trespass by cattle in May, this new fence provides security for growing crops.
East Entrance Gate
East Entrance Gate
New gate at main entrance to allotments



Deer fencing, gates and disabled access path generously supported by funding from
the Highland Council Ward Discretionary Fund
and the Cromarty & Distict Community Council Common Good Fund