March 2023

The journey for this project will be documented by means of this Blog

It is our intention is to use this to keep you informed of the progress and importantly how YOU can get involved

March  2023 

Planning, Developing and Funding Carrbridge Community Orchard

Fundraising is the main focus for March  and the fundraising team are working on applications to funders following leads from the Masterclass attended in March.
We want to attract inward investment to our village not just rely on funds generated by Carrbridge events and the Windfarm.  This also has the benefit that we are networking with like minded people and learning from their experience.

In parallel we are gathering evidence of support from organisations, businesses and individuals who have written letters, joined our Facebook Page and subscribed to our mailing list. This is necessary to show funders that the project is well supported which keeps us motivated too!

 We got off to a great start with a Zoom call to Change X as Step 2 of 5 in a 30 day Challenge towards accessing a new funding stream for the Orchard. 

We completed the Accenture Scotland 30 day challenge in 16 days . A refreshing  application process which yeilded £1400 in less that 3 weeks with a further £600 to come in the next 6 months.

Following the open meeting on the 7th March, the fundraising team got to work on the 5 year financial forecast for the project 

On the 3rd of March we invited village residents to join us on a Site Visit to identify for emergent plants in random areas under the vegetation.  After some gentle raking we found Sorrel, Meadowsweet, Brambles, and possibly Chinese Peony- depending whether the Plant Id app is accurate for emergent plants?
The Burn is starting to come to life too!

Desmond Dugan and Aileen Fox of Speyside Fields for Wildlife came for a site visit to advise on wildflower and habitat. These are essential elements in the development of the site. We want to create a space where we can nurture both people and wildlife.

Carole Butler the Community Growing officer from Highland Council suggested a visit to a private Orchard and 4 volunteers spent a very informative and inspiring couple of hours finding out about different varieties of some very special fruit trees. 

Some of the photos are published on the Facebook Page

Mid March monitoring- as we get quotes for the wish list identified by the meeting in January to help inform our financial forecast and funding applications we were disappointed when the sewer started to overflow.
A low point in more ways than one but it is a feature of the site and an opportunity to improve awareness of the environmental impact of what goes into our sewers. 
Scottish Water have excellent resources for their Nature Calls Campaign 

Stem the tide of Plastic Pollution  £7m cost to clean up in Scotland

We were delighted to hear that Carrbridge Primary Eco Schools project are on the case with the Nursery pupils building a Fat Berg and P1 & 2 designing Fatberg Monsters. 
Learning about the 3 P's

Fortunately there are no plans to plant anything edible in that area and the professional clean up team are on the way !

A site visit with a new volnteer was very productive and we welcome the added expertise to lead on the 'infrastructure'

Another fundraising boost  from Highland Council's Ward Discretionary Fund which is earmarked for preparing the site and we hope to hear from a couple of applications soon to build the bridge to get us there.

The Asset Transfer request was approved by the Trustees of Carrbridge Ahead and submitted. That process is now underway and we thank Carrbridge Ahead for supporting the acquisition of the site on our behalf.

As a busy  month draws to a close  the planting team are still working hard and learning more and more

on the 29th a team of 3 went to the seaside  - the photos are on FB

just back from an excellent day at the how to make a wildflower meadow workshop at North Kessock run by HC & Highlife rangers Marcia & Andy. A cosy introduction into wildflowers before we headed a long to a site at Torgorm community project where we put in some hard graft!  Surprisingly we all just mucked in and some edged the turf  ready for removal and others removed the turf onto other areas needing grass repair.  Once grass removed we gave the bare soil a very light turn before the wildflower seed mix was sown.  Then the area was gently raked before walking on lightly to compact the seeds in.   All done in 3.5 hrs.  Scotia seeds coastal mix used. Mixed the seeds in with sand which helps show where you have sown. No watering facility nearby so up to nature to look after it.

Definitely worth a visit in the summer. 

2 volunteers headed ro Inveness Botanical Gardens to learn how to graft apple trees under the expert tution of Des Kelly from Torbreck Orchard. We returned with 7 grafted trees, 2 done by the master and 4 by us. Fingers crossed they take and we will have something to show :)
To close the month we are taking part in the RHS Big Seed Sow.
We received a variety of seeds from them and hopefully we will have some early edibles for the orchard this year.


Planting team met on Sunday 5th March with Speyside Fields for Wildlife representatives to discuss opportunities to improve the site with wildflowers.

Whole Team meeting on 7th March.