Mossend Residents Association have had a literal ‘boost to growth’ with nearly £2,000 from Point and Sandwick Trust going towards improvements at the little-known Bayview Community Gardens.
These gardens are tucked away in Plasterfield and are accessed by paths from Cnoc Iomhair (Ivorhill) or Redburn. They’ve been growing for 10 years and are looked after by green-fingered members of the residents association.
The residents association has been working with a Gaelic Medium class (primary 3/4 composite) from Stornoway Primary on an intergenerational community project.
The children, accompanied by class teacher Muriel Macleod, recently paid a visit to the gardens and were shown how to plant cabbages and potatoes by association committee members Donald Macleod and Ken Kennedy, who is also the treasurer.
Donald and Ken then accompanied the children to Maybury Gardens where they helped the youngsters choose plants for their plot at school, and later went up to the school to help them with the planting.
Teacher Muriel Macleod said they had “a fantastic day” at Bayview Community Gardens. “We learned how to plant potatoes and cabbage. We saw the lovely new gardening equipment they’ve just received from a community fund. They’ve got an excellent set up there and it’s lovely to see how a small community can come together and work so well as a group.
Point and Sandwick Trust, which runs the three turbines at Beinn Ghrideag, has given two main donations to Mossend Residents Association.
The first was £999 in Spring 2017 to help them create five raised beds. This allowed them to buy timber, compost and plants for the beds, which are now growing onions, leeks and strawberries.
All sorts of vegetables are now growing in the gardens – including early and late potatoes, carrots, lettuce, spring onions, beetroot – and all the residents get a share when they are ready.
Then, last month (May 2018), the Trust gave another £940, which went towards maintenance equipment including a new mower.
The association make a point of keeping the grass tracks mowed, for good access, and have also recently had the overgrown areas cleared. Contractors took away three tons of cuttings, which improved the access to the gardens in particular.
Maturing trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetable beds and benches all make for a lovely environment.
There is also an ‘airidh’ which is useful for storing equipment and supplies but also serves as a good focal point for community barbecues.
The association have stressed the garden is “open to anybody” and love to see it being used.
The area is leased from the council but operated by the residents, mainly those from Cnoc Iomhair and Airigh Ard. The association extends out and down to Steinish and Tolmie Terrace and up to Plasterfield, North Street and Sandwick.
The basic garden was created in 2008 and designed by the council’s former landscape architect, Robert Stubbington. Local councillor Angus McCormack was also instrumental, it having been his idea to set up the association. Angus is now chair of Point and Sandwick Trust and he expressed his joy at how the garden had come on – and how the residents association had started working with the children of Stornoway Primary.
He was “delighted” to hear about the connection to the school, which he hailed as “another development for the Bayview Gardens project”.
Looking back, Angus said the ground had been “an absolute state”, explaining: “It was really derelict and it was very overgrown and people had started throwing mattresses into it and all that sort of thing.”
Angus added: “The issue with projects of this nature always is that the first project funding and support is usually more straightforward to get. What is much more difficult is to get ongoing funding and that’s where Point and Sandwick comes in.”
Top photograph taken by Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos Photography. Above image supplied by Muriel Macleod.