The Stornoway Trust recently welcomed two new additions to its Castle Grounds Squad: Head Gardener, Jack Pocock (below), and Gardener, David Bayly (above), who will both work from the Trust Nursery.  

They will be working closely with Jonathan Torrance, the Estate Nurseryman, as they focus on restoring the Castle Grounds, making good use of its rich resource of trees and shrubs.

Jack, who will shortly be moving into Creed Lodge with his young family, and is looking forward to the challenge of his new post, said, “This is a really exciting time to be coming on board, with the Castle Grounds Regeneration Project and the Nursery development well under way. 

"The restoration of Victorian Gardens is one of my passions, and to be able to apply my skills and experience to help make the Castle Grounds an even better cleaner and greener space is a dream come true for me.”

Part of Jack’s remit will be helping the Trust source funding to help sustain this valued part of the Estate.

Gardener David is returning to Lewis having amassed considerable gardening experience while also developing his keen interest in restoration work.  Educated in The Nicolson Institute, David is pleased to be back home. “Having enjoyed my childhood in Lewis, this job now gives me a real opportunity to put something back and I am thrilled to be in a position that affords me that chance.”

Trust Chairman, Norman A. Maciver, welcomed the new appointments saying, “Jack and David are pivotal to our vision for the Castle Grounds.  The area is an iconic one for our island and one which we as Trustees are well aware of. 

"We continue to invest in the Castle Grounds hoping that people go on accessing the area responsibly, mindful that this is a community asset to which people are very emotionally attached.”

It is hoped that Jack and David will be joined by two horticultural apprentices in due course.

Factor Iain M. Maciver said, “Bearing in mind that with a College on our doorstep the Castle Grounds redevelopment project is well placed to open the door to unique vocational opportunities which would not otherwise be readily available to those keen to follow in Jack and David’s footsteps. 

"While we remain focused on the job in hand we will continue to seek ways in which we can better resource the ongoing care and maintenance of a wonderful place.”

The Stornoway Trust in partnership with Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar and part-funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland, is currently engaged in delivering the £5m Castle Grounds Regeneration Project which has a projected finish date of March 2020.