Following a recent visit to the eastern end of Leith Links, Greener Leith volunteers were very happy to see that the improvements to the cycle path are nearly at an end. Not only will there be an easy way to cycle or walk to Portobello and beyond over a brand new bridge, the road will be lit and the verges planted up with trees donated by the Woodland Trust. Miraculously, although the cycle way was constructed to run straight through the Children’s Orchard, not a single branch got snapped. The fences will be reinstated so that the area can be used as an outdoor class room. Despite the terrible weather there are quite a few apples on the trees (that is, last time we looked) and the trees themselves have put on quite a bit of growth.
For those of you keen to lend a hand, we are planning to do some maintenance to the existing trees and plant the new ones once the leaves have fallen and the Council have strimmed the area. We might even organise some wassailing! (Wassailing is an old custom to exhort apple trees to fruit well the following season. . At many events cider is poured onto the roots and shots fired through the branches to ward off evil spirits. Warm cider is drunk and toast soaked in cider is placed in the branches for the robin. Wassail songs are sung. ‘Wassail’ is from the Anglo-Saxon ‘waes hael’ meaning “be in good health”, think hale and hearty). Please look on the Greener Leith website for more information. As for the new cycle way that will eventually go all the way to deepest East Lothian, no wassailing will be necessary here as it is looking pretty good and about ready to provide a safe and beautiful route for years to come.