Highlands & Islands

Search for 'lost' Highland apple varieties widens

Apples
Image caption The new map will feature all apple varieties grown in the Highlands

A search is on to find where five "lost" Highland apple varieties still grow.

Jonathan Willet set out to record sites of Coul Blush, a variety first grown by Sir George Mackenzie at Coul House in Contin, Ross-shire, in 1827.

But following research, the Highland Council biodiversity officer has found that Sir George grew four other types of the fruit.

These were the Contin Reinette, Tarvey Codlin, Sweet Topaz and Kinellan.

Mr Willet has been putting together a map of various apple trees and orchards in the Highlands ahead of international Apple Day in October.

He hopes to add sites of Sir George's apples - especially the four uncovered during his research.

Mr Willet said: "All of these are lost as far as we know so these are the true lost Highland apples.

"Sir George won a silver medal from the Caledonian Horticultural Society in 1827 for these varieties that he raised at Coul House.

"The Tarvey Codlin and Contin Reinette were very highly thought of 'as two of the finest seedlings that have yet been submitted to them' according to the Caledonian Horticultural Society.

"They were new varieties created by cross-pollination of other varieties and he grew them from seed."

British Army

Coul House was built for Sir George, 7th Baronet of Coul, in 1821. It is now a hotel.

The aristrocrat's family had lived in the area since 1560 and according to the hotel's website Sir George was considered to have been a "liberal landlord, distinguished in the pursuits of science".

As well as its part in the raising Coul Blush apples, the house had an interesting role during World War II.

In 1940, it was taken over by the British Army to house Polish troops and serve as a military hospital.

The hotel said Norway's royal family were also have believed to have stayed at Coul House during their exile.

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