Thursday, 27 August 2015

Scotland's Secret South: Galloway Pippin Apples

Adapted and reproduced from a blog by Phillip Bruce

Scotland's Secret South

There is a corner of Scotland that is ignored by the crowds rushing up to Edinburgh, Loch Lomond and the Highlands. Those of us who live in Galloway hope they continue to do so, but there's a warm welcome for the discerning traveller. Galloway is in the Southwest of Scotland and can be found by turning left at Gretna and following the A75 to Stranraer. (Frugaldom is next to Three Lochs Holiday Park, Kirkcowan, where we can now offer Frugal Breaks.)

Galloway's Gorgeous Apples

In 1267 a Dominican Friary was founded in Wigtown by the enormously wealthy Devorgilla, wife of John Balliol, after whom the Oxford college is named.

The monastery was situated near to where the current Church of Scotland church stands, see picture. The monastery was closed during the Reformation and it is thought that some of the stones from its buildings were used in nearby buildings. The friars used to fish in Wigtown Bay and were known for their skills in the orchards where a delicious pippin apple was cultivated.

There are few records of the monastery but the pilgrimage route to the ancient holy place of Whithorn passed close by and it is said that pilgrims were grateful to be given apples by the friars. Could some of the ancient rootstock be still hiding away somewhere around the former abbey's location?

In the middle of the 19th century, apple enthusiasts recorded the discovery of the Galloway Pippin, which is probably the tree that was cultivated at Wigtown. This is said to be an attractive apple and several people in Wigtown have trees flourishing in their gardens.

A good book to read is “Apples in Scotland,” by John Butterworth, Langford Press, ISBN 1-904078-00-1 There is a picture of The Galloway Pippin on page 33 with the caption: “Ancient long-keeping cooker from Wigtown, known locally as 'Croft an Righ' (garden of the King). He writes on page 56: “Galloway Pippin' is a late cooker, eaten by some, which has been associated with the area around Wigtown in Galloway 'since time immemorial.' The local name 'Croft-an-Righ, is the same as the same name given by the Romans to the locality, and means 'garden of the king.' There is still a property in Wigtown with this name, with a tree of the same name! Not surprisingly, there are a number of good reports from this area. My inclined cordon has been excellent, and my young standard made a very promising start to cropping. I attribute the latter's development of canker to the fact that its branches were broken the ground trampled by cattle.”


At Frugaldom, we have a fruit-growing project that is set to incorporate a small orchard of Galloway Pippins. If you would like to help support this project, you can do so by sponsoring a tree. Further details will be made available in the Frugal Shop and you can follow the progress either in our Frugal Forums or by clicking the ‘like’ buttom on our Frugaldom Facebook page

Published by NYK Media as part of the Frugaldom Project and Frugal Blog

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