YOU MIGHT know the Granny Smith and the Pink Lady, or the Royal Gala – but have you heard of Glasgow’s famous apples?

The Clydeside, the Scotch Bridget and the Cambusnethan Pippin are unlikely to pop up on our supermarket shelves any more but they were once popular varieties in the city and Clyde Valley.

This weekend, as part of a citywide celebration of Apple Day, they will return to the spotlight in a bid to remind everyone all about the history and heritage of the area’s fruitgrowers.

Scotland’s heritage apple varieties will be ripe for tasting at this year’s Apple Day celebration on Sunday (October 22, from 12 noon until 5pm) Townhead Orchard.

This little gem of a place was planted several years ago, on an underused space at the back of Townhead Village Hall.

Over two days in November, 30 Scottish heritage fruit trees were planted in with expert guidance from the ‘Appletreeman’ Andrew Lear, and more than 70 volunteers from toddlers to pensioners, who helped to dig holes and plant trees.

This Sunday’s event at Townhead is one of a number of Apple Day activities supported by Helping Britain Blossom across Glasgow and surrounding areas.

The Clyde Valley was traditionally an apple growing area of Glasgow until as recently as the 1950s.

The Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Project and Clyde Valley Orchards Co-operative took part in a recent BBC Countryfile programme which explained some of the history of the area and the mini-revival taking place.

They spoke to Tom Clelland, whose family has grown fruit in the Clyde Valley for four generations.

“The heyday for the area was between 1900 and 1970, before it went into decline,” he told presenter Matt Baker. “My great grandfather arrived here around 1900, to grow strawberries, gooseberries and plums.

“Now I keep the orchard going for heritage reasons – because my family did it.”

The sheltered slopes of the Clyde and Avon Valley, with their well-drained soils and moderate rainfall, were particularly good for fruit growing, explains Sarah O’Sullivan, communications officer for the CAVLP.

“Their location, not far from some of Scotland’s major cities and towns, was also an important factor in their development, particularly during the period of industrial growth in the 19th century,” she adds.

“More than a source of income and food however, fruit became an important component of the area’s cultural heritage providing inspiration for songs, stories and art for generations.”

Unfortunately, traditional orchards could not compete with cheaper imports and new growing techniques that would provide the consistency demanded by supermarkets, and many Scottish orchards were grubbed up or built upon.

But thanks to a resurgence in demand for locally sourced food and support from organisations such as Helping Britain Blossom, a partnership between HEINEKEN and The Orchard Project which creates and restores community orchards, Scotland’s heritage fruit varieties are being brought to the fore once more.

Donna Marshall, CAVLP Programme Manager, explains: “Since 2011, 207 individuals have received training in orchard management and have been supported to develop orchard products which saw the launch of Clyde Valley Apple Juice in 2015.

“In addition, 22 orchards have been planted in local schools, a community orchard has been created at Kirkfieldbank, 14 orchards brought into active management and almost 1000 fruit trees have been planted.

“Oral histories from former fruit growers have been recorded and used as inspiration to write new songs with the Lanarkshire Songwriters, and family recipes have been collected by CAVLP Heritage.”

Fergus Walker, Helping Britain Blossom’s Glasgow Project Manager, explains: “Scotland has a rich heritage of apple growing and some fantastic varieties not commonly found in mainstream supermarkets.

“This event is a great opportunity to get people learning about them and enjoying tasting them.”

In the last two years, the project has created or restored 150 community orchards across the UK.

Fergus adds: “Community orchards have so much more to offer as well, environmentally and socially, which is why Helping Britain Blossom is sharing their magic across the UK by helping local people create, restore and access orchards.”

The family-friendly Apple Day celebrations of activity, fun and skill-sharing at Townhead Village Hall and Orchard will include an apple-themed Sunday lunch made by the Project Café, apple pressing, talks by orchard experts about community fruit growing, heritage apple variety tasting, make your own chutney sessions and, intriguingly, the longest peel competition.

All events are free but it is recommended to book the apple-themed Sunday lunch in advance.

The event builds on the success of other recent Apple Day Celebrations taking place across Glasgow, which included the Autumn Open Day at Alexandra Park Food Forest earlier this month, and the Harvest Market at North Kelvin Meadow and the Children's Wood.

Glasgow Botanics will also be taking part in Apple Day with its own celebrations this Saturday (October 21).

With the rise in popularity of fruit-tree growing across Glasgow, the Botanic Gardens are inviting people to show off their wares – everything from the apples themselves to whatever they have made from them – cheese, chutney, juice, cake and more.

This event is free and open to all but donations towards the cost will be gratefully received on the day. Organiser John Hancox is also looking for volunteers to help pick apples, make pies and more. Email for more information.

In addition, Helping Britain Blossom has created a free downloadable interactive guide to Apple Day 2017 with ideas on fun activities you can do to celebrate Scottish apple growing and community orchards in October. To download the guide visit: