‘Tales from the Orchard’

Welcome to ‘Tales from the Orchard’, a story writing competition for children age 6-13. Earlier this year we started a project at the Community Orchard at Mount Stuart to make an illustrated map of the orchard with an accompanying interactive children’s game. Because of coronavirus of course, we had to cancel our planned activities at the orchard. Instead, we are creating a book, Tales from the Orchard, illustrated by Ruth Slater.

Over the coming weeks we will post Ruth’s pictures of all the apple characters one at a time and invite children to join the competition to write us a short story or poem about each one. Eventually, when “all this” is over, we plan to print the map and compile the best stories and poems together and we will invite everyone who contributed to take part in a celebration once it’s safe.

In the meantime, here are the instructions for the first story:

Story No.1 – ‘The Tale of Scotch Dumpling’

All around the Mount Stuart community orchard, the buds on the branches of the apple trees are poking their heads out into the bright spring sunshine ready to say hello to the world. But what do they find? There’s nobody about. No gardeners, no people walking their dogs, no children playing, no tourists. Nobody. Nobody here to witness the boughs of the apple trees bursting into blossom. Nobody here to sniff the air and breathe in the glorious scent. Nobody here to dance in the confetti of petals as the blossom showers the ground. Nobody at all.

Well, not quite nobody. In this eerily quiet, deserted landscape, some curious apple-like characters have taken up temporary residence in the orchard. We don’t know much about them, but we do know that there’s a whole bunch of them. We know their names, and what they look like and we have managed to find out some intriguing little snippets of information about each of them but we don’t know what they are up to!

So, we need your help. If you have a vivid imagination (and we know that lots of you do) we would like you to help us tell the first tale from the orchard.

The first character we would like to introduce is a wise little old lady with rosy apple-y cheeks, who lives in tiny cottage made of woven willow at the edge of the orchard. She is so old that no-one can remember her real name, but everyone calls her “Scotch Dumpling”.


In no more than 400 words, can you tell us YOUR story of how Scotch Dumpling earned her nick-name? Send us your story before Sunday evening’s deadline, via email (info@achievementbute.org.uk) or WhatsApp (01700 505558). The best story will be published on the website and eventually in the book, ‘Tales from the Orchard’.