With the improvements to the drainage system, the repair and upgrade of the paths and now, the felling of the surrounding conifers which were were overshadowing the site - surely, we were ready to start the replanting of the interior.
Well - not quite. Restoring the Cathedral of Trees is like walking up a mountain. There is always another hill to climb before you get to the summit.
We had noticed over the winter that during periods of very heavy rain, the current ‘restored’ drainage system was not really capable of coping with the level of water flowing off the surrounding hills. The solution was to create French drains within the nave area radiating off the central path and flowing into the side ditches. These in turn were dug out and a layer of hard core stone laid along along the bottoms. Finally the broken drainage pipes running under the transepts were dug out to create open ditches.
This work will bring several positive outcomes:
It will carry away the standing water which - particularly when it freezes in Winter - has caused damage and die back to the central yews (pillars) in the nave. It creates parallel ditches - the South one operating routinely and the North one coming into action during very wet weather. It provides improved linkage with the river which exits the site and run downs to Pagan Loch.