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Forget about complicated and expensive wellness regimes, take advantage of the health benefits of spending time with nature, growing your own tasty vegetables while watching the seasons progress. Physical wellbeing while being in tune with one’s environment. Mental wellbeing while working on your own or, if you choose, in a group. Studies show that being outdoors can reduce depression and anxiety, lower blood pressures, boost creativity and cognitive abilities. Having an allotment can bring all this and cheap, tasty, nutritious vegetables to boot (often a muddy one).

Just outside Cullen, adjacent to the B9018 Cullen to Keith road, Cullen Community Allotment Association lease a lovely south sloping site from the Lawtie Trust. The site has 35 plots; 22 whole plots (approximately 9 by 18 metre) and 13 half plots (approximately 9 by 9 metres). There are also 4 raised box beds (2.4m x 1m and 600mm high) to provide gardening opportunities to those with disabilities or those who cannot manage a full-size (or half-sized) allotment. Currently all the plots are taken but each year a few plots become vacant so, if you are interested in leasing a plot, contact the membership secretary and put your name on the waiting list. Annual rental is £50 for a full plot and £25 for a half plot. The allotment site and association is self-managed by officers and a committee appointed by members at the annual general meeting held each autumn.

Plotters, as they are called, range from working mums to retired granddads. Some spend every spare moment at their plot and some don’t have that amount of time to spare. There are rotas to mow, to clean, to strim and to maintain the site. There are working parties to develop the site, the most recent work being to build the raised box beds, and there are social events. The plotters are a friendly bunch and are more than happy to lean on their spade and pass the time of day because, along with combatting carrot fly, mice, pigeons and the on-site pheasant, that it what plotting is about. That and excavating the muck mountain during the winter months Or, with great pride and satisfaction, harvesting your very own early tatties.