Our top columnist Geoffrey Shryhane takes a look at a remarkable discovery...that tastes good too!
It’s not often your “My World” writer is sworn to secrecy before embarking on a story.
But it happened on Sunday when I had the rare privilege of inspecting what is certainly the biggest grape vine in the wild in Wigan.
Well, Appley Bridge to be exact.
Postman Chris Scaldwell – whose superb photographs appear on this newspaper’s letters page – was keen the share the amazing find.
But he feared that if the location was reveled, possibly vandals would decend.
The massive vine, heavy with red fruit, was tucked away – not at all easy to find and in a secret wild garden of its own.
Our trudge to see the vine began...and along with Chris’ daughter Macy, we persevered and finally the massive twisting vine came into view.
And the grapes – juicy and sweet – were amazingly and utterly delicious.
Chris and his wife Sue are now embarking on a wine making exercise, although they admit to being “a bit inexperienced”.
That said the popular postie makes much-praised sloe gin at Christmas.
Chris, 40, said: “I spotted the vine while out taking wildlife photos. To be honest, I was amazed.
“I can only assume that the vine was once small and part of a garden. But it could be that the people moved away and the vine was left to its own devices. I’d very much like to know how long it’s taken to spread along the ground and then swarmed up the nearby trees.”
Chris has shown the vine in the wild to several friends – and all have been amazed, admitting: “We’ve never ever seen anything like it.”
One declared that the grapes were tastier than those in the shops.
“What amazes me,” said Chris, “is that these vines are untouched and despite not being trimmed, they thrive and get bigger and bigger.”
One theory is that the vine success has been helped by the sweltering summer.