Scotland

Scotland's tree of the year finalists revealed

The Last Ent of Affri Image copyright Niall Benvie/WTML
Image caption The Last Ent of Affric is one of the final six trees

Scotland is being asked to vote for its Tree of the Year.

The annual Woodland Trust competition has gathered nominations from members of the public.

Six finalists have been selected and the public will now be asked to choose an overall winner.

The top tree wins a £1,000 care package towards its upkeep and will be honoured at a ceremony in the Scottish Parliament, where a trophy will be presented.

This year's finalists are from Lanarkshire, Highlands, Aberdeenshire and the Borders.

Netty's tree Image copyright John Maher/WTML
Image caption Now famous: Netty's tree was the 2018 winner

Last year's Scottish Tree of the Year - Netty's Tree on Eriskay - now has a ceilidh tune written in its honour.

Other previous winners include The Suffragette Oak in Glasgow, the Ding Dong Tree in Prestonpans and the Big Tree on Orkney.

Voting via the Woodland Trust website is now open and ends at noon on 27 September.

The 2019 finalists are:

The Cadzow Oak - Hamilton

The Cadzow Oak Image copyright Niall Benvie/WTML
Image caption Ancient tree hunter Judy Dowling (right) and Monica Lennon MSP, who is Oak Champion in the Scottish Parliament, nominated the Cadzow Oak

This is one of 300 very ancient oaks growing on what were the hunting grounds of the Duke of Hamilton, and one of a handful easily accessible to the public within Chatelherault Country Park.

Between 600 and 800 years old it is a very large and hollow ancient tree which predates the nearby medieval castle.

It suffered damage from a fire set in its hollow a couple of years ago but survived. The Cadzow oakwoods provided much inspiration to the Cadzow Artists, a school of landscape painters including Horatio McCulloch (1805-67) and Samuel Bough (1822-78).

The Future Forest Tree - Glen Nevis

Future Forest Tree Image copyright Niall Benvie/WTML
Image caption Nevis Landscape Partnership volunteer Alison Stewart nominated the Future Forest Tree

This four-year-old Scots pine represents thousands reversing the deforestation of Glen Nevis thanks to Nevis Landscape Parternship's Future Forests initiative.

Seed was collected from gnarly ancient pines high in the glen and grown in planting boxes around Lochaber.

Local children planted the saplings back out in the glen in exclosures protecting them from grazing animals. The trees will grow, with the children, to become future guardians of the Glen.

Covenanter's Oak - Motherwell

The Covenanter's Oak Image copyright Niall Benvie/WTML
Image caption The Covenanter's Oak was nominated by Alex Marshall of 10th Motherwell Scouts

This oak tree on the Dalzell Estate in Motherwell is more than 800 years old and formed part of a deer park planted by King David I.

From 1638 to 1688, the Scottish Covenanters sought religious and civil freedom, refusing to subscribe to the view that the monarch was spiritual head of the Church.

Under threat of death for their beliefs, Covenanters had to hold clandestine outdoor services, and hundreds attended worship beneath this tree.

The Peace Tree - Stonehaven

The Peace Tree Image copyright Niall Benvie/WTML
Image caption Councillor Colin Pike chose The Peace Tree as his nomination

This oak was planted at Dunnottar Church in 1919 to mark the signing of the treaty ending World War One, and is officially recognised as a national war memorial.

One hundred years on, a service was held on the 6 July 2019 and was attended by Freemasons from the Province of Kincardineshire, principally from the Lodge of Stonehaven No.65, along with guests from local churches and organisations.

The original spade used to plant the tree was on display and is kept in the Masonic Lodge above the internal entrance door.

Once hidden away by brambles, the tree has been returned to view in recent years and celebrated its 100th birthday by producing a good crop of acorns for the first time in some years.

The Grand Old Man of Dawyck - Peebles

The Grand Old Man of Dawyk Image copyright Niall Benvie/WTML
Image caption The Grand Old Man of Dawyk was nominated by Graham Stewart, curator of Dawyck Botanic Garden

This 340-year-old European silver fir is the oldest tree in Dawyck Botanic Garden near Peebles. Collected from the mountains of Europe it bears battle scars from centuries of harsh weather, including the great storm of 1880, the hurricane of 1968 and the relentless battering of Boxing Day 1998.

Planted in the wake of the Battle of Bothwell Bridge and before the Jacobite rising, it has stood steady through many momentous periods in Scottish history.

The Last Ent of Affric - Glen Affric

The Last Ent of Affric Image copyright Niall Benvie/WTML
Image caption The Last Ent of Affric, nominated by Giles Brockman of Forest and Land Scotland

With the looks of an ancient tree-creature from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, this elm stood forgotten in a spur off Glen Affric until a 2012 site visit by FLS and Trees for Life staff.

It is the only one of its kind in the glen and likely the last survivor of some ancient forest, and now stands guard over the rebirth of a new native woodland in Affric.

The Last Ent of Affric has quietly lived hidden away from the ravages of Dutch Elm disease that is spreading west through the Highlands.

All images are copyrighted.

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