This is one of The Tree Council’s 60 educational tree planting schemes with children that were inspired by the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Each tree, provided by The Tree Council, was chosen and planted by volunteers in the community.
Twenty children from the Lochcarron Primary School and Playgroup in the Scottish Highlands, accompanied by their parents, assembled one summer morning in 2013 to plant a Diamond Jubilee rowan.
The Princess Royal landed in a helicopter at nearby Achnasheen and was welcomed by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty, Mr Ewen Mackinnon, and councillors from Lochcarron.
The site chosen for the Jubilee tree was on the Glencarron Estate, owned by Tree Council Chairman Alasdair Douglas. The tree now stands within the new Diamond Jubilee Wood which the children also helped to plant that day as part of extensive woodland creation and regeneration on this Wester Ross estate. The celebratory tree was planted just off the main path to two popular mountains which is used by an estimated 1,000 hill walkers each year.
Adjacent to the site are the remains of trees that formed part of the ancient Caledonian pine forest which covered the northern part of Scotland from the last ice age (about 11,000 years ago) until some 5,000 years ago. The stumps and branches still retain their bark, preserved by the peat’s acidic properties which have killed the fungi and bacteria that would otherwise have rotted the bark and wood.
The weather was wonderful, after being wet and windy in the days leading up to the royal event. As well as the Jubilee Diamond Tree, more than 100 other trees were planted, including willows and some oaks from royal acorns (from the Prince of Wales’s garden), under the watchful eyes of staff from forest management company Scottish Woodlands Ltd and the Woodland Trust.
The children arrived in two minibuses, laid on by the estate. The Princess Royal helped some of them with the planting and quizzed them about the types of trees.
Scottish Woodlands staff explained to children that they were indigenous trees that would grow well in the area and could cope with wet conditions. They also explained why deer fences and fertiliser were needed, and why the trees would not grow in peat so had to be planted where there were minerals and good soil.
The children returned to the minibuses for drinks and shortbread before travelling back to Lochcarron. They had come from a radius of 40 miles around Lochcarron, a very scattered community, so it was an opportunity for them and their parents to get together during the school holidays.
Photographs - top to bottom:
- 1. Helping the Princess are Oran MacPherson-Raffell (10) and Freya McCowan (3).
- 2. Making sure that the young tree stands straight.
- 3. The Princess Royal stands by, spade at the ready.
- 4. Mounting excitement as the royal guest arrives.