Shortlist revealed for Scotland’s Tree of the Year

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The only tree on a windswept Hebridean island, an ancient elm that travelled the world and a willow from Napoleon Bonaparte’s grave are among the contenders to be named Scotland’s Tree of the Year.

Following public nominations earlier in the year, a panel of judges has settled on six finalists that will now go to a public vote.

They are the Camperdown Elm in Dundee, the Filo Pastry Tree in Stranraer, the Flodden Tree near Coldstream, Malloch’s Oak at Strathallan, Napoleon’s Tree in Ecclefechan and Netty’s Tree on the Isle of Eriskay.

The winning tree will scoop a £1,000 care package, funded by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

“From botanical oddities to trees with historic connections or simply at the heart of their communities, these are great examples of trees which are cherished,” said Sanjay Singh of the People’s Postcode Lottery. “I hope the competition will encourage more people to seek them out, enjoy them and vote for them.”

The competition is run in support of the Charter for Trees, Woods and People. Previous winners include Glasgow’s Suffragette Oak, the Ding Dong Tree in Prestonpans and Orkney’s Big Tree.

The winning tree will also go forward for the 2019 European Tree of the Year competition.

The 180-year-old Camperdown Elm is a unique mutant form of contorted weeping elm discovered in woods near Dundee in 1835, now part of the city’s Camperdown Park.

The Filo Pastry Tree, the largest Polylepis australis in the UK, was named by local pupils who compared its bark to a spring roll they had recently enjoyed.

The Flodden Tree, a 30m-tall sycamore at Hirsel Estate in the Borders, is thought to have been planted in tribute to the Scottish dead at the battle of Flodden.

Malloch’s Oak, in the grounds of Strathallan Castle, is several hundred years old. It is said that during a terrible famine the local miller, Malloch, hoarded flour and grain instead of distributing it to the starving locals. He was strung up from this tree for his sins.

Napoleon’s Tree in the grounds of Kirkconnel Hall Hotel grew from the cutting of a weeping willow that stood over Bonaparte’s original graveside on the Atlantic island of St Helena.

Netty’s Tree, until recently the only tree on Eriskay was planted more than 100 years ago by the poet, priest and land rights activist Father Allan McDonald. Netty MacDonald lived on the nearby croft and encouraged all the island’s children to play on the spruce because their laughter reminded her of her own family, who had grown up and moved away to work. Netty died in 2010 but her daughter Anne is back on the croft and continues the tradition.

To vote, visit the Woodland Trust website at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk.