Storms fells iconic palm tree in Scotland's scenic Hamish Macbeth village

A landmark tree that had been standing for more than half a century on the shores of one of Scotland’s most beautiful villages has become the latest casualty of this winter’s storms.

The iconic palm tree, one of a number lining Plockton bay in Wester Ross was felled during wild weather on Sunday night.

Dramatic pictures show how the trunk was snapped right through, leaving a ragged stump and a pile of branches on the ground.

The exact age of the tree is not known for certain but it is believed to have been planted in the 1950s.

An iconic palm tree that had stood in Plockton for around 70 years was brought down as gales lashed the picturesque Highland village on Sunday. Picture: Kathleen Macrae

It had been growing in the front garden of the award-winning Plockton Hotel, in the village’s Harbour Street, as long as most people could remember.

Read More

Read More
Storm Barra: Danger warnings as more trees expected to fall as Barra sweeps in a...

It’s thought the tree was approaching the end of its natural lifespan and was likely weakened, leaving it vulnerable to strong gusts of wind that struck the harbour on Sunday.

Mags Pearson, who runs the hotel with her husband Alan, said: “We were sad to lose our iconic palm tree in the storm last night.

The new view from the Plockton hotel garden after the palm tree came down - still stunning but missing a familiar landmark. Picture: Mags Pearson

“We are usually quite sheltered but were hit with gusts which took the tree down just before midnight.

“We believe it was planted around the 1950s and has been both an iconic part of the village and the hotel for many years.

“It's always a surprise for new visitors to find palm trees in the Scottish Highlands.

“Many visitors and locals have sat around the palm tree while taking in the stunning view from our beer garden.

Plockton is renowned for the palm trees lining its main street, planted in the 1950s and featuring in countless photographs and postcards over the decades. Picture: Kathleen Macrae

“Our tree is the second one along the waterfront to have gone in the last couple of months but replanting has already begun.”

Mr Pearson spent most of Monday chopping up the splintered remains and clearing the garden for guests, leaving a notable gap in the skyline.

Plockton resident and neighbour Charlie M MacRae, a former chairman of the local community council, expressed his sadness that the tree had been brought down.

He said: “I’m sorry to see another iconic palm tree lost in a gale as the one in the garden next door to the hotel fell down a few months ago.”

The palm tree was a striking feature in the Plockton Hotel garden for many years, popular with locals and visitors alike. Picture: Kathleen Macrae

According to locals, the palm tree was among a batch brought to Plockton by a man called Tom Cload, who was gardening correspondent for the Oban Times, when he moved to the village in the 1950s.

Plockton rose to international fame in the 1990s when it was cast as Lochdubh, the fictitious Highland setting for the popular BBC Scotland police drama Hamish Macbeth.

The village also featured as a location in the cult 1973 horror film The Wicker Man, starring Edward Woodward and Vincent Price.

The settlement, with its picturesque bay surrounded by mountains overlooking Loch Carron, is a magnet for tourists and frequently named as one of the most picturesque spots in the country.

The tropical-looking trees – cabbage palms, native to New Zealand – have long been a source of interest for locals and visitors alike, appearing in countless photographs and postcards.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven’t already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.