SPECIAL SPRUCE IS ON TREE SHORTLIST
Public urged to get behind vote
Strath residents are being urged to get behind a special spruce and vote for it in Scotland’s Tree of the Year competition.
The now magnificent tree on Abercairney Estate was one of a handful of saplings pulled up from a First World War battlefield by Crieff soldier David McCabe over a hundred years ago.
It is now one of six trees in the running to take the Tree of the Year title.
Lt McCabe died from his wounds in 1917, and was never able to see the tree grow into maturity, but it now stands tall as a permanent memorial at Abercairny Estate.
It came to the wider public’s attention during this summer’s Crieff Remembers commemorations of WW1.
And to mark the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, a wreath was also made from the spruce’s cones and taken by a team of cadets cycling from Crieff to Passchendaele, who laid it on the grave of Lt McCabe in France en route.
The Abercairney spruce was nominated by Daniel Parker from Abercairny Estate and Crieff Remembers organisers Festivals Crieff. It was the great-grandfather of Daniel’s wife Anna Moray Parker, who had the foresight to plant the sapling on the estate and mark its spot with a plaque. Anna told the Herald: “The remarkable survival of a fragile sapling from the battlefield and its transformation into the 100 year old tree is a powerful symbol of hope. We are proud to be collaborating with the McCabe Family and Crieff Remembers in recognising David McCabe and so many of his comrades who gave their lives for us fighting in such terrible conditions on the Western Front.”
Jean Ann Scott Miller of Festivals Crieff described the news of the tree being shortlisted as “fantastic.” She commented: “David McCabe’s story was one of the most poignant features of the Crieff Remembers programme, particularly through the young army cyclists who laid a beautiful wreath of cones from the tree on his grave in France before taking part in the Parade and Drumhead Service on July 30.
“It’s a wonderful extension of our important contribution to the national commemoration of the First World War, and we’re so grateful to the McCabe family and the Abercairny Estate for enabling us to tell the story. We do hope that the public will really get behind this nomination, and that the tree will go forward to the European Tree of the Year Competition.”
The tree that wins the competition, which aims to celebrate the country’s best trees, will receive a £ 1000 care package, which can cover an expert health check, provide interpretation or educational materials, or go towards holding a celebration in honour of the tree.
Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust’s chief executive, said: “Once again the public have nominated many fantastic examples of trees with truly inspirational stories, which highlight how intrinsic trees are in people’s lives.
“It’s a reminder of why we need to care for individual trees and that they still need true protection in law from development or mismanagement.”
The Abercairney Spruce will need to see off competition from The Beauly Sycamore, The Big Tree in Orkney, The Carnegie Oak in Dunfermline, The Greenock Cut Oak in Inverclyde, and the Old Holly Bush in Aberdeenshire’s Castle Fraser to take the title.
Voting for Scotland’s Tree of the Year opened on Monday and will run for a month, with the winner being announced in December at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
● To vote, visit woodlandtrust.org. uk/treeoftheyear
We do hope that the public really get behind this nomination . . . Jean Ann Scott Miller
Admiring The magnificent Abercairney Spruce
Lasting reminder Anna Moray Parker of Abercairney Estate and Jean Ann Scott Miller of Crieff Remembers