Trees bloom for Re­mem­brance Day

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

A PRO­JECT is hop­ing to re­store Glen­cruit­ten’s Cathe­dral of Trees, planted to hon­our the fallen of the Great War.

As Re­mem­brance Sun­day ap­proaches this week­end, one pro­ject is plan­ning to re­store the Cathe­dral of Trees, the only liv­ing tree cathe­dral in Scot­land.

The Glen­cruit­ten Cathe­dral of Trees was planted in the 1920s by Alexan­der Mackay, who bought the land ex­actly 100 years ago in 1917. His grand­daugh­ter, the Rev Nicola Moll, who started the Cathe­dral of Trees Restora­tion Pro­ject, said Alexan­der wished to cre­ate a war me­mo­rial as well as re­build life and the town af­ter the war, mod­elled the lay­out on St An­drews Cathe­dral.

‘A man who plants trees has en eye on eter­nity’, Mrs Moll said, but nearly a cen­tury on the cathe­dral of trees needs ur­gent work to fix the drains, re-es­tab­lish the path, and re­store its nat­u­ral and spir­i­tual beauty.

The pro­ject’s web­site ex­plains: ‘Alexan­der Mackay was a Dundee businessman who made his for­tune in the USA and moved his fam­ily to Glen­cruit­ten House in Ar­gyll af­ter his house in Broughty Ferry burned down.

‘Al­though in his six­ties when he bought the house, he was a man of huge en­ergy and soon be­gan a pro­gramme of foresta­tion over much of the es­tate. He saw this as an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to­wards the re­place­ment of trees which had been lost to the na­tion through the de­mand for tim­ber dur­ing the Great War.

‘Forestry work and the build­ing of tracks and wood­land paths also gave em­ploy­ment to lo­cal peo­ple – many of them for­mer sol­diers re­turn­ing home from the trenches.

‘As the years passed, he no­ticed the trees in one val­ley – a beau­ti­ful spot that looked to­wards Ben Cru­achan – failed to flour­ish. Rather than aban­don the area, he de­cided to re­deem it and cre­ate a Cathe­dral of Trees, his me­mo­rial to the First World War and a cel­e­bra­tion of both his love of trees and his strong faith.

‘To our knowl­edge, it is the only liv­ing cathe­dral of its kind in Scot­land. In 2016, three of Alexan­der’s rel­a­tives de­cided to take on the restora­tion of this site so the lo­cal com­mu­nity and any­one who is search­ing for quiet spot for re­flec­tion would be able to en­joy it.

‘We hope that once the site is back to its for­mer glory, many peo­ple will ben­e­fit from it for their own en­joy­ment as well as for the ben­e­fit of the wider pub­lic in­clud­ing schools, com­mu­nity groups and pil­grims.’

There will be a re­mem­brance ser­vice in Oban on Sun­day to hon­our those who have died in the line of duty.

A pa­rade will depart from the Cor­ran Halls to the War Me­mo­rial at 10.45am and a two min­utes’ si­lence will com­mence at 11am.

Ev­ery­one is wel­come to at­tend.

Gleaner Oils will be dis­play­ing pop­pies across its fleet of com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles to show sup­port for the Re­mem­brance Day.

The me­mo­rial stones at the Glen­cruit­ten Cathe­dral of Trees in Oban.

Gleaner Oils is sup­port­ing Re­mem­brance Day with pop­pies.

The stun­ning Cathe­dral of Trees re­quires restora­tion.

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