A solitary and ancient elm tree – the only one of its kind in Glen Affric – has been nominated for this year’s Tree of the Year.
The elm, the size of whose trunk suggests that it is over 300 years old, has stood, long-forgotten until a recent site visit in 2012 by local staff of Forestry and Land Scotland and Trees for Life.
Looking like one of the tree-shepherds from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings story, It has been given the name of the Last Ent of Affric, thanks to its unique position – and role.
Giles Brockman, FLS Environment Advisor, said;
“This gnarled old beauty, damaged by some great storm back in the mists of time, has regrown and has quietly lived hidden away from the ravages of Dutch Elm disease.
“It is also in an intriguing location where you would choose to plant a tree. Growing on a rocky outflow of a mountain stream, where there is very little soil under the moss that covers the rocks, we think it must be a survivor of a forest long departed.
“Given its location, its isolation – and it’s Entish face – it’s very easy to imagine it as one of Tolkien’s Ents standing sentinel over the rebirth of a new native woodland in Affric!
“This is definitely a tree that deserves the accolade of Tree of the Year.”
The veteran tree, which also serves as an owl roost, is hidden 11 km from the end of the road in Glean nan Ciche, a side spur off Glen Affric that is managed by Forestry and Land Scotland.
You can vote for the Last Ent of Affric online.