Friday the 26th of February

...to the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Tree planted by priest over 100 years ago named Scotland’s Tree of the Year

A spruce tree on Eriskay, Outer Hebrides, which was planted by a Catholic priest over 100 years ago, has been named Scotland’s Tree of the Year and will now compete in a vote organised by BBC’s One Show to be the UK’s contender for European Tree of the Year.

Netty’s Tree was nominated in the Woodland Trust competition by Eoina Wilson who lives in Inverness but comes from the island originally. Judges chose six trees from public nominations which were then put to an online vote. The result was announced live on BBC One’s The One Show on Wednesday 17th October, along with the winning trees for Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

Planted over 100 years ago by the poet, priest and land rights activist Fr Allan MacDonald, Netty’s Tree was until recently the only tree on the windswept island of Eriskay. Netty MacDonald lived on the nearby croft and encouraged all the island’s children to play on the tree as their cries and laughter reminded her of her own family who had grown up and moved away to work. Netty died aged 88 in 2010 but her daughter Anne MacIntyre is back on the croft and continues the tradition. Fr MacDonald would surely approve – his best known poem was Eilein na h’Oige – The Island of the Young.

The results for Wales, Northern Ireland and England’s Tree of the Year competitions are:

Northern Ireland: The Giant Sequoia, Castlewellan Forest Park, County Down
England: Nellie’s Tree, Aberford, Leeds
Wales: Pwllpriddog Oak, Rhandirmwyn, Carmarthenshire

Now in its fifth year the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year contest aims to showcase the UK’s best trees to help drive up interest in their value and protection. The four national winners have also been put forward for a further competition to be the UK’s contender for European Tree of the Year.

The One Show has opened voting for the public to decide which of the four trees should represent the UK in the European contest which is run by the Environmental Partnership Association.

Visit the One Show homepage to find out more and place your vote: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007tcw7

For more on the Woodland Trust see: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk

For more on Charter for Trees, Woods and People see: treecharter.uk

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Picture: Anne MacIntyre at Netty’s Tree. (John Maher/WTML)