Borderers welcome new status for Scots Pine

The Scots Pine is Scotland's new national tree
The Scots Pine is Scotland's new national tree

Borderes have welcomed the choice of the Scots Pine as Scotland’s national tree.

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) hopes it will help promote, celebrate and get people talking about trees.

It was chosen following a vote organised by FCS in which 4,500 took part. More than half (2,374) voted for the native conifer, pushing the Rowan into second with 15 percent of the vote (687) and the Holly, which garnered 33 votes (seven percent) into third.

Berwickshire’s Paul Wheelhouse MSP, the Scottish Government’s Environment Minister, said: “The Scots Pine was an obvious choice and certainly the people’s choice. Its designation of being the national tree of Scotland will help create an iconic symbol to highlight the significant contribution trees make to our country. “

The idea came from member of the public, Alex Hamilton who petitioned Parliament and received cross-party support from MSPs.

Reaction in the Borders has been supportive. Borders Forest Trust director, Dr Jane Rosegrant said: “The voting and discussions gave people the chance to reflect on the variety and beauty of our native trees.

“We are especially interested to see if the choice will encourage further debate about accepting Scots Pine as a species native to the south of Scotland.”

Bob Fleet, chairman of Wooplaw, Scotland’s first community woodland, near Stow, said: “There’s a great smell from the high resin content when you’re working with the wood. It’s like being back in the forest.”

Ancrum-based log home builder, Chris Houston of Caledonia Log Homes, said: “It is one of my favourite trees and the mention of it always makes me think of a gnarly old Scots pine behind my parents house, bent and twisted by constant westerly winds leaning over to one side.

“It really is iconic and I can relate to it throughout my life, taking me back to my parents, my young exciting bird watching and, when travelling, seeing a Scots pine would make me think of home.

“It probably is the right choice and will have a fond place in many Scots hearts as well as in visitors who come to Scotland for our scenery and wildlife.

“It was a tree of the old Caledonian forests and seeing a red squirrel chattering on a trunk or deer walking past makes you nostalgic.”