Dec 17 2019

Loch Arkaig Ancient Tree Day – Highlights!

Hello Loch Arkaig ancient tree recorders!


It seems like forever ago that we were scrambling across the hillside in search of Arkaig’s ancient trees. Thank you so much for all that came to help us record an impressive 80 trees, which revealed a special mix of Scots Pine, Alder, Oak, Birch and Holly; many of which were ancient too!


There were many fantastic trees recorded on this trip, but here are some of the highlights discovered by each of the three groups.

We couldn’t have done it without your help, so thank you once again for helping us to capture such amazing trees for the ancient tree inventory.


Hopefully we will be able to get your ancient trees displayed on the ATI website very shortly!


Group 1


Tree 1 – Alder



An ancient alder with a girth of 4.96m. This alder tree is a coppice form and has a rowan growing within it! It supports some interesting fungi and lots of moss and lichen, as well as having exposed roots due to erosion from its waterside location.


Tree 2 – Holly



A beautiful holly with girth of 2.22m. This holly was located on the edge of a wall/dyke and has a pollard form. It supports lots of moss and lichen and shows evidence of the activity of invertebrates.


Tree 3 – Scots pine


A large scots pine with its roots growing around a huge boulder, adding character to an area of birch woodland. (Sorry no image available!)


Group 2


Tree 1 – Oak / Scots pine



A two-for-one oak and Scots pine combo! The oak is a three-stemmed phoenix form, the largest stem having a girth of 2.04m. It forms a root complex with the neighbouring Scots pine which also has a girth of 2.02m. Between them these tree have lots of veteran features.


Tree 2 – giant oak!



This oak is an ecosystem all of its own! It is covered in a diversity of epiphytes including mosses, lichens, ferns and even a rowan tree growing as a ‘cuckoo’ within it. It is a phoenix form – formerly a maiden tree which is on its side and now a multi-stem. The largest stem has a girth of 228m. The whole tree is so big the photo had to be taken in panorama mode.


Tree 3 – Scots pine



This wonderful Scots pine can definitely be described as a ‘granny pine’. The two large trunks (largest stem 3.38m in girth) are fused together at the bottom and form a hollow which looks the perfect place for wildlife to shelter from the harsh Scottish weather!


Group 3


Tree 1 – Scots pine (with Osprey nest!)



An impressive Scots pine with wide spreading crown which supports an osprey nest! Black plastic is fastened on the trunk to protect the nest from predators, and rowan seedlings growing in the fork in the tree.


Tree 2 – Scots pine (fallen)



A fallen Scots pine on Fir island. There is a 20+ year old regenerated Scots pine on the trunk showing how long this tree has been on the ground! The base of the root plate shows signs of charring from fire damage. The fallen tree supports a wealth of lichens, moss and fungi.


Tree 3 – Alder



A coppiced alder with lots of epiphytic ferns and mosses. Girth of the coppice stool is 2.85m. This tree has cracks and crevices which could potentially provide good habitat niches for bats.



This is just a small selection of the fantastic trees spotted on this trip, and it was difficult to choose which to include in this summary as they were all beautiful and ecologically important in their own varied ways!

Thanks so much for all of your help, we couldn’t have done it without you!


Tom Reed

Citizen Science Officer

Ancient Tree Inventory



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