Scots Pine – Scotland’s National Tree

30 Jan

Lonesome PineYes I believe it’s official and contrary to the hornet’s nest that propositions for the golden eagle as Scotland’s National Bird kicked up – this one has made it on merit with the Rowan tree in second place a long way behind.

I have long been an admirer of the Scot’s Pine and it has often graced my photographs – usually standing in solitude against a blue horizon. Not that I’m claiming all of the photographs in this post are mine as I have found many of them with the help of Google. With the lack of a filing system in my own galleries it would take me too long to construct the page so I’m doing it the lazyman’s way.

The Scot’s Pine – or is it Scots Pine? I’m never sure but like I said it’s often pictured in solitary splendour against a blue backdrop —


Sometimes they come in pairs – on postcards anyway —


or even a threesome —


and if you are really lucky – a whole pine forest.

Now this is my photo —


No doubt some cleverclogs will tell me they aren’t Scot’s Pines but I don’t mind – it’s one of my favourite photos taken where Culbin Forest meets the sea and walking on a soft bed of pine needles with the smell of resin on the warm air is my kind of bliss.

Mature forests of Scots Pine are a rarity in Scotland. This is a crying shame and confirms the vandalism practised by the Forestry Commission and owners of the vast sporting estates that make up Scotland’s wild places. They have covered our hillsides with fast growing Scandinavian species of pine, spruce, fir and larch. It will take several decades but hopefully they have learned from their mistakes which to be kind were brought on by the austere post war period to provide pit-props for the coal industry.

Native birds and animals cannot exist in such a dense soulless habitat and this is seen in the dangerous decline in numbers of the capercaillie —

Wood grouse

The pine martin —


and other’s such as the Scottish crossbill —


dovetailedNot only is the Scots Pine a feast for the eyes as it grows but it can be made into handsome furniture which in true Scottish fashion is at it’s best when ‘well oiled’.

Thanks to all the photographers who have had their work pirated for this Post and if you get in touch I will ensure credit is given where it’s due.

Particularly to fellow blogger – Reena of ‘Missing Moments’ who was fortunate enough to have these thirsty crossbills visit her garden in early January —

Reena of Missing Moments

So – if you want to plant a tree in Scotland – why not plant a Scots Pine —

Scots pine cones

and watch it grow into one like this —


Pinus Silvestris – sometimes known here as the Caledonian Pine or Scot’s Pine. It can be found all across Europe and beyond to Eastern Siberia. A strange choice really as I understand it was brought here by the Romans and probably explains why I felt at home in Istria where their Legions have also left their mark. Not only did they leave the welll preserved coliseum behind in Pula —


but they also left the ancestors of the lovely pine trees on the Adriatic coast south of Porec that I was fortunate to camp amongst for a summer not so long ago —

Croatia 2008 025

Cosmopolitan Pinus Silvestris or Caledonian Pine – a fitting choice for a mongrel nation 🙂

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Posted by on January 30, 2014 in out and about


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