|Scots Pine Rannock Forest|
The exploitation of this tree for timber, for fire wood, the overgrazing by sheep deer the deliberate clearance to deter wolves and the dispossessed Scots all contributed to the decline of Caledonian Forest which once covered much of the Scottish Highlands. Today only 1% of this ancient forest remains but there are plans to restore some areas with trees grown from the seeds of native ancient pines only from Scotland.
Near Aviemore Abernethy Forest, in the Cairngorm mountain, is the largest native Scots pine wood in Britain. It is National reserve which also includes a river, lochs and moor land. I have walked in this forest in Scotland many times. Here the Scots Pine is known in Clarsach Nan Craobh - The Harp of Trees. When the wind blows through the pine needles and branches it creates a very magical sound, and it is a magical place full of the smell of the pine resin fresh and invigorating mingles with the sweet smell of the heather. In the heat of summer the sound of the pine cones exploding to release their seeds is quite startling. The wild life is in the forest is wonderful I have seen in forest crested tits, crossbills, red squirrels and deer.
Loch Garten, in the middle of the reserve, is famous for its ospreys. They nest nearby and can be clearly seen from the Osprey Centre. To see these birds flying overhead is an awe inspiring experience. The parents can be seen feeding the chicks in the nest via the live video pictures relayed back to the centre, The Capercaillie woodland grouse is another bird that can be seen from the centre. These are endangered birds and have shrunk from over 20,000 in Scotland in the 70s until it is now estimated that there is only 2000 left in the wild. During April to May the Centre has early morning spring lek Caper-watch . The display of lekking by these birds is well worth the early morning wake up call. The RSPB manage the site so that people from hides can see these iconic birds without disturbing their mating rituals.
The Black Woods of Rannoch Forest near Pittlockery is full of native trees including the doughty oak, aspen, birch and hazel. There's a stand of ancient Scots pine, with their reddish trunks, near Airigh nan Cuileag where if you are lucky you may see three red animals - deer, squirrel and pine marten. The Pine martin hunts red squirrels through the tree tops. The forest is jointly managed by the Forestry Commission and Scottish Heritage, and contains important communities of species characteristic of old pine woods, particularly lichens, fungi and a number of rare ferns, horsetails and club mosses.
Walking in the stand of ancient Scots pine you can imagine how the forest would have in when it was the haunt of cattle raiders and outlaws,rebels and the dispossessed from the clearances in Scotland. It is so different from the serried ranks of pine grown for commercial use which have caused so many people to despise this beautiful life giving tree.
Pine - Alim in the Ogham is contrasted with Oak in the Ogham Calendar both symbolising the Irish God of the air Lugh. One is evergreen and represents the new born sun at the Winter Solstice and Oak represents the mature sun at midsummer. To draw the few of the pine encourages you to put the past behind you to look ahead and plan for new beginnings. It is a time for optimism and to look on the bright side of life. The Pine burns with a fragrant bright white flame. Its flame it is believed in Scottish folklore will drive out ghosts and malicious spirits from a home or a heart.
It is now near the end of season of the year which begins with the burning of Yule log - traditionally Pine. The pine tree has become central to modern Christmas celebrations. The Scots Pine has now been replaced in popularity by the Norway spruce as a tree in the home at for Christmas. I prefer the Scots pine in its natural habitat amongst the fauna and flora it supports.
With Reiki Blessings
Wishing you a Happy New Year
Wishing you a Happy New Year