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Yew tree, Argyll and Bute

A hidden gem, high on the hillsides of windswept Scotland

3 March 2008

This week's tree may not look anything special at first glance but is in fact quite a unique tree. Surviving precariously on the edge of a hill overlooking the A82, Loch Lomond Road the yew has a girth of over six metres. One of just 34 yews recorded by the Ancient Tree Hunt in Scotland to date, its true size is hidden behind all manner of bracken and other growth.

Link to yew in Argyll & Bute

The tree was discovered by ATH volunteer verifier Mike Murray in the summer of 2007; he was in Loch Lomond for the day verifying a list of recorded trees that were in the area. Mike takes up the story:

"I did have a grid reference for this particular tree and parked the car half a mile south before walking north along the old road until my GPS told me to head inland. I crossed the main road and opposite was a cottage with a driveway and the gps pointing into the woods beside it.

I knocked on the door to find some holidaymakers at home who just told me to go ahead and hunt about. So I sprachled up through the bracken as pointed for about 75m; then south for 50m; then east for 50m and back to the cottage thinking that it must be gone. Walking down the drive again... Bingo!

There it was right above the road and I had walked straight past it and sweated blood searching. Not suprising as it is not really recognisable as a tree, its huge girth masked by bracken, brambles and secondary growth. It is very lucky that this tree survived the massive improvement of the Loch Lomond road undertaken 15 or 20 years ago.

I went back and knocked on the door to tell the holidaymakers of my success and the couple got all excited and came out to see what I had been searching for. I explained the work of ATH and they helped measure the tree and took my photo and said they would go home and check out the website.

I really enjoy being a Verifier as the duty takes one to all sorts of places, nooks and crannies that otherwise, one would not necessarily explore. Also the pleasure and awe at finding a massive tree that has not been recorded before is very satisfying."

Yew tree, Argyll and Bute. Photo Mike Murray