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The Kissing Beech

Can you feel the Love in the wood? It seems that many people can...

12 February 2010

Seeing as how it is the season of romance, our Tree of the Moment has something of a love theme..

Layering beech is an extremely rare commodity in Scotland but this beautiful specimen can be found in the grounds of Kilravock Castle in Inverness-shire. It first became known as the Kissing Beech after a member of an early owner’s family and a housemaid were witnessed in an illicit embrace under its spreading limbs.

Its trunk, measuring almost 5 metres when it was recorded for the Ancient Tree Hunt last year, has its characteristic smooth grey bark embellished with countless engravings of initials, hearts & arrows and, with its romantic reputation, has long been known as a “trysting tree” – a regular haunt for the love struck and now rather popular with the tree hugging fraternity too!

The castle was built in 1460 and has been host to some important and historic figures through the years; Mary Queen of Scots, Robert Burns and Bonnie Prince Charlie to name but a few.

It is thought that the tree was planted in the late 17th century so is of significant age – particularly for a beech tree. It has been regularly pollarded and is in remarkably good condition, with numerous limbs having layered to create small trees in their own right. So now, after the romance, the off-spring have sprung!

The Kissing Beech: Photo by Michael Aldridge