A solitary spruce tree on the Isle of Eriskay is one of six contenders to become Scotland’s tree of the year for 2018 – if it gets enough support from islanders.
Netty’s Tree, battling the elements near Netty MacDonald’s croft in Eriskay, was planted more than 100 years ago by the poet, priest and land rights activist Father Allan McDonald and was until a few years ago the only tree on the island.
Netty encouraged all the island’s children to play on the tree as their cries and laughter reminded her of her own family who had grown up and moved away to work.
Netty died some years ago but her daughter Anne is back on the croft and continues the tradition. Father McDonald would surely approve. His best-known poem was Eilein na h'Oige – The Island of the Young, inspired by his love of the island.
Island children still play on the tree, so although there are now a few others around the island, none have the same special place in the hearts of islanders. It’s been shortlisted for Scotland’s tree of the year and could then stand up against winners from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to go forward to represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year competition.
The poll’s being conducted by the Woodland Trust and votes must be cast before the competition closes at 9am on 8th October. To vote for Netty’s tree, go to https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/tree-of-year-2018/scotland/
Pictures show Netty’s Tree and children from Eriskay school playing in the branches. (John Maher/WTML)