|[Fortinghall Yew - the posts mark the original circumference of the trunk!]|
5,000 years ago, a yew tree seed sprouted in the remote glen of the River Lyon in deepest Perthshire. Astonishingly, this very tree is still alive and thriving (and apparently changing sex according to a recent discovery by staff from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh). This is truly one of Scotland's great natural wonders; if the age is right then it could be Europe's oldest tree, though there are other contenders. The yew's notable age has already attracted tourists for millennia - yes, you read that right - and it's no coincidence that Pontius Pilate is said to have been born in the village, when the tree could have been a mere 3,000 years old. Unsurprisingly, over the centuries visitors have wanted to take home "souvenirs", damaging parts of the tree. It's probably just as well that it's now protected by a stone enclosure, even if it does slightly limit viewing opportunities. Nevertheless, this is a special place if you know the back story: a timeline etched onto the approach path puts it all into context, making the mind boggle if it hasn't already.
Name: Fortinghall Yew ★★★☆☆
Location: Fortinghall churchyard, G.R.: NN 742470 / proudest prepares yours