Survivor tree is a winner

A remarkable tree in the Carrifran Wildwood has been chosen to represent Great Britain in the European Tree of the Year competition.

By Kevin Janiak
Thursday, 10th December 2020, 1:16 pm
The Survivor Tree at Carrifran, which will now be pitted against the best trees in Europe. Photo: Aidan MacCormick
The Survivor Tree at Carrifran, which will now be pitted against the best trees in Europe. Photo: Aidan MacCormick

The “Survivor Tree”, which is looked after by Borders Forest Trust, is sited near the border with Dumfries and Galloway, and it previously took the title of Scotland’s Tree of the Year back in October.

The once-lone rowan has now beaten off competition from The Chapter House Tree at Port Talbot and The Happy Man Tree in Hackney to take the British title, and will now go forward to European competition, which is organised by the Environmental Partnership Association.

Voting will take place online in February.

“The Survivor” was once the only noticeable tree in the valley and was adopted as a symbol by the community group which took ownership of the land at the turn of the millennium.

“Where one tree survives a million will grow,” became their mission statement. That mission has been accomplished.

Fi Martynoga of Borders Forest Trust, who nominated the rowan, said: “This tree rapidly became a very important symbol of our aspirations to see this valley completely re-wooded and restored to its natural vegetation.

“In this valley alone we have planted well over 600,000 trees.

“The beauty of it is they are now beginning to reproduce themselves.

“It shows how you can change an environment for the better, preserve and multiply what is around.

“I hope it can stand as a symbol for other people, that they can do the same thing.”

The British competitions, run by Woodland Trust, are supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Will Humpington, advisor for climate change & environment at the People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “I’m really pleased our players are supporting the Tree of the Year competitions, which continue to build a deeper connecter between people and the nature that’s around them.

“‘The Survivor Tree’ is a terrific symbol of what can be done and what needs to be done in our landscape as we face the challenges of climate change.

“We hope its message will now make an impact across Europe and beyond.”