Sycamore: colonist or custodian?

Often seen as an intruder in old woodlands, the sycamore still deserves a second glance for its beauty – and older specimens could tell a tale or two about bloodshed and drama!

Old Castle Lachlan: loyalty and loss

Ghosts of horses tend to come in different guises, some of them benevolent and some of them more inclined towards the Apocalypse. The story that is linked with Old Castle Lachlan is moving and gentle, touched by the sadness of Culloden

The fire of the ash

The ash is a beguiling tree, elegant in all seasons, and mother to a host of legends

Book review: ‘Scotland’s Merlin’ by Tim Clarkson

“And in the battle of Arfderydd my torc was of gold…” From ‘Yr Afallennau’ (‘The Apples’), a poem in the Black Book of Carmarthen I don’t know about you, but when somebody mentions the name ‘Merlin’, an image of a bearded sorcerer pops straight into my mind, quickly followed by King Arthur and several valiant […]

Lesser celandine: greeting the sun

Star-like flowers of pure yellow welcome the first spring sunshine

St Adamnan’s Cross in Glen Lyon

Who lived in this extraordinary glen, 1300 years ago? One man who did was St Adamnan, and this simple cross remembers his kindness…

The spirit of the alder

Lover of riverbanks and boggy places, the alder forms a close bond between earth and water. No wonder our ancestors revered its magic

The Devil’s Arrows: shafts of darkness

The people who put up these standing stones in North Yorkshire were obviously thinking big – but what on earth are those grooves all about?

A new treasure: ‘Trees and How They Grow’ by G Clarke Nuttall

At a show last weekend I picked up this gorgeous old book from a second-hand book stall.  Written by Gertrude Clarke Nuttall, it’s called ‘Trees And How They Grow’ and is dated 1913. Inside are 15 colour plates called ‘autochromes’ and 134 black-and-white photographs.  A total of 24 species of trees are described in detail – among them […]

Glen More and the headless horseman

After nearly 500 years, is this phantom rider still trapped in the tragedy of a bitter family feud?