Wednesday 28 October 2020

Scotland's native pinewoods........... an alternative to Munro Bagging for "crumblies"

If like me you feel you are getting too old and slow for "Munro bagging", the obsessive  pursuit of walking all of Scotland's 282 mountains over 914.4m (3,000 ft) there is an attractive alternative. You can visit and walk in the remnants of the ancient pinewoods of Scotland.

These remnants were first surveyed, described and catalogued 60 years ago (Steven, H.M. Carlisle, A, The Native Pinewoods of Scotland, Oliver and Boyd, 1959.). Then in 1975 the woods, their distribution, wildlife, soils, history and management were comprehensively examined at a symposium in Aviemore.

More recently, The Ancient Pinewoods of Scotland by Clifton Bain is in two formats, a coffee table book and a pocketbook with descriptions of 38 pinewood remnants with suggested walks, throughout the Highlands. 

Beware, take an Ordnance Survey 1:25000 map Bain's maps are a rather sketchy guide; or take an excellent, instinctive navigator as in the image below.

Glen Tanar pinewoods 

I am gradually working my way through the list, the latest visit was to Glen Tanar in the north east Cairngorms. The wood like most of the others has been changed over the centuries by felling, fire, flood and grazing but at the western boundary something like the original still survives under conservation management.

To put the whole idea into some historical and ecological context find a copy of Jim Crumley's book, The Great Wood, or my post on a walk in Rothiemurchus Forest at;