Recently I was in the Tyndrum area and made a pilgrimage to one of the Caledonian pinewoods immortalised in Steven and Carlisle’s famous book.
The two men, academics at Aberdeen University, identified in the 1950’s the threat to Scotland’s remaining pinewoods that had become reduced to isolated pockets in overgrazed landscapes.
The Tyndrum wood was fascinating: although sheep were present on our visit regeneration is happening in certain places in the wood. There were thousands of saplings present in a couple of areas: all seemed to be of the same age.
Scotland’s Highland region is split into two distinct ecological provinces: Upland oakwoods and Caledonian pinewoods. This could be an interesting way of considering bioregions. Where I live in Kintyre – as with the rest of the Scottish Atlantic coast south of the Great Glen – we are firmly in the oakwood province. However, by travelling north and east into the heart of the Highlands it becomes more continental in feel rather than oceanic, and I entered the pinewood province.