What do a giant redwood in America, Robert Burns and the Duke of Wellington have in common?
Let me tell you a story…
Isn’t that how some of the best tales start? Well here is the story of Mount Strange, an odd mound of dirt hidden in the forest of Blair Castle in Scotland.
The size of Mount Strange – as this unusual mound of dirt around an enormous tree is called – has special significance. In 1884, it was reshaped to represent the huge diameter of the GRIZZLY GIANT, the largest of all the giant redwoods growing in the Mariposa Grove of Yosemite National Park, California. Walking leisurely around the mound takes almost two minutes – imagine the size of the trunk of the Grizzly Giant!
The name Mount Strange commemorates the 2nd Duke of Atholl taking his seat in Parliament. He had recently inherited the title Baron of Strange through his paternal grandmother and went under this to parliament in 1737, the year in which Diana’s Grove was originally laid out. Named for the Roman goddess of the hunt, Diana’s statue resides in the middle of the some of the largest trees seen in the UK.
Seeds collected from the ancient Californian Grizzly Giant spawned the impressive Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) now standing at 457m/150ft deep within the heavily forested Diana’s Grove at Blair Castle, part of the 140,000 acre Atholl Estate grounds.
Introduced to the UK in 1853, the giant redwood was named Wellingtonia in memory of the Duke of Wellington who died the previous year. Although over a century old, this proud specimen is still a baby compared with its parent, believed to be over 2000 years old.
Robert Burns’ Influence
Planting Trees by Artillery
Testament to Nature
Visiting Blair Castle gardens is truly a step back in time and the deep traditions of Scotland. Gazing up in awe at the enormous redwoods and noble firs is a testament to those before us who were determined to save these resources for later generations. Mount Strange’s connection to a mother tree in a faraway land shows how small the world really is when nature is our guide. As we take a deep breath within the peaceful forest to fill our lungs with the sweet scent of life, we breathe a sigh of thanks.