An Oak Tree has been planted in the ‘Coffin Field’ in Sanquhar Woodlands to mark the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. The planting had been delayed from the Jubilee Celebrations in June 2022 until November as it increases the chances of survival of the tree after transplanting. The Trustees decided to go ahead and mark the occasion despite the recent death of Her Majesty.
The planted Oak Tree was grown from a seedling from the famous Darnaway Oak by Gareth Whymant, a retired forester and FCWT Trustee. Darnaway Oak was used for the roof of the Great Hall of Darnaway Castle built in 1387. This timber was over 300 years old and, therefore, the planted oak can trace its origins back over one thousand years.
The current tree is very old – core sampling gives an estimated age of 730 years. Despite this it appears very healthy, producing acorns frequently, some of which germinate beside its canopy. These oak trees have massive girths and the Daranaway Oak from which this seedling was taken has a girth of 9.73 metres making it the tree with the largest girth in Scotland.
It stands in a small group of around a hundred native oak trees situated in the Meads of St John bordering the river Findhorn. It is thought they are the survivors of the ancient Royal Forest of Darnaway which originally covered much of the fertile lowlands of Moray. There is anecdotal evidence that Mary Queen of Scots watched a jousting contest on the Meads of St John, sheltered by the oak trees along the banks of the river.
The FCWT Secretary, Gisela MacFarquhar, planted the Tree watched over by FCWT Chairman Don Wright with Gareth Whymant providing advice. The Memory of Her Majesty and the future health of the tree were then toasted with Benromach Whisky by gathered Members of the FCWT.