This week, Keira and I travelled all the way from Edinburgh, through the Highlands to Dundreggan, to meet the volunteers at Trees for Life and see how our customers' generous donations have been helping their vision for the regrowth of the Caledonian Forest.
We met a lot of wildlife along the way...
And also stopped to catch views of some breathtaking scenery...
Stopping for a rest at beautiful Invermoriston...
And then we were on our way to Trees for Life!
Trees for Life is Scotland's leading conservation volunteering charity. It was founded in 1989 with the vision to restore Scotland's Caledonian Forest to a region of 1000 square miles in the west of Inverness and Loch Ness.
Did you know the Caledonian Forest once covered 1.5 million hectares?
Scotland was once home to an extensive range of majestic Scots pines, birch, rowan, juniper and aspen trees, however this Scottish version of a rainforest is unfortunately a fraction of it's former range. Scotland's forests nowadays only consist of old trees reaching the end of their lifespan, with no new trees to replace them due to grazing deer and sheep.
Trees for Life work with a number of volunteers and organisations to take action to preserve and grow the forest before it's too late.
By extending the Caledonian Forest, it will also provide the opportunity to reintroduce missing species such as the beaver, lynx, and wild boar to the Scottish landscape.
Keira and I visited Trees for Life at their Dundreggan Estate to see the difference our customers have made to the Caledonian Forest.
We're proud to say our Timberbush Tours Grove is now sitting at 675 trees and counting!
Helpful volunteers at the estate showed us where the new trees are planted and gave us a first-hand glimpse of the complicated processes they go through in order to preserve the Caledonian Forest.
We were told about their Aspen Project; a project that started in 1991 to save the aspen tree. They discovered the aspen species were very unlikely to spread beyond the sites where it was already located, unlike other trees such as pine, birch and rowan, and as deer find the aspen quite a delicacy, it was under pressure. Their project focuses on the reintroduction and population of aspen species in the Scottish landscape.
So how do you plant a tree?
The tree planting process is much more complicated than you may think. We were shown the extent the hard-working people at Trees for Life go to in order to help preserve the Caledonian Forest. Trees are not simply planted in the ground and forgotten about; the volunteers painstakingly look after each and every young tree, from the moment the seed is sown into the ground til it becomes a young sapling and continues to grow.
How can I get involved?
Timberbush Tours customers can donate to this worthy cause when booking any 1, 2 or 3 day tours from Edinburgh or Glasgow online. If you would like to contribute to the Timberbush Tours Trees for Life Grove, you can do so via their website. You can also volunteer with Trees for Life and get really stuck in! See their website for more information on volunteering.