Uist is not well known for its arboreal landscape. The ever-present wind and salty air straight off the sea make for a climate ill-fitted to trees. Instead, peat and sand dominate. I never consider myself to be a ‘tree’ person, but it’s only on walking around this small area of forest at Langass that I realised just how much I’ve missed them in the months living on Uist. The distinctive smell of pine, the mosses and lichens abounding on the forest floor and that glorious rustling of branches as the wind blows through them. Yes – I enjoyed being back in a wood very much.
This area of forestry was first planted in the late 1960s, using species known to thrive in similar climates in North America. Since then, it’s been developed further, been taken into community ownership and has seen numbers of small birds previously uncommon on North Uist increase in this area.
Artists and community groups have worked to develop a trail of stamps to collect along the path through the trees, each bilingual and creating poetry as you collect them. It’s a lovely touch – especially with an important stamp celebrating perhaps Uist’s most famous ever resident, a fine statue of whom stands at the end of the trail.