Trees planted to mark anniversary

Endangered conifers planted as Clan Donald Lands Trust marks its 50th year

Our magnificent gardens were the setting for a special tree planting ceremony today, attended by the press and estate representatives. The planting of endangered conifers marked the 50th anniversary of the Clan Donald Lands Trust (CDLT), the charitable trust that cares for Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum and the wider Armadale Estate. As part of a pioneering clan community initiative, the lands were purchased from the estate of Lord Macdonald in 1971 and are now home to one of Skye’s leading visitor attractions.

The two newly planted trees are both conifer species which are endangered in the wild. They are part of our Trees for the Future programme, an initiative to establish a new generation of trees at Armadale. The programme is a collaboration with the International Conifer Conservation Programme at The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and involves planting over 100 conifers throughout the gardens, many of them under threat. The trees planted today are a rare Vietnamese Cypress (Xanthocyparis vietnamensis) and a slow-growing Alerce (Fitroya cupressoides) from Argentina and Chile.

The past, present and future of the trust were celebrated in the inter-generational ceremony. Local children joined CDLT Trustee Godfrey, Lord Macdonald to plant two trees: one in the Victorian Arboretum and the other in an area near the museum where a new arboretum is planned. The young people are regular visitors to Armadale Castle, where they take part in the museum’s lively programme of family activities.

Representatives from the Armadale Estate townships, Sleat Community Trust and Sleat Community Council also attended the ceremony, as well as former Head Gardener Tim Godfrey who was responsible for planting many of the trees that now flourish in the 40-acre woodland gardens. Also attending was Alex Stoddart, who will take up the post of CDLT Chief Executive Officer on 1 September.

Lord Macdonald said: “This really is an historic occasion in the proud history of Clan Donald as we enter the next fifty years. This has been a very difficult period for all tourist related businesses, but thanks to the dedication and generosity of those that believe in our endeavours, we can look forward to the future with renewed energy. We welcome the imminent arrival of Alex Stoddart as our Chief Executive Officer, and see an exciting time ahead guided by his enthusiasm and vision.”

Alex Stoddart said: “In 1971, members and supporters of Clan Donald, both local and from the migration diaspora, came together and facilitated one of Scotland’s first community land acquisitions. Despite long odds, the community won through and the Clan Donald Lands Trust was born. Planting these trees together is not so much about looking back at an extraordinary 50 years, but looking forward to what we can accomplish, in local partnership, for our young people and future generations. Their future on this magical island and the durability of our culture and heritage are inextricably entwined.”

The anniversary will also be marked with a special exhibition at the Museum in 2022 celebrating Armadale Castle past, present and future. Find out more about our anniversary plans.