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Up to 2009, Dughall Mor was the tallest tree ever recorded in the United Kingdom. It has since been superseded by the Stronardon Douglas Fir, near Dunans Castle in Argyll.
This Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in Reelig Glen, near Inverness, was planted as recently as 1882. A tall and elegant specimen, it had reached a staggering height in excess of 62 metres when measured in 2005.
The Big Dark Stranger
Forestry Commission Scotland ran a competition among local people to find a name for this champion of the tree world, and christened it Dughall Mor, which in Gaelic means ‘big dark stranger’.
Dughall Mor forms part of a grove of very tall Douglas firs that comprise the largest concentration of trees exceeding 55 metres (180 feet) anywhere in the British Isles. They are so straight and tall that one was felled to provide a replacement mast for the Discovery, the ship in which explorer Sir Robert Scott sailed to the Antarctic. (The ‘Discovery’ is now berthed at Dundee.)
This fir is obviously thriving in the fertile and sheltered environment of the glen, with a ready supply of moisture from the Moniack Burn. This deceptive champion has a relatively slender trunk and its great height is difficult to appreciate, surrounded as it is by other giants.
Where to see Dughall Mor:
Reelig Glen, south of the A862 near Beauly, about 11.3km (7 miles) west of Inverness, Highland. Turn off the A862 towards Moniack. The Glen is managed by Forestry Commission Scotland. Public access and car parking are available, and Dughall Mor is signposted on the forest walk.
Image: copyright Edward Parker