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The 'Big Tree' in Kirkwall is actually not a particularly big tree, even by Orkney standards. This solitary sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) is, however, well loved, probably due to its prominent position in Kirkwall's main street.
It appears in a number of old photographs of the street and is probably about two hundred years old. Its age, its challenging position amidst paved surfaces and some severe surgery over the years, have combined to render it in poor condition, and today its hollow trunk is supported by a metal beam. Debate continues about whether it should be removed and possibly replaced.
Where to see the Big Tree:
The tree is on Main Street in Kirkwall, Orkney. Public Access is available.
Image: copyright Orkney Photographic