In the depths of a Scottish winter, light can be a rare commodity; days are short and often wet, but when it seems to rain incessantly, the dramatic hues of our extensive birch forests have the power to lift the spirit.
Swathes of birches smudge entire hillsides with a vibrant purple, and then in spring, tiny heart-shaped leaves unfold, transforming the birchwood to the softest verdant hues. Come autumn, the birch’s breath-taking display electrifies the sylvan panorama with a heart-stopping brilliance of yellow, ochre, gold and orange.
There are roughly 100,000 hectares of birch woodland in Scotland. These colourful forests are no doubt one of many reasons why the country is such a popular tourist destination, yet there are numerous other reasons to revere the birch. The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge described it as ‘the lady of the woods’, and it provides a source of inspiration for writers, artists and photographers today.