A special tree planting ceremony has been been held in the gardens of Armadale Castle, on the Isle of Skye, marking the 50th anniversary of the Clan Donald Lands Trust.

The Trust manages a 20,000-acre estate on Skye which was formerly the seat of the Macdonalds of Sleat, bought in 1971 as part of a pioneering clan community initiative. At the heart of the estate is Armadale Castle, Gardens and Museum of the Isles, ‘the spiritual home of Clan Donald’ and one of Skye’s leading visitor attractions.

The newly planted trees are both conifer species which are endangered in the wild, and are part of Armadale Castle’s 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 were a rare Vietnamese Cypress and a slow-growing Alerce from Argentina and Chile.

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Celebrating the past, present and future of the trust, 11 children joined CDLT Trustee Godfrey, Lord Macdonald, to plant the trees. 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 the ceremony was Alex Stoddart, who will take up the post of CDLT Chief Executive Officer this 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.”

This story originally appeared in the Scottish Farmer.

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