Daily opening, forthcoming events & European Tree of the Year

Daily opening

As of this coming Sunday (1st March) the Visitor Centre resumes daily opening, from 10am-5pm. The exception to this will be on Monday (2nd March) when we’re holding our Pre-season gathering for our volunteers; more on that later… as a consequence the centre is closed to visitors but the hides and toilet facilities will be available all day.

Admission prices remain the same as in previous years – £4 Adult, £3.50 Concession, 50p Children (aged 5-16), £7.50 Family (2 Adults & 2 Children), Scottish Wildlife Trust Members & Children under 5 FREE.

Following a recent review of our policy with regards to members of the Wildlife Trusts, we will now be offering a 10% discount on the standard admission prices. This does not apply to members of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust or National Trust, which are not part of the “Wildlife Trust” movement.

Forthcoming events

On Monday 2nd March we have our traditional Pre-season gathering for all our dedicated volunteers. In the morning there are a series of drop-in training sessions for anyone interested in volunteering in the visitor centre; these are then followed by a buffet lunch and an informal meeting at which volunteers are introduced to the staff for the season and can learn about any new developments on the reserve. It’s a very relaxed, enjoyable occasion and a great opportunity for volunteers to socialise before the season kicks off. Any potential new volunteers interested in attending should get in touch, either by emailing lochofthelowes@scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk or calling the centre on 01350 727337

On Thursday 5th March, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland are bringing their “Wild about Scotland” bus to Loch of the Lowes. Wild about Scotland is a new Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) partnership with Clydesdale Bank. The project delivers an outreach programme on Scotland’s natural habitat, via a bespoke double-decker bus. The bus has been fully converted to provide a unique and inspiring teaching space for schoolchildren, and provide curriculum led lessons (aimed at P6 -7) delivered by the Royal Zoological Society for Scotland (RZSS) Education team. Two activities will be provided; a water beasties and mini-beast hunt, and a drop-in session introducing children to the fascinating story of beavers and the Scottish Beaver Trial. The bus will be on-site in our car park from 10am-4pm, with all activities provided free of charge.

European Tree of the Year

Finally a quick reminder that there are only TWO DAYS left to vote for “Lady’s Tree” in European Tree of the Year. When live voting closed last weekend we were still well off the pace compared to Hungary and Estonia but were a solid second in the battle of the “Six Nations”.

If you haven’t voted already then PLEASE, PLEASE GIVE US YOUR BACKING AND VOTE FOR “LADY’S TREE” AT http://bit.ly/EuroTreeoftheYear

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European Tree of the Year – why you should vote NOW!

We are now over halfway through the voting period for European Tree of the Year, with only 11 days remain to register your vote!

“Lady’s Tree” is still sitting in 9th place, with 1,860 votes.

The early front-runners, Estonia and Hungary, continue to lead the competition by some distance. Here the voting as it currently stands…

Country No. of votes
1) Hungary - The great plane of Tata 37,928
2) Estonia – Oak tree on a football field 35,903
3) Spain - Poplar pollard of the Remolinar 9,451
4) Czech Republic - The Opatovice Pine 8,611
5) Poland – Oak Slav 6,379
6) Bulgaria - The Plane in Archar village 5,299
7) England – The Major Oak 4,748
8) Slovakia - Mulberry – The lighthouse of the history 4,375
9) Scotland – Lady’s Tree 1,860
10) Belgium – The Nail tree 1,301
11) Wales – The Lonely Tree 1,070
12) Italy - Olive Tree from Canneto Sabino 304
13) Ireland - Cedar of Lebanon 226
14) France - The chestnut tree 218

We are of course very grateful to the 1,860 of you who have voted so far and would urge you to encourage all of your family and friends to do likewise.

According to Wikipedia, Scotland has a population of 5.295 million; assuming that all of you who have voted for us so far live in Scotland this equates to 0.035% of the population. Contrast this with Estonia, which has a population of just 1.325 million – their 35,903 votes equate to 2.7% of the population. So as you can see Estonians appear to have really been embracing the spirit of the competition and voting in their droves.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust has 38,231 members, so if you alone had all voted already we would be in the lead. Which begs the question, why haven’t you?

Perhaps you don’t read this blog, follow us on Twitter or use the Scottish Wildlife Trust website? Maybe you don’t have an email address? Otherwise, why else would you not have voted?

A few people I’ve spoken to about the competition have said they’re not going to vote because they feel it is trivial and that there are many real, pressing conservation issues more deserving of attention. To some extent they may have a point, however I personally feel that it is very easy to get bogged down with all the problems and challenges the natural world is facing and miss opportunities to celebrate conservation success stories.

European Tree of the Year is one such opportunity. The whole ethos behind the competition is to celebrate the important role that some of Europe’s most loved trees have played in the lives of the people who live, work and play around them, the wildlife they support, and the history and mythology associated with them. All of the finalists in the competition have amazing stories to tell and I would encourage you to read about all of them.

I’ve outlined in a previous blog post why “Lady’s Tree” is worthy of your vote so i’m not going to repeat myself (see here if you missed it). Needless to say we really desperately need your votes in the next 11 days so PLEASE, PLEASE GIVE US YOUR BACKING AND VOTE FOR “LADY’S TREE” AT http://bit.ly/EuroTreeoftheYear

Voting closes on 28th February but as of 21st February (4 days time) we won’t be able to see the vote counts any longer, so it would be fantastic to see a surge in votes over the next few days.


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European Tree of the Year – One week down, three to go!!

After one week of voting in European Tree of the Year there are two early front-runners, Estonia (18,125 votes) and Hungary (14,634 votes).

“Lady’s Tree” is currently sitting in 9th place, with 1,508 votes. Here’s the full leaderboard as it stands at the time of writing:

Country No. of votes
Estonia – Oak tree on a football field 18,125
Hungary - The great plane of Tata 14,634
Spain - Poplar pollard of the Remolinar 5,673
Czech Republic - The Opatovice Pine 5,121
Bulgaria - The Plane in Archar village 4,107
England – The Major Oak 4,056
Poland – Oak Slav 3,937
Slovakia - Mulberry – The lighthouse of the history 1,704
Scotland – Lady’s Tree 1,508
Belgium – The Nail tree 1,074
Wales – The Lonely Tree 740
Italy - Olive Tree from Canneto Sabino 212
France - The chestnut tree 193
Ireland - Cedar of Lebanon 160

A big thank you to the 1,508 of you who have voted already - we REALLY, REALLY need the rest of you to get voting  if we’re going to stand a chance of clawing back the competition.


Here’s an easy step-by-step guide of how to vote:

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European Tree of the Year – cast your votes NOW!!

So the time has arrived…

Following our “treemendous” success at the end of 2014 with “Lady’s Tree” being “crowned” inaugural Scottish Tree of the the Year, voting has now opened for the even more prestigious title of European Tree of the Year 2015.

The online vote which began on Sunday runs until the 28th February, giving us only a matter of weeks to secure this much coveted prize!

We face stiff competition with a dozen entries from other countries, including our UK neighbours, England and Wales, the Republic of Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Belgium plus a number of eastern European countries.

Scotland being a  relatively small nation, this will not be an easy contest for us to win. However we know that “Lady” and her tree are watched annually by over 1 million people from nearly 200 countries across the globe and over 100,000 of you read our blog… SO we desperately need your votes if we’re to stand a fighting chance!

Here’s a quick reminder as to why “Lady’s Tree” deserves your vote:

  • The Scots pine is native to the Highlands of Scotland and is the largest and longest-lived tree in the Caledonian Forest. Its conservation status is recovering with regeneration now starting to occur, especially in areas fenced off from browsing deer.
  • It forms the foundations for a variety of species that depend upon it in many ways. Playing host to Stump Lichens and Scottish Wood Ants that live on and under the bark, a shelter for deer, shade for flowers, home and food for red squirrel and in pride of place up top, our majestic Ospreys that nest in its level branches.This particular Scots pine at Loch of Lowes is over 60 feet tall and was chosen by our famous Osprey affectionately known as ‘Lady’, as her home.
  • It’s part of a conservation success story! For the past 24 years this female osprey has returned to nest in this Scots pine tree on our nature reserve at Loch of the Lowes, Dunkeld, Perthshire. During this time she has laid 71 eggs and fledged 50 chicks. This is truly remarkable and the safety provided by this Scots pine in all weathers has surely played a part in that success. Our 24hr HD webcam on the tree attracts over 1 million viewers a year in over 160 different countries. So I think this tree and our Osprey deserve to be equally famous.

We are extremely grateful for all the public support we received in securing Scottish Tree of the Year, and to Woodland Trust Scotland for organising the Scottish contest and now backing our bid to win European Tree of the Year.


After registering your vote on the website you will receive a verification email to confirm your choice – you must click on the link in this email for your vote to be counted.

The winner will be announced on 5th March, with the prize awarded during a ceremony on 22nd April in Brussels.

Sandy the Squirrel with the Scottish Tree of the Year trophy ©Scottish Wildlife Trust

Sandy the Squirrel with the Scottish Tree of the Year trophy ©Scottish Wildlife Trust

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Calling all young people… Loch of the Lowes needs YOU!!


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Snow on the Loch

After several dramatic storms over the last week, we are relieved to say that there has been no serious damage to the Loch of the Lowes reserve or Visitor Centre. Instead of lashing rain and high winds, we are now being treated to blue sky and sunshine sparkling off snow and ice.

The loch, as you can see from the photos below and on the webcam, is almost completely frozen. It is looking stunning with a good covering of snow on top but the goldeneye and tufted ducks are making use of a small area of open water. The sight of mallard ducks stumbling and sliding as they run about on top of the ice is the cause of much hilarity amongst visitors!

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New Season - if you or anyone you know would like the opportunity to work at Lowes, please have a look at the Job vacancies page on the Scottish Wildlife Trust website. Seasonal positions are now being advertised, both for the reserve and in the Visitor Centre.

The weather forecast for the coming week is for even lower temperatures (it is minus 4 degrees C here at the moment – warranting a 3 fleece rating!) and the feeding station is full of woodland birds and red squirrels. It is very important to keep feeders filled during these bitter spells and also to ensure there is fresh water available.

Please come up and enjoy some ‘warm winter wildlife watching’ in the visitor centre, open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


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