Viola Stirling’s Nature Diary – 6 Jul 1921

Viola continues her stay in the Highlands. She is exploring the pine woods between Rothiemurchus and Loch More when she spots red deer. Loch More is most likely today’s Lochan Mor, just south of Rothiemurchus.

As can be seen on a OS map from 1900, there were pine forests on the land close to this time. Rothiemurchus has been described as the ‘grand daddy of Scotland’s Caledonian pine forests’. Now owned by the Forestry Commission, the Grant family previously owned the forest for over 500 years. Caledonian forests used to cover 1.5 million hectares in Scotland. Now less than 5% of this survives. It is interesting that Viola mentions the sighting of red deer by the forest. Overgrazing by large populations of red deer is considered to be a significant factor holding back the regeneration of these woodlands.

The video below from Trees for Life explains their approach to restoring the Caledonian Forest.


July 6. Pine Woods between Rothimurchus & Loch More. 10.0 pm

Saw five red deer feeding in the cornfield.

Two stags and three hinds. One stag was

very dark, and had fine antlers. He stood

and watched us, but when we blew the

motor horn, he chased the other four up

to the fence, and made them jump over.

They jump very gracefully.