When in England there is nothing quite like walking through a Beech wood – the sounds, the scent, the soft bed underfoot. In Scotland the equivalent experience would be to walk through a Scots Pine wood.
Scots Pine is the “national tree” of Scotland. Obvious right? I didn’t know there were “national trees” until I checked out the national tree list on Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_trees. I wonder who decides? Oak is “Top of the Pops” being the national tree of Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Italy (along with Olive), Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, United Kingdom and the USA. Whilst Bamboo and Rice might appear logical choices for Vietnam (the country is all bamboo and paddy) someone might mention to the Vietnamese Peoples National Tree Committee that these are in fact both grasses! See https://pathannay.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/fanxipan-the-roof-of-indochina/
Back to Scots Pine. Sadly these are scarcer. Once covering much of the Scottish highlands and comprising a substantial part of the Caledonian Forest along with birch, deforestation caused by demand for timber (the expansion of coal mining during the Industrial Revolution alone created a particularly heavy demand for tunnel timber supports), fire, overgrazing by both sheep and deer and even deliberate clearance to deter wolves have all been factors in the decline of the Scots Pine. There is hope however because there has been a great deal of re-planting in the last decade. Here a splendid example beside Loch Maree.