A group of countryside rangers and volunteers from the Deeside area enjoyed a fascinating course on trees and storytelling at Crathes Castle last week.
The course was organised by the Scottish Countryside Rangers Association and took place in the National Trust castle grounds on May 14.
The event was led by author and outdoor storyteller Claire Hewitt from Highland Perthshire, who has 25 years experience in the field.
The base for the course was Claire’s Tree Stories book, published in March by the Forestry Commission Scotland.
The small, but enthusiastic class began among the spring greenery under one of Crathes Castle’s ash trees, proceeded to a sunny session in the grand oak circle, then on to the wildflower garden before concluding in the yew grove.
At each stop, Claire told of the legends, attributes and practical uses of the trees, using storytelling, humour and a touch of magic.
An added encouragement to the would-be storytellers was the discovery of nesting jackdaws and starlings in the ash tree, the sound of joyful children around the oaks, and the willing audience participation of some surprised but delighted walkers.
Orginiser Toni Watt of the NTS Ranger Service said it had been a lovely day and all participants had felt “totally inspired” by their visit.
Tree Stories in free PDF form is available to download on www.forestry.gov.uk.