Although we had listened overnight to the howling of the gale of 3rd January, it was only when Mrs Gray headed off for the town centre by car later that day that she came across its effect on our Glenrothes environment.
She found her way blocked by the trunk of a 200 year old Oak tree lying across her way out of Willow Crescent, and a photo of which was used to illuminate the cover story of last week’s Gazette.
Since then the following mild spell of weather has allowed us to assess damage done to trees all over town, including three substantial specimens near Southparks farmhouse and others blocking the footpath along the southern bank of the River Leven, west of Cow Bridge. Glenrothes’ last big tree loss of winter 1967/68 was much more costly, bringing down an enormous and notable Larch in a Yew copse just east of Leslie House and indeed most of the formal avenue of ancient Lime trees which then guarded the main entrance to the house along a still walkable line from what is now Pitcoudie Primary School where the stumps, somewhat overgrown, can still be detected as it crosses Leslie Road. On my first arrival in Glenrothes in 1970, I was impressed by the remains of the the perfectly cylindrical, trunk of an ancient Beech tree, one metre in diameter, but snapped off cleanly by the wind at a height of 10 metres, still standing three years after the great wind in the dog graveyard corner of the formal garden. This sudden loss of amenity woodscape makes it all the more important that the woodland planted by Glenrothes schoolchildren at Formonthills be cared for so that some of that generation will already be able to take their own children to hunt down the trees they themselves planted – and the same trees should still be there for them in another 20 years to lead their grandchildren on country walks.