Jun 17 2011 by Denis Brown, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
TREE huggers will reach dizzy heights for armed forces charity Help for Heroes (H4H) this weekend.
Operating as a relay team shimmying 30 metres up a towering Douglas Fir with sights firmly set on reaching a collective target of 1600 metres – one mile – the lofty effort is in professional hands.
The unique attempt takes place at the inaugural Forest Festival held at Scone Palace over the weekend, and features six members of the Arboricultural Association Scottish Branch and Forestry Commission Scotland.
A head for heights is clearly critical for fearless forestry workers, many of who tend to be ex-military personnel.
Another former solider attending the courageous charity event is H4H Perthshire co-ordinator Mike Dickinson, although he has absolutely no intention of leaving ground zero.
“Not a chance,” he said.
“I won’t be hugging any trees, just standing watching – I know my place!
“It takes a lot of courage and training to climb then sit at the top of a 30 metre tree, and these brave boys are doing a magnificent thing for the charity and we salute them.”
One of the climbers, Scottish Branch chairman Paul Hanson, said while forestry work was undeniably a tough and dangerous job, it was relatively safe compared to global peace-keeping missions of our armed forces.
“Having given so much to enable us to practice our civilian trades, it seems fitting that the tree care industries, who employ many ex-armed forces personnel, should support the Help for Heroes organisation by raising funds to assist those injured on our behalf,” he said.
“Our association has taken on the challenge in aid of and to commemorate the brave efforts of our military service personnel, and bring together the efforts of the tree world industry in raising much needed funds.”
He said Scone Palace’s lush grounds, home to a widely renowned tree collection boasting many notable and veteran trees, was a perfect choice for the first ever Forestry Festival.
Coinciding with the International Year of Forests, the event aims to boost awareness of raising awareness of forests, environmentally, commercially and for leisure.
Activities on offer include globally acclaimed willow sculptor Trevor Leat, wildlife trails with living history characters, a Latvian chainsaw sculptor and al fresco dining, all topped off by the Climb-a-Mile effort.
The Forestry Festival is at Scone Palace tomorrow and Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Grounds only entry fee applies, adult £5.50, senior/student £4.90 and children £3.75. Make donations at www.climbamile.com