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Point C - The Big Tree

The Big Tree is famous in Orkney. It won Scotland’s Tree of the Year in 2017.

No one knows when the Big Tree was planted but the sycamore was once in a garden, now long since gone. Until the 1870s the garden was surrounded by a wall. The house which it stands in front of dates back to the around 1670.

The BIg Tree – Photo by Oliver Dixon / The Big Tree, Kirkwall – WIkimedia Commons

On the wall is a plaque to mark the birthplace of the historian Malcolm Laing in 1762 and Samuel Laing in 1780. It is believed that their father Robert Laing planted the Big Tree.

Plaque to Malcolm and Samuel Laing – photo J. Wilson

Samuel Laing travelled in Scandinavia and northern Germany and published descriptions of these countries.

In 1844, Samuel Laing translated Heimskringla into English. This was a collection of sagas written by Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic historian, poet and politician, that had originally been written in Old Norse and told of the Swedish and Norwegian Kings.

Directions: Continue along Albert Street and in less than 100 metres you will come to the junction with Castle Street. As you look down Castle Street, you will see a plaque about Kirkwall Castle on the wall of the bank building on your right.