The Poker Tree

An unexceptional specimen, it is the amusing tale associated with it which marks it out as a tree of significance.  Baillie Nicol Jarvie, a colourful Glasgow magistrate and cousin of the infamous outlaw, Rob Roy MacGregor (1671­-1734), was travelling on business in wild Highlands.  He stopped at an inn in the Clachan of Aberfoyle where, unfortunately, a truculent Highlander took exception to his presence and, drawing his sword, challenged him to a fight.  The Baillie, unused to such violent encounters, tried to draw his sword but found it rusted to his scabbard through lack of use.  As the fierce Highlander advanced upon him, the desperate Baillie grabbed a poker from the fire and brandished its red hot tip at his assailant.  The poker set fire to the Highlander’s plaid and sent him fleeing. The browbeaten Highlander later returned to concede defeat and congratulate Baillie on his guile and mettle in battle.  In memory of Baillie’s exploits, the iron poker was later hung from the branches of the old oak tree which stood outside the inn, and became a tourist attraction.  Some years ago the poker was removed for safe-keeping. It was then thought to have been lost, but subsequently reappeared.

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