About

The Glencruitten Cathedral of Trees was planted in the 1920s by Alexander Mackay.

A Mackay Portrait 2
Alexander Mackay by James McBay

Alexander Mackay was a Dundee businessman who made his fortune in the USA and moved his family to Glencruitten House in Argyll after his house in Broughty Ferry burnt down.

Although in his sixties when he bought the house, he was a man of huge energy and soon began a programme of forestation over much of the estate. He saw this as an important contribution towards the replacement of trees which had been lost to the nation through the demand for timber during the Great War. Forestry work and the building of tracks and woodland paths was also a way of giving employment to local people – many of them former soldiers returning home from the trenches and in need of work.

As the years passed, he noticed that the trees in one valley – a beautiful spot that looked towards Ben Cruachan – failed to flourish. Rather than abandon the area, he decided to redeem it and create a ‘Cathedral of Trees’, his memorial to the First World War and a celebration of both his love of trees and his strong faith commitment.

Cathedral plan
Original plan of the Cathedral of Trees

To our knowledge, it is the only living cathedral of its kind in Scotland.  In 2016, three of Alexander Mackay’s relatives decided to take on the restoration of this special site so that the local community and anyone who is searching for quiet spot for reflection would be able to enjoy it.

We hope that once the site is back to its former glory, many people will benefit from it both for their own personal enjoyment and ceremonies as well as for the benefit of the wider public including schools, community groups and pilgrims.

The central aims of the newly formed charity are:-

 To restore and maintain the cathedral and surrounding woodlands (using methods sensitive to the local biodiversity) in order to create a living sacred space open to all.

 To upgrade and improve the visitor access and to support a membership of interested individuals and groups

 To develop the Cathedral as a resource of spiritual, horticultural, and general historical interest available to the local community and to visitors/pilgrims from near and far.

Registered Address: 9 Forth St, Edinburgh, EH1 3JX, Scotland.

Tel. +44 131 5583 729