The weekend of the 40th anniversary of The Clash’s self titled debut album seemed like as good a time as any to visit Rebels Wood on the Isle of Skye, part of The Future Forest planted in memory of Joe Strummer to offset carbon production.
I’ve had a tree planted on the site since its inception but to date have not made the trip to Skye.
The forest of native deciduous trees was planted in 2003 and is developing into a healthy young woodland despite the slow growing conditions of the Island.
The woodland is hidden away on the shores of Loch Bracadale and reached via a stunning circular Skye walk from Orbost and provides home to local wildlife including otters, red deer, foxes and sea eagles.
The walk itself is a 10km round trip taking about 4.30 hours through woodland and open hillside, flanked on one side by the blue waters of the Loch and on the other the McLeods Table mountains.
Joe’s memory and legacy is now managed by The Joe Strummer Foundation which promotes empowerment through music helping young people and the impoverished.
Visit The Joe Strummer Foundation here.
Take the B884 Glendale road and turn onto the minor road to Orbost at the first corner. Follow this road to Orbost Farm, just before Orbost House, where it is possible to park. Walk along the track which soon leads to the shores of a bay, Loch Bharcasaig, where it bends to the right.
If the weather is good there are superb views across the bay to the Cuillin. Continue on the track as it sweeps round to reach two houses in a forest clearing. Keep on the main left hand track here which crosses the stream and heads into the forest.
After a couple of kilometres the track crosses the Forse burn and passes through a gate. Just beyond, a waymarker indicates a clear path off to the right; follow this and not the track.
The path is boggy in places but climbs over a low pass giving good views over the loch towards the windfarm on Ben Aketil.
The descent leads down and passes through another gate. A sign indicates that you are now entering ‘Rebel’s Wood’ in memory of Joe Strummer, lead singer of the Clash.
The principal planting for Joe is in this valley bowl. From the Rebel’s Wood sign walk down to the left towards the sea and you will be among the young trees that are now popping their head up above the bracken for Joe.
Go easy, step lightly, stay free.