The Great Flood of 1994
A New Muckle Ash for Balmore
In December 1994, flooding of the River Kelvin severely damaged many low-lying areas of its valley, including Balmore in the parish of Baldernock. This small rural parish lies north of Glasgow, between the large urban areas of Milngavie and Kirkintilloch. Numerous homes had to be evacuated, and their restoration lasted over six months.
The people of Baldernock commemorated this devastating event by planting an ash tree near the high-water mark of the flood at Acredyke, beside the main road west of Balmore. The project was led by Baldernock Community Council and supported by the local council, the Kelvin Valley Countryside Project, and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. An ash was chosen because of a famous local predecessor of the mid-19th century, the ‘Muckle Ash of Balmore’. This was reputedly one of the finest trees in the west of Scotland, and was much admired and visited until it was felled in the 1850s to provide timber for the coach-building trade – described at the time as ‘tree murder’. Local resident Magnus Magnusson planted the new ‘Muckle Ash’, with the assistance of Baldernock Primary School pupils, in March 1996. The ceremony was followed by a reception at which Magnus gave a moving speech, and he likened the Muckle Ash to the mythical Nordic tree Yggdrasil.
Although the flood was an important event in local history, few residents now appreciate the significance of the tree. Therefore, the twentieth anniversary of the planting was marked in April 2016 by the commissioning of a large memorial stone, carved with a text to commemorate the great flood and explain the tree’s purpose. The stone was provided and installed by local farmer David Ralston, and Lois Anderson, who grew up in the parish, carved it. East Dunbartonshire Council supported this new project with a grant towards the carving of the stone, and has enhanced the site by laying out wild flower beds beside the tree. Magnus Magnusson’s daughter Sally – also a local resident – gave a speech to match the one given by her father, and unveiled the stone. The Minister of Baldernock, Rev. Andrew Lees, then led a prayer of dedication, and the assembled company repaired to the Church Hall for refreshment.
More photos here