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Guardian of the Gateway:
Year of Stories Open Call

The ancient Wych Elm tree at Beauly Priory is nearly 800 years old and believed to be the oldest Wych Elm in Europe. Sadly, the tree is dying of Dutch Elm Disease with less than 5% of it still living. The tree had its last buds in 2021 and will decline over the next 5-10 years.

We are asking people from all over Scotland to submit their stories, both new and old, written or visual, in response to the Beauly Wych Elm. This could be a traditional folk tale or a personal remembering or a new imaginative piece centred around the tree's history. Visual storytelling submissions are also welcome and could include sketches, prints, photography, textiles and so on. This opportunity is open to creatives of all ages, from those who make or write regularly to those that may have never done so before. A selection of your stories will be published in a free limited edition book for Year of Stories later this year. The project is an opportunity to create or tell your story of the Beauly Wych Elm and be part of a Scotland-wide art project. 



Please email your story or digital image of your work to
NEW Extented Deadline: Friday 30 September 2022

We would also encourage people to get in touch if they have any archival material or old photographs of the Wych Elm tree as we are trying to add to existing databases and expand the archive collection held by Historic Environment Scotland.

We invite you to explore some of the creative prompts below ...

"Storytelling is inherent to Scotland's national identity. The stories we tell, and who we share them with, are a fundamental part of our lives. From remembering the tales passed down to us from family, the defining moments that shaped our lives or the places, people and communities that helped us find home, stories connect us to ourselves and the people around us."

- Book Week Scotland


Project supported by Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022  

We are pleased to be taking part in #YS2022 with Year of Stories Community Stories Fund support from #EventScotland, #MuseumsGalleriesScotland and National Lottery Heritage Fund. Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 is a celebration of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. Stories are a vital part of Scotland’s culture and every community has a different tale to tell. In 2022, a whole host of events will be held across Scotland – by community groups, museums, culture and heritage organisations and visitor attractions – showcasing our rich storytelling and literary heritage. 

Find out more about Year of Stories 2022 here.

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