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Just the tonic: Enjoy a tipple and help out a good cause too

By Chrissie Fairclough

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Pinewood Conservation Gin.
Pinewood Conservation Gin.

Chrissie Fairclough on an exciting new local gin that also holds the key to helping the National Trust for Scotland's recovery

Forget May bank holidays, the big celebration this month is National Love a Tree Day. From giving us a much-needed psychological boost to environmental wonder, the benefits of trees are incredible. They improve our wellbeing, reduce stress levels as we get back to nature, and – not least – help us reduce our carbon emissions. Pretty clever, huh?

So it’s no wonder the The National Trust for Scotland team at Mar Lodge Estate in Braemar have come up with a novel fundraising way to protect the growth of the Caledonian Pinewoods in Cairngorms National Park. Over the past two years, the NTS ecologist has been foraging in the wild heart of Aberdeenshire, harvesting local botanicals such as bog myrtle, wood sorrel, birch and Scot’s Pine.

The result is Pinewood Conservation Gin, with every purchase supporting NTS’s efforts to protect the Caledonian Pinewoods and restore them to their former glory. This is enabling these iconic trees to support a host of wildlife, including pine marten, red squirrel and twinflower. With each ingredient hand-picked, it is no surprise that the gin has a floral and herbaceous profile.

The NTS fundraising team has been particularly hard hit over the past year as it was forced to close all its properties and suspend all events, making it an even tougher job to protect landscapes, wildlife and buildings. So one easy way for gin lovers to help out is to buy Pinewood Gin and celebrate National Love A Tree Day in style and feel good on two levels. Go to www.nts.org.uk/shop to raise a glass and raise some cash to support the restoration and expansion of the Caledonian Pinewoods.

Chrissie Fairclough is tastings director for Gin Club Scotland, which runs touring and distillery-based tastings, as well as offering tasting kits for people to run their own events. www.ginclubscotland.com

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