Echo commentary as the Northeast mourns the tree at Sycamore Gap

It was as recognizable as the Angel of the North and captured the spirit of the region just as well. Surrounded by wild, untamed countryside and yet in touch with the history and culture of its roots, it resolutely withstood all elements, so that it often looked truly beautiful in its perfect shell – its green shimmering in the sunshine against a backdrop of Northumbrian blue or the autumnal palette his painter or his famous silhouette with the Northern Lights playing in the night sky behind it.


Even on a gray day when family groups gathered around the tribe, it was the image everyone wanted. There is not a photographer in our region who has not tried to capture his own image of this icon.

But even more than that, even more than the Angel of the North, this was a living organism. It may just be a tree, but we humans should care about the things that share our planet – that’s why its senseless killing seems so cruel.

It is truly irreplaceable. The angel or the transporter bridge could possibly be redesigned, but the sycamore is now completely gone – it could one day grow back, but not in such a perfect form, but in a natural form.

So the tears were for the memories that so many people have today and the missed opportunities of future generations. They served the sense of identity and place that the tree created that has now been stolen from us, and the sense of futility of such a senseless act – why would anyone do such a thing?

And they were aimed at the tree itself, once alive but now cut down in its prime.

Because the northeast of Sycamore Gap has been deprived of sycamore trees, it is a poorer place.


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