Skip to main content
Spirit Logo
Home / Discover / Stories / My Red Squirrel Journey Stone

My Red Squirrel Journey Stone

By Jacqueline Smith

Journey Stone depicting a red squirrel on a tree branch
Image provided by Jacqueline Smith
The Clava Clan Stitchers
Image provided by Smartify

My journey stone depicts a red squirrel.

When we built our house in 2004 in the hamlet of Clephanton, surrounded by farmland and woodland, I realised that we would see quite a bit of wildlife. Once our garden was established, we put out bird feeders to attract different breeds of wild birds, it was not only birds which became regular visitors, but red squirrels started to appear. It was magical seeing them.

The Trees for Life Charity came and asked if they could trap a squirrel in our garden. The charity was engaged in a project to establish new colonies on the West Coast near Attadale Gardens. Red squirrels had disappeared from the West Coast but recent improvements in habitats encouraged the thought that the squirrels could once again thrive in the west. When it was explained that the local population of reds could withstand the loss of one or two individuals, we agreed to the plans and the squirrel team proceeded to erect two squirrel traps near our bird feeding stations. If a squirrel was captured the next day they would collect it and take it to the vet to make sure it was healthy enough to be re-introduced to its new Wester Ross home.

The next morning there was much excitement when we realised that the trap had been activated. We immediately phoned the Trees for Life to let them know. Once we got outside and looked into the trap, to our astonishment we discovered that it wasn’t a red squirrel but a very irate pine martin. We were advised to release it straight away but to wear gloves while doing so. The pine martin was released with no harm done. The pine forest across from us has recently been harvested. Our lovely red squirrels have disappeared with the trees but we keep our fingers crossed that one day they will return. My journey stone is a reminder of them.


This audio forms part of a series of audio interviews conducted in 2023 by Smartify as part of the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project. Listen and discover the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands through the eyes of the stitchers of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands.

Join Jacqueline as she shares the eventful tale behind her red squirrel journey stone in conversation with the Clava Clan Stitchers and Smartify.

the day came... we saw this big red ball of fluff in the trap and we got so excited...'Yes, we've got a squirrel!' 'We've got a squirrel!'. Went outside to find out it was actually a pine marten...