When a tree is in danger of being toppled by the wind or by something else, a tree lopper will be called upon to take it down. Tree removal cairns is an ancient technique for removing trees. These can be found in virtually every country in Europe, but none were in Scandinavia until the beginning of the 20th century. The Cairn is a cross between a tomahawk and a clipper.
Cairns is not “real” cairns, however. They are not a stone structure with a series of interlocking stones set in mortar, nor are they simply a collection of sticks left standing around across. Cairns are actual mounds of stones erected in rows around a cross, with their middles pointing toward the direction of the wind.
Cairns was used as an indicator to indicate sacred places. For example, in early Christianity, the Catholic church had its mark, called a “Canary”, and it’s kind of protection. The Cairn was not just a symbol of any kind of pagan religion, it was a protective stone that served as a sign of protection.
Eventually, Christian churches used stone mounds as a way to prevent enemies from coming into the area. This means that the Catholic church was using the cairn marking their boundaries for many centuries before their use became widespread throughout Christianity. The Christians did not initially put these stones anywhere except on mountainsides. Over time, though, many churches used them as building materials, and most houses had one or more stones to mark their property lines.
Once the Cairn is erected, the process of its removal is usually called “cairn lopping”. In the US, however, the process is commonly referred to as “tree lopping.” The term “lopping” is misleading. It sounds like it would be performed with a saw when it’s just the removal of the topmost portion of the cairn. In a dense forest, the process of tree lopping is more difficult than if the tree was only an “approximate” mountain.
The task of removing the top portion of the tree is not easy, but there are techniques for doing so. Some countries, especially Scandinavia, will hire a professional cairn lover who is a member of the Timber Authority. Such a person has a special tool that can remove the top of a cairn. This tool is called a “cable bar.”
The Cedar trees in Scandinavia used to be marked with a long line of cairns, and it was difficult to get closer than a few feet. These people knew that someone could get too close to one of these “priests of the wind” without harming them. Today, however, we have such natural protection from the wind, and such access by human beings, that the cairn loppers simply cut the tops off of the trees. These people say that the effect is almost as good as if they had made the marking at the proper height.
The job of the cairn copper is not as easy as it may seem. It takes patience and knowledge to get these stones removed without damaging them. The tree lopper must be able to be within a couple of feet of the tree while it is being removed, since all kinds of weather conditions can affect a tree, from strong winds to too little rain.
The first thing a cairn lopper will do when he arrives at the site of the cairn marking is made certain that no one will be hurt. The lopper will often bring with him a crew that will chop away the side of the cairn first and then move on to the top. The reason for this is obvious. It is much easier to make sure that no one gets hurt from the top portion of the cairn, and then go on to the end. where the upper portions have been removed.