Assynt Meeting June 18th to 22nd 2006

Dryas octopetala Dryas octopetala(Mountain Avens)

Eggs in nest Eggs in nest

Rubus saxatilis Rubus saxatilis (Stone Bramble)

Polystichum lonchitis Polystichum lonchitis(Holly Fern)

Draba incana Draba incana(Hoary Whitlowgrass)

Trollius europaeus Trollius europaeus (Globeflower)

Inchnadamph - The dome

We continued on the main path until forced to take a long trek across tussocks and through bogs by a small loch. This led eventually to a dome shaped hill of limestone where we hoped to see typical basic soil flora.

We stopped for sustenance and navigation checks at the base of this large hill and then split up to find what we could. Immediately obvious was Dryas octopetala (Mountain Avens). This is usually a plant of the hills but this far north it can be found at quite low altitudes. In Durness some 30 miles north it is a roadside weed. Nearby we found cushions of Silene acaulis (Moss Campion).. This plant would normally be nearing the end of its flowering period in June and sure enough most plants had only a few flowers remaining. We managed to find one or two late flowering cushions which had pale pink flowers. The more usual colour of the flowers on Silene acaulis is the same as Silene dioica (Red Campion) - deep pink.

Inspection of the cracks in the rocks led to the discovery of the attractive Polystichum lonchitis (Holly Fern) and in the grassland just below base camp were a couple of Coeloglossum viride (Frog Orchid). This orchid is most usually green but you can find ones with redder tints such as the photo on page 6.

It was time to move on to find a site known to the botanical cognoscenti as the Inchnadamph Zoo. Most of us had never heard of it. This small patch of land has some unusual plants growing there - so unusual that the suspicion is that they were planted many years ago.

We followed our instructions up a gorge and were now some distance from the usual routes and a fair way from civilisation. We found the nest of a ground dwelling bird with four eggs in it.

I took a GPS reading. If we got lost at least we wouldn't starve.

We failed to find the site and moved back towards where we though the main track was. On the way we inspected the cliff edges and found a superb example of Rubus saxatilis (Stone Bramble) growing on a narrow ledge. Nearby there were a few plants of Draba incana (Hoary Whitlowgrass) and as we moved closer to the main track, large numbers of Trollius europaeus (Globeflower) were growing in the grass.

Each evening the weather tended to get slightly worse and it rained a little but during the day although the sky was heavy with cloud, the rain mostly kept away.