Monday, 28 October 2013

Last of the Heathers

We walked this morning up onto the hill to the west of Ormsaigbeg, Maol Buidhe - literally, the yellow lump, but 'lump' in the sense of a rounded hill.  Its elongate summit area is covered in heather, mostly ling.

The ling this year should have been spectacular, but September's rain ruined it.  Now most of its flowers are dead, only the occasional clump, like this one, having any colour in it.  When ling flowers die, they all fade into brown together...., contrast to cross-leaved heath where each flower dies in its own time, and....

....bell heather, which does the same.

On Maol Buidhe, cross-leaved heath is found in the lower land, where it's boggy, while bell heather seems to prefer places where it has some protection, like in the lee of a bank.

Most of the other moorland flowers are dead, with the exception of devilsbit scabius, where a few hang on in protected glens.  Walking, as we were, in a chill westerly wind which brought some stinging showers off the Atlantic, the hill might have seemed quite a depressing place, but it wasn't.  The annual cycle of death and rebirth brings an excitement, that the moment will come next spring when we find the first flower in the heather.

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