Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Sunshine and Croft Lands

On hot days like this the older of the two cats finds a shady spot which is cool - albeit by the compost bin.  As you will have guessed, this old cat isn't famous for her intelligence, but that doesn't make her any less endearing.

A lovely place to pass time on a warm, sunny day is in the croft lands at the back of Ormsaigbeg.  Much of the land is little used except by a few sheep, so it's wonderful for wildlife, particularly if one has time to spare and a willingness to get down on hands a knees to be at its level.

The land is varied, with some areas submerged in the bracken which seems to expand its domain every year, and other areas which are used - as here, by Trevor Potts' Ardnamurchan Campsite, where Trevor is reporting that many of his campers are staying on for longer than planned.

A number of small burns tumble down from the ridge at the back, forming waterfalls where they cross the bands of hard, igneous rock, the cone sheets formed by the Ardnamurchan volcano about 60 million years ago.  Below them are small pools populated by water boatmen and pond skimmers.

But the best places are the little areas of open grassland where the wildflowers go.... wild.  The ground is dry now, so its possible to lie beside these lovely little flowers and get really up-close.  This is bacon and eggs, birds foot trefoil - Lotus corniculatus.  There's masses of it out now so, along with the tormentil and various dandelion relatives, the fields are yellow with blossom.

Except.... in places they're more purple, as the orchids are tremendous up here this year.  We're still struggling with identifying them, but we thought we found northern marsh, heath fragrant, heath spotted, common spotted, and possibly an early marsh.

In such lovely weather and with only a light northerly wind blowing, there should have been more butterflies.  The best of what came by was this one, a common blue, Polyommatus icarus.  It may be called a 'common blue' but it was uncommonly beautiful.


  1. Jon, I heard a piece on Radio Scotland recently about the scarcity of the Twinflower and wondered if perhaps you had come across any clumps around Ardnamurchan? Alasdair Thornton

  2. Haven't seen it yet Alasdair but, now that I've discovered what it looks like, will start searching. Jon

  3. some stunning photos Jon, can't wait til we come up on holiday in July - Karry