Ben Edra

Thursday saw me on the Trotternish Ridge including Ben Edra.  I parked in Fairy Glen and walked eastwards to the Ridge which is an easy approach, no steep climbs at all.  I was able to complete a circle taking in Beinn Fhuar, Beinn an Laoigh and the Trotternish Ridge from Bealach Chaiplin to Bealach Amadal to Beinn Mheadhonach to Bealach  a’Mhòramhain to Beinn Edra and back across country to Fairy Glen.

The tetrad including Beinn Fhuar and the western parts of Beinn an Laoigh had no previous records but was not without interest. Species found included Diphasiastrum alpinum (Alpine Clubmoss), Hymenophyllum wilsonii (Wilson’s Filmy-fern) and Saxifraga stellaris (Starry Saxifrage).

Most things of interest that are supposed to be in this stretch of the Ridge were in rude health: Diphasiastrum alpinum (Alpine Clubmoss), Epilobium alsinifolium (Chickweed Willowherb), Gnaphalium supinum (Dwarf Cudweed) – including in a new tetrad, Juncus triglumis (Three-flowered Rush), Koenigia islandica (Iceland-purslane), Luzula spicata (Spiked Wood-Rush), Minuartia sedoides (Cyphel), Oxyria digyna (Mountain Sorrel), Persicaria vivipara (Alpine Bistort) and Salix herbacea (Dwarf Willow). I only spotted one plant of the rare Juncus biglumis (Two-flowered Rush) but Sibbaldia procumbens (Sibbaldia) was much more common than records might have suggested.


Though it is supposed to flower in July and August, I have never seen evidence of Sibbaldia flowering on Skye. However, it must do some years…

On the Salix herbacea there were galls caused by the sawfly Pontania herbaceae:

Gall from Salix herbacea

There are only five 10km square records for this on the NBN Gateway one of which is the square directly to the south of where I found it this time, a 2004 record by Carl Farmer.

The views were acceptable:

Cleat and the Quirang

I also found a fox’s paw, presumably brought to the top of the ridge by a scavenger:

Fox paw

I suspect the animal may have been shot as I have seen evidence of such things in this part of Skye before. The end result is that SNH has recently had to sanction a rabbit extermination scheme through shooting because of erosion around the Storr; a decent fox population would have made this unnecessary.

Finally, I know I have shown a picture not so long ago but I can’t resist another of Koenigia, whose only locations in the British Isles are Skye and Mull:

Koenigia islandica

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One Response to “Ben Edra”

  1. Beinn Edra | Plants of Skye, Raasay & The Small Isles Says:

    […] on my last visit, much of the Salix herbacea (Dwarf Willow)was infected by the sawfly Pontania herbaceae giving […]

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