Allt Fearna and Loch Cuil na Creige

Not far from Strollamus, the Allt Fearna empties into the sea.  A short distance across the water is Scalpay:

Scalpay through the Old Road Bridge

The tetrad with its northern edge a little to the south of the estuary had few previous records, but some that were indicative of some richness along the Allt Fearna such as Galium odoratum (Woodruff), Polystichum aculeatum (Hard Shield-fern) and Prunus padus (Bird Cherry).  The gorge was something of a challenge:

Obstacle 1

and the river was flowing quite fast after recent rains.

Obstacle 2

but the river was quite good botanically with Asplenium viride (Green Spleenwort) and Bromopsis ramosa (Hairy-brome ) as well as those advertised above.  It was a beautiful day for a while and I lunched in sunshine beside the stream.  The hailstorm at about 2pm was less welcome, especially as I was standing in completely open ground in the middle of a bog.  The bog rewarded me with Utricularia intermedia agg. (Intermediate Bladderwort aggregate – specimen sent for further determination), Rhynchospora alba (White Beak-sedge) in profusion and Carex limosa (Bog-sedge), leaving me wondering what other goodies might be found earlier in the season.

The other main reason for heading to this tetrad was to look for Subularia aquatica (Awlwort) in Loch Cùil na Creige where it had been recorded in October 1973 – and there it was in small numbers.

Earlier in the day on my way back from Kyle (dentist again) I had the dubious pleasure of adding Cortaderia richardii (Early Pampas-grass) to a new 10km square but failed in a quick look for a 1985-86 record for Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s-violet).

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