Summer meeting 1961: Dumfries

HomeEventsSummer meeting 1961: Dumfries

2 September 1961 - 9 September 1961

Meeting report

The autumn meeting was held at Dumfries from 2 to 9 September, sixteen members attending throughout the week. This was the first time that the B.B.S. had met in S.W. Scotland and it was unfortunate that the weather did not co-operate in the welcome. Luckily most of the members had seen Scotland in happier mood and were not unduly daunted. Ample transport was available and each of the cars was able to have a rest day, while the members circulated daily among the others.

On Sunday 3 September the venue was in the east of Dumfriesshire (v.c. 72) and the party assembled at Gilnockie Bridge in Eskdale. The cars then moved on up the Ewes Water to Mosspeeble. The day’s main search was directed to the two gullies, Birkshaw Linn and Bloodycleuch Linn, at the north end of Arkleton Hill, where streams flowed over and between low cliffs of calcareous Upper Old Red sandstone. Here, on a previous occasion, Distichium inclinatum, Amblystegiella sprucei and Leiocolea heterocolpos had been found, but this time only the last was seen. On the west side of the hill there are several small corrie-like hollows, containing outcrops of similar rock. Some members of the party proceeded towards one of these, Rowantree Cove, but as the upper ground was mist covered, it seems improbable that the cove was fully explored. The two linns unite at their foot and run as Mosspeeble Burn in a ravine through Silurian rock of the non-calcareous (graptolitic) facies of Wenlock time. Most of the party had a good look at the sandstone of the two gullies and some visited the lower ravine. A long list of the species seen could be compiled, as mapping cards were used, but the following selection gives an idea of the bryophytic flora. Sphagna were well represented by palustre, magellanicum, compactum, squarrosum, recurvum, tenellum, contortum, subsecundum vars. inundatum and auriculatum, fimbriatum, girgensohnii, robustum, capillaceum, quinquefarium and plumulosum. Other mosses seen were fruiting Polytrichum alpestre, Fissidens minutulus, F. osmundoides, Ditrichum flexicaule, Seligeria doniana, S. recurvata, abundant Dicranella varia, D. subulata, Dicranum scottianum, Encalypta ciliata, Tortula subulata var. subulata and var. graeffii*, Gymnostomum aeruginosum, G. recurvirostrum fruiting, Gyroweissia tenuis, Anoectangium compactum, a very narrow leaved form of Trichostomum crispulum, Weissia rutilans*, W. microstoma*, Tetraphis browniana, Leptobryum pyriforme, Pohlia cruda, P. rothii, P. annotina var. decipiens, P. proligera*, Bryum pallens fruiting, Mnium seligeri*, fruiting Breutelia chrysocoma, Thuidium philibertii, Hygrohypnum eugyrium, Eurhynchium swartzii var. rigidum*, and Plagiothecium succulentum. The hepatics included Pellia neesiana *, Ptilidium ciliare, Blepharostoma trichophyllum, Calypogeia neesiana var. neesiana*, C. muelleriana*, C. arguta, Lophozia alpestris, Leiocolea badensis, L. muelleri, L. bantriensis, Tritomaria exsectiformis, Sphenolobus minutus, Anastrepta orcadensis, Plectocolea paroica*, Nardia geoscyphus*, Plagiochila spinulosa, Chiloscyphus pallescens*, Scapania umbrosa, Lejeunea patens*, and L. lamacerina*.

[* = New v.c. record]

4 September was spent visiting a number of lowland localities of varying types. Not everybody reached Nunland Hill (v.c.73), but those who did were soon well down in a stubble field with some success. Their finds included Ditrichum cylindricum*, Pseudephemerum nitidum. Ephemerum serratum var. serratum and var. minutissimum*, Bryum erythrocarpum and Eurhynchium megapolitanum*, this last being exciting as an inland station of a moss with very few Scottish records. Hepatics seen were Anthoceros punctatus, A. laevis*, Fossombronia pusilla, F. wondraczekii and Cephaloziella starkei.

The excursion reunited at the Grove (v.c.73), where mixed deciduous woodland with old elders and a humid atmosphere produced a number of epiphytes, such as Tortula laevipila and T. papillosa on a roadside ash and Metzgeria fruticulosa, fruiting Zygodon conoideus, the Orthotricha affine, striatum, lyellii, pulchellum, and Diaphanum, and Cryphaea heteromalla, also Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus five feet up an elder. Plagiothecium curvifolium* was seen here. The best find was Dicranum flagellare* on rotten stumps, the second Scottish vice-county record. Some members meanwhile had looked at a Carex paniculata and willow swamp where they found Climacium dendroides with immature fruit (totally immersed when visited later in the autumn), Mnium rugicum* and M. seligeri*. The whole party now settled to their sandwiches together in a space by the wood.

After lunch about half the company proceeded direct to a wooded Permian sandstone ravine on the Carron Water near Enoch (v.c.72), while the others visited an islet in the Cluden Water (v.c.73) to see Orthotrichum rivulare on water-washed willows; Chiloscyphus pallescens* was also encountered here. The Carron Water habitats were more overgrown than when last surveyed but Barbula unguiculata var. cuspidata* and Thuidium philibertii were seen on a roadside bank, and in the gorge the party recorded fruiting Dicranella rufescens, Tetraphis browniana, Bryum inclinatum, Bartramia ithyphylla and Hypnum cupressiforme var. mamillatum among the mosses while the hepatics included Metzgeria fruticulosa*, Calypogeia neesiana var. meylanii*, C. muelleriana, plentiful Plectocolea paroica, Harpanthus scutatus, Cephaloziella starkei and Cephalozia bicuspidata var. lammersiana.

5 September dawned dismal and with a dubious forecast. Moffatdale (v.c. 72) was overcast on arrival and the weather degenerated into a downpour, which made visual aids a doubtful advantage. However those who stayed until the time arranged for departure found conditions improved. This area of U-shaped valleys set in a Silurian setting of shales and greywackes has base-rich pockets and is probably the best known part of Dumfriesshire bryologically. The members split into two main groups. One party visited the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall ravine. They noted there Lophozia alpestris, Scapania subalpina, Radula lindbergiana and Frullania fragilifolia among other hepatics. Mosses included Brachydontium trichodes, Rhabdoweissia crenulata*, Arctoa fulvella fruiting, Gymnostomum aeruginosum, G. recurvirostrum, Anoectangium compactum, Trichostomum brachydontium, Pohlia annotina, P. delicatula and Plagiobryum zierii. This party then moved on to Raking Gill near the head of the dale and there they recorded Lophozia bicrenata, Solenostoma triste, S. cordifolium, Plagiochila spinulosa with perianths, P. punctata, Dicranoweissia cirrata, Encalypta streptocarpa, fruiting Plagiothecium denticulatum and the var. obtusifolium*.

The other party chose Blackhope as their objective, Nether Coomb Craig, Upper Coomb Craig, Upper Toor Gill and Hartfell Craig, all being visited by different members. Nether Coomb Craig yielded the Sphagna recurvum, contortum, subsecundum var. inundatum and auriculatum, robustum and plumulosum, the Andreaeas alpina, rupestris and rothii, Oligotrichum hercynicum, Brachydontium trichodes, fruiting Blindia acuta, fruiting Dicranella squarrosa, Rhabdoweissia denticulata, fruiting Dichodontium pellucidum, Campylopus fragilis, C. flexuosus, C. atrovirens, Tortella tortuosa, Trichostomum tenuirostre, Weissia controversa, Grimmia doniana, fruiting Anomobryum filiforme, Bartramia ithyphylla, Breutelia chrysocoma, Ptychomitrium polyphyllum, Fontinalis antipyretica, Drepanocladus revolvens, Scorpidium scorpioides, Isothecium myosuroides var. brachythecioides*, fruiting Isopterygium pulchellum and Ctenidium molluscum var. robustum*. Among hepatics were Anthelia julacea, Ptilidium ciliare, Anastrepta orcadensis, Marsupella ustulata*, Gymnomitrion concinnatum, Plagiochila punctata and Lejeunea cavifolia*. These long list are representative of Blackhope bryophytes. Plants added from the other ground looked at included fruiting Diphyscium foliosum, Dicranum falcatum, Rhabdoweissia fugax, Amphidium lapponicum, Grimmia stricta, Drepanocladus fluitans, Plagiothecium denticulatum var. obtusifolium, and P. succulentum, Pellia fabbroniana, Lophozia alpestris, and Gymnomitrion crenulatum*

On their return to Dumfries part of the excursion stopped at Ae Bridge over Ae Water (v.c.72) and there they found Marchantia polymorpha var. aquatica* Metzgeria conjugata, Leiocolea muelleri, Tritomaria exsectiformis and Nowellia curvifolia. A further halt was made at Locharbriggs quarries (v.c. 72) where Riccia sorocarpa, Fossombronia pusilla, Lophozia ventricosa var. silvicola*, and L. excisa, Cephaloziella hampeana, C. starkei and Scapania irrigua were recorded.

6 September was devoted to Scottish Carboniferous Limestone outcrops in Dumfriesshire (v.c.72). First stop was Kelhead limeworks (long disused and the main seams flooded); the waste heaps are fairly well leached but the hollows were damp. The most interesting plants seen were Thuidium philibertii, Campylium protensum* and Drepanocladus aduncus. The party then moved on to Blackwoodridge near Eaglesfield where there are some undisturbed rock faces. Here Fissidens viridulus, Aloina aloides, Barbula trifaria*, Bryum argenteum var. lanatum*, Zygodon viridissimus var. occidentalis (on elder tree) the Orthotricha striatum, affine and pulchellum, Amblystegium juratzkanum* and Leiocolea turbinata were seen. The third locality visited was Penton Linns on Liddel Water, which here forms the boundary between Dumfriesshire and Cumberland. Upon arrival the party took lunch on a rather uncomfortable rock sloping into the river. Subsequently only the Dumfriesshire side was charted, though it took a nice eye to see that some of the water-loving Fissidens were natives of the right country. Here the limestone exposure is good and the following plants were seen, Fissidens minutulus, F. crassipes*, F. rufulus*, F. cristatus, Distichium capillaceum, the Seligerias doniana, pusilla, and recurvata, Barbula spadicea, B. trifaria, Encalypta streptocarpa, Gyroweissia tenuis fruiting, Eucladium verticillatum*, Trichostomum crispulum, T. brachydontium, Grimmia apocarpa, G. alpicola var. alpicola*, and var. rivularis, Bryum bicolor, Mnium marginatum, M. stellare, M. longirostrum, Orthotrichum anomalum, O. cupulatum var. nudum*, Homalia trichomanoides, Leskea polycarpa fruiting, Anomodon viticulosus, Cirriphyllum crassinervium, Rhynchostegiella teesdalei, Marchantia polymorpha var. aquatica, Metzgeria pubescens, Blepharostoma trichophyllum, Bazzania trilobata, Leiocolea turbinata, L. muelleri, Sphenolobus minutus, Solenostoma atrovirens var. sphaerocarpoidea, Lophocolea heterophylla, Chiloscyphus pallescens, Cephaloziella hampeana, Cephalozia bicuspidata, Scapania aequiloba*, Porella laevigata, P. platyphylla, Lejeunea cavifolia, L. lamacerina, L. ulicina, and Cololejeunea calcarea.

7 September. The excursion planned for this day was to the north-facing crags above Loch Dungeon in the Kells hills (v.c. 73). The rock here is of Ordovician age and, lying close to the large granite intrusion north of Loch Dee, it has been in part metamorphosed by contact. Base-rich pockets are relatively few and the party probably never saw them. Asplenium viride was not reported and Anoectangium not on the lists. Pleurozia is here near its southern limit in Great Britain and the Marsupella and Gymnomitrion genera are well represented. Marsupella ustulata*, emarginata and aquatica, Gymnomitrion obtusum and crenulatum were all seen and M. alpina also occurs. Sphagna recorded included palustre, papillosum, compactum, recurvum, tenellum, cuspidatum, subsecundum vars. subsecundum, inundatum and auriculatum, capillaceum and plumulosum. Other bryophytes encountered were representative of the local flora and included Andreaea alpina, A. rupestris, Oligotrichum hercynicum, Diphyscium foliosum, Fissidens adianthoides, Dicranum blyttii, Campylopus flexuosus, C. setifolius, Grimmia doniana, G, torquata, Tetraplodon mnioides and Acrocladium stramineum among the mosses and Ptilidium ciliare, Lepidozia setacea, Calypogeia muelleriana*, C. fissa, C. arguta, Lophozia alpestris, L. incisa, Barbilophozia floerkei, B. attenuata, Solenostoma pumilum, S. cordifolium, Mylia taylori, Cephaloziella pearsonii, Scapania curta, S. gracilis and S. nemorosa.

Meanwhile the lure of the fabulous Black Burn near Newcastleton in Roxburghshire (v.c. 80) had seduced a carload of our members, though this had been made up to us by the accession for the day of our Bibliographer and a Nature Conservancy presence. A list from the Black Burn is characteristic of its flora, which is noteworthy for the many tiny species growing on the limestone there. On the wet moorland between the road and the burn Mylia taylori, M. anomala, Cephalozia connivens, C. macrostachya with perianths and Splachnum ampullaceum were noted. The other bryophytes recorded were the mosses Polytrichum alpestre, P. formosum*, Fissidens minutulus, Ditrichum cylindricum, D. heteromallum, Brachydontium trichodes, the Seligerias doniana, pusilla and recurvata, Dicranella rufescens, Dicranodontium asperulum, Gyroweissia tenuis and Tetraphis browniana, also the hepatics Blasia pusilla, Plectocolea paroica and Harpanthus scutatus. Everybody concluded the day’s proceedings with conversation over coffee at Mainsriddle.

8 September. Some members of the excursion were leaving for home today, but all went to Maidenbower Craigs (of Permian sandstone, v.c. 72) near Dumfries to search for Paraleucobryum longifolium for which, with Grimmia patens, there exists an old record in this locality. Although the main object was not achieved, a little G. patens was seen and other mosses were Rhabdoweissia denticulata, Cynodontium bruntonii, Gyroweissia tenuis, Eucladium verticillatum, Amblystegium compactum* (an exciting find), Rhynchostegiella pallidirostra, R. tenella and Plagiothecium sylvaticum*. Hepatics included Reboulia hemisphaerica*, Marchesinia mackaii*, and Lejeunea lamacerina. A nearby field of stubble provided Ditrichum cylindricum, Ephemerum serratum, Anthoceros punctatus*, A. laevis, Riccia warnstorfii*, and Fossombronia pusilla. We now said farewell to the Northumbrians who, with other members, visited parts of the Lochar Moss (v.c.72) where they saw the Sphagna palustre, magellanicum in some quantity, papillosum, compactum, recurvum, tenellum, cuspidatum, capillaceum, and plumulosum, Fossombronia pusilla, F. wondraczekii, Lepidozia setacea, Calypogeia fissa, Mylia taylori, M. anomala, Cephaloziella starkei, Cephalozia connivens, Odontoschisma sphagni, Pseudephemerum nitidum, Tetraplodon mnioides fruiting, Pohlia annotina and Acrocladium stramineum.

The other party made for the Kirkcudbright (v.c. 73) coast and climbed the lower part of Airdrie Hill to see Grimmia decipiens (on granite). En route they recorded Pohlia rothii*, P. annotina, Funaria obtusa, Riccardia multifida, Calypogeia fissa, C. muelleriana, Lophozia ventricosa var. silvicola*, Cephalozia pleniceps*, and sterile C. loitlesbergeri* (perianths found at later date). From this hill where sandwiches were taken, the party moved to the coast beyond Caulkerbush where going down at Needles Eye, they walked along over the marshland partly salt, which lies at the base of the wooded cliffs or heughs, to the waterfall by Lot’s Wife. The rocks here are Silurian of Wenlock age, much altered by the neighbouring granite intrusion. A basic element is present (Cirriphyllum crassinervium occurs), but this characteristic is not fully brought out by the few plants listed on this occasion which included, Grimmia hartmanii, Mnium longirostrum, Orthotricha affine, stramineum and diaphanum, Pellia fabbroniana, Marchesinia mackaii and Lejeunea lamacerina*.

All the members on the excursion were energetic and enthusiastic, often erudite. The number of new records was gratifying and it is to be hoped that the Society will revisit some part of Southern Scotland in the not too distant future. Any losses of men or materials were redeemed and the impression left was of a happy and harmonious week.

H. Milne-Redhead