Summer meeting 1968: Dingwall, Ross

HomeEventsSummer meeting 1968: Dingwall, Ross

25 August 1968 - 30 August 1968

Meeting report

The second week of the Summer meeting, from 25 to 30 August 1968, was based on Dingwall, Ross-shire, bryologically a little-known area of Scotland. The weather was fine, and nine members attended for the whole week, although four had to leave on the last day. Dingwall, at the head of the Cromarty Firth, is well placed for both interesting acid moine schist and Old Red Sandstone on higher ground, and basic dunes and Old Red Sandstone near the coast, both in Easter Ross (v.-c. 106). Only the last day’s excursion into Sutherland (v.-c. 107) took us into another vice-county.

25 August. The party visited the Black Isle Peninsula to look in particular at Ethie Burn ravine. This was reached by crossing a field at the head of the valley, where Anthoceros husnotii*, Dicranella crispa and Ephemerum serratum var. minutissimum* were found. On descending a precipitous sandstone cliff, Pterygoneuron ovatum was refound in one of its old habitats, and Aloina rigida* was seen on less open ground. Desmatodon convolutus grew on ground bordering the beach. The ascent of the ravine yielded several interesting plants, such as Mnium affine* in a wooded area, Orthotrichum pulchellum on an elder, Metzgeria pubescens*, Cololejeunea calcarea, Gyroweisia tenuis, Hygrohypnum eugyrium and Plagiothecium curvifolium. A stop at a quarry near Drummarkie produced more Aloina rigida and Bryum creberrimum*, and a marsh at Newton of Ferintosh yielded Fossombronia wondraczekii*, Archidium alternifolium, Pseudephemerum nitidum*, and Hypnum lindbergii.

26 August. The ascent of Ben Wyvis was achieved by crossing recently afforested moorland which produced Sphagnum fuscum and Tetraplodon mnioides. Under an unyielding sun, one party scaled the steep west face of Wyvis, finding Moerckia flotoviana*, Calypogeia trichomanis, Scapania uliginosa and Bryum weigelii in flushes, the last two also found by the second party on a lower stream. On the east side of the summit ridge, Moerckia blyttii, Marsupella varians, M. sphacelata and Conostomum tetragonum were found on dry exposed ground, and associated with a late snow patch near the summit, Haplomitrium hookeri*, an interesting find at 3000 ft., Pleuroclada albescens, Nardia breidleri*, Polytrichum norvegicum, Arctoa fulvella, Dicranum starkei, Splachnum sphaericum, Philonotis seriata and Plagiothecium platyphyllum* were discovered. On rocks and flushes in the corrie farther down, Anthelia juratzkana, Lophozia opacifolia, Marsupella stableri*, M. alpina, M. adusta, Scapania umbrosa, S. paludosa, Sphagnum lindbergii and Isothecium myosuroides var. brachythecioides were seen, and Barbilophozia lycopodioides, Gymnomitrion corallioides*, Scapania ornithopodioides, Rhabdoweisia fugax, Dicranodontium asperulum and Hylocomium umbratum grew amongst boulder scree lower on the slope. Rocks by the loch at the bottom of the corrie yielded Grimmia torquata, G. hartmanii, G. patens, Rhacomitrium ellipticum and Pterygynandrum filiforme. Solenostoma oblongifolium*, Plectocolea subelliptica*, Nardia geoscyphus*, Cephalozia pleniceps*, Barbula ferruginascens, Bartramia pomiformis var. elongata, Orthothecium intricatum and Hypnum callichroum were found on the way back to the summit.

27 August. Legs suffering from Ben Wyvis were relieved by a fairly gentle day on the dunes north-east of Tain. Despite afforestation, the remaining highly calcareous dune slacks revealed many interesting plants. On the dunes were Tortula ruraliformis, Barbula reflexa, Tortella inclinata, Thuidium abietinum* and Entodon concinnus, whilst in the slacks were Riccardia incurvata*, Moerckia flotoviana, Fossombronia incurva*, Haplomitrium hookeri, Bryum knowltonii*, B. creberrimum, a member of the B. bicolor aggregate, Meesia uliginosa and Catoscopium nigritum*. Returning, one party stopped at a salt marsh near Summerton to find Campylium polyganum*, and the other party saw Campylopus introflexus* and Desmatodon convolutus by a raised beach at Rockfield, both on the peninsula east of Tain.

28 August. The day was again spent on the Wyvis range. The more energetic of the party headed for Allt nan Caorach, where a gorge through Old Red Sandstone yielded many interesting plants. Tetraphis browniana and Seligeria recurvata were found on rock and Leiocolea heterocolpos* was growing amongst Amphidium mougeotii. Other species seen included Calypogeia neesiana var. neesiana, Eremonotus myriocarpus, Plectocolea paroica*, Marsupella sprucei*, Harpanthus flotovianus and Dicranella grevilleana On rocks in the river were two forms of Hygrohypnum ochraceum and at the side of the path was a small piece of Tetraplodon angustatus. In the fork of a tree Antitrichia curtipendula with abundant fruit was seen. A large number of male plants of Discelium nudum* was found on an exposed clay bank of Allt Coire Misirich, an extension of range from Ayrshire for this plant. Meall a Tuire, visited by other members of the party, yielded Frullania fragilifolia, Atrichum tenellum*, Polytrichum nanum, Pohlia bulbifera and Hypnum cupressiforme var. mamillatum*, whilst Catoscopium nigritum was found above Black Rock in Glen Glass. A search of Evanton salt marsh for Bryum salinum was unsuccessful, but Riccia glauca, R. sorocarpa, Fossombronia wondraczekii and Dicranella schreberana were seen, and Tortula laevipila and T. papillosa were found on an elder by the sea near Ardullie Lodge.

29 August. The party stopped first by the roadside at Altnabreac on Loch Achilty. Orthotrichum striatum was found on a tree by the shore and Mnium affine grew well in a nearby marsh. The path was followed through the wood to Loch an Droma, and Orthotrichum striatum, O. stramineum and O. pulchellum were found on trees overhanging a stream, and Frullania tamarisci var. robusta* occurred on rocks near the path. Around Loch an Droma several finds were made: Fossombronia foveolata* was in some abundance on exposed margins of the loch bed, and on sandy soil at the edge of the loch were Plectocolea paroica, Odontoschisma elongatum*, not seen in Britain for many years, Scapania subalpina, S. scandica and Pohlia bulbifera*. Near the falls of Conon, below Loch Luichart, a little Cryptothallus mirabilis was discovered beneath Sphagnum recurvum and nearer Dingwall, Diplophyllum obtusifolium* was found on a roadside bank and Barbilophozia hatcheri on an overgrown rock in a nearby field.

30 August, the last day, was spent filling in a few gaps in the Sutherland lists. A brief search in the first stubble field over the county boundary produced Riccia sorocarpa*, Anthoceros husnotii*, A. laevis*, Pseudephemerum nitidum* and Pottia truncata*. The dunes north of Embo did not look promising, being very overgrown, but Lophozia excisa*, Scapania aspera*, Seligeria recurvata*, Encalypta rhabdocarpa*, Tortula intermedia*, Barbula reflexa*, Tortella fragilis*, Bryum pendulum*, Thuidium philibertii*, Campylium elodes* and Drepanocladus lycopodioides* were discovered. Farther north, in woods near Little Torboll, the party found Campylopus introflexus* and Plagiothecium curvifolium* on tree bases, Sphagnum teres in boggy ground, and on boulder clay rocks Leiocolea bantriensis, Saccogyna viticulosa*, Scapania degenii *, Lejeunea cavifolia, L. patens* and Frullania tamarisci var. robusta*.

A visit to Cononbridge produced Riccia warnstorfii* and R. glauca*. Mapping cards were marked in fourteen 10 km. grid squares. Despite the area being rather dull geologically, many interesting plants were found, the most outstanding being Leiocolea heterocolpos, Odontoschisma elongatum, Scapania degenii and Discelium nudum, all being considerable range extensions. It is to be hoped that this meeting encourages the B.B.S. to hold further excursions in the area, and to visit other equally inviting but unexplored areas of Scotland. Thanks are due to Miss Duncan for organizing a very successful meeting, and to the members attending whose energy and hard work led to such an enjoyable and fruitful meeting.

Brian J. O’Shea


Dingwall, Ross