Summer meeting 1972: Oban

HomeEventsSummer meeting 1972: Oban

2 September 1972 - 8 September 1972

Meeting report

2 September On 2 September we regretfully parted company with six members and proceeded to Oban which was to be our headquarters for the second week. All the localities visited during this second week were in v.-c. 98. En route a visit was paid to Creag nam Fhitheach near the head of Loch Craignish. This hill has an interesting calcicole flora, and the bryophytes included Camptothecium lutescens, Gymnostomum calcareum, Orthothecium intricatum, Seligeria doniana, S. pusilla, Cololejeunea calcarea, Metzgeria pubescens, and Scapania aspera. We were retarded too with a magnificent view from the top of the hill. On elders at the Ardfern road junction Tortula laevipila was noted.

3 September On the following day we first visited scattered birch woodland and bog by Lochan Dubh near Barravullin north of Connel. A good selection of Sphagna was seen including Sphagnum magellanicum and S. tenellum c. fr. Pleurozia purpurea was common on wet peaty ground almost at sea-level, and by the loch were Drepanocladus fluitans var. fluitans and Gymnocolea inflata. In the wood the only noteworthy moss was Dicranum scottianum, but the rich hepatic flora included Cephalozia catenulata, Riccardia palmata, Scapania umbrosa and Tritomaria exsectiformis. After lunch the road was taken via Glen Salach to the north shore of Loch Etive at Bonawe Ferry. A gully in the andesite in Glen Salach produced Gymnostomum aeruginosum c. fr., Mnium stellare, Neckera crispa, Ptilium crista-castrensis, Leiocolea bantriensis, and L. muelleri. At Blarcreen Hyocomium flagellare c. fr., Trichostomum tenuirostre var. holtii, and Aphanolejeunea microscopica were noted, and at Bonawe Ferry Archidium alternifolium. which grew in damp spots and at the margin of a salt-marsh.

4 September The venue on 4 September was Ben Cruachan (3689 ft), the approach being made by car to the hydro-electric dam, by courtesy of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. This facility gave us a 1300 ft advantage in altitude and obviated a long walk. Near the dam two good finds were made in the disturbed ground which had resulted from the construction work. The occurrence here of Aongstroemia longipes* and Fossombronia incurva was of considerable interest, and the resemblance of the habitat to that near Ben Lawers was remarked upon. The ascent of Ben Cruachan was mainly over acid granite terrain. A limited area of better rock produced Orthothecium intricatum and Scapania aspera. The main interest of the day was provided by the north-facing summit rocks at over 3500 ft. Here the most noteworthy species were Andreaea nivalis, Arctoa fulvella, Bryum pseudotriquetrum var. bimum c. fr., Campylopus schimperi, Conostomum tetragonum, Dicranum falcatum, D. starkei, Ditrichum zonatum, Oedipodium griffithianum, Pohlia cruda, Rhacomitrium canescens var. ericoides, Anastrophyllum donianum, Gymnomitrion obtusum, Lophozia alpestris, Marsupella alpina, M. sphacelata, and M. ustulata. During the descent by the south face Philonotis seriata and Scapania uliginosa were found in flushes and, close to the dam, Bryum riparium on a wet rock-face.

5 September On 5 September we visited Lismore in Loch Linnhe between Mull and the mainland. This island is composed almost entirely of Dalradian limestone. Along the raised beach between Achnacroish and Kilcheran, calcicoles were well represented, perhaps the most interesting being Targionia hypophylla, not previously reported from Lismore. Other bryophytes occurring in this area included Anomodon viticulosus, Bryum klinggraeffii*, B. ruderale, Cirriphyllum crassinervium, Ditrichum flexicaule, Eucladium verticillatum, Gymnostomum calcareum, Philonotis calcarea, Rhynchostegiella pumila, R. tenella, Tortula intermedia, Trichostomum brachydontium var. cophocarpum*, Leiocolea badensis*, L. turbinata, Marchesinia mackaii, and Metzgeria pubescens. Some of the party visited Kilcheran Loch and in marshy ground and woodland found Acrocladium giganteum, Funaria attenuata, and Pterogonium gracile. Leucodon sciuroides—a rare moss in Argyll—was found in considerable quantity on an ash near Achnacroish. The return trip to Oban was enlivened by our having to share the limited accommodation on the boat with a flock of sheep!

6 September On 6 September most members elected to visit Glen Nant, south of Taynuilt, where the luxuriant bryophyte flora included Antitrichia curtipendula, Bartramia pomiformis var. crispa, Campylium protensum, Heterocladium heteropterum var. flaccidum, Hygrohypnum ochraceum, Hylocomium umbratum, Isopterygium pulchellum, Isothecium holtii, Neckera pumila, Omalia trichomanoides, Philonotis calcarea, Ptilium crista-castrensis, Rhabdoweisia crenulata, Tetraphis browniana, Thuidium recognitum, Anastrepta orcadensis, Aphanolejeunea microscopica, Cololejeunea calcarea, Drepanolejeunea hamatifolia, Harpalejeunea ovata, Leiocolea bantriensis, L. muelleri, Lepidozia pearsonii, Metzgeria hamata, Mylia cunefolia, Scapania aspera, and Trichocolea tomentella. Of particular interest was a fine patch of male Plagiochila asplenioides about a foot square. Fossombronia wondraczekii occurred by the roadside. Near the limestone quarry north of Kilchrenan Bryum intermedium, Pohlia annotina (male), P. lutescens, Thuidium philibertii, Ulota drummondii, and F. wondraczekii were noted.

7 September On 7 September we headed for Glen Creran in Appin. On a wooded limestone outcrop near Dalnasheen the luxuriant calcicole flora included Anomodon viticulosus, Brachythecium glareosum, Eurhynchium murale, Gymnostomum calcareum, Neckera crispa, N. pumila, Rhynchostegiella pumila, and Porella laevigata. Along the course of the Allt Coire Mulrooney, a tributary of the Creran, the following were noted: Dicranella cerviculata*, Fissidens crassipes, Gymnostomum recurvirostrum var. insigne, Hypnum cupressiforme var. mamillatum, Ulota drummondii, U. hutchinsiae, Orthothecium rufescens, Aphanolejeunea microscopica, Calypogeia suecica, Cephalozia catenulata, Cololejeunea calcarea, Douinia ovata, Drepanolejeunea hamatifolia, Harpalejeunea ovata, Hygrobiella laxifolia, Jamesoniella autumnalis, Leiocolea bantriensis, Marsupella ustulata, Metzgeria fruticulosa, Mylia cuneifolia, Plectocolea obovata, P. paroica, and Tritomaria exsecta. Hypnum lindbergii was very fine on a path in Glen Creran.

8 September had been scheduled for a visit to Ben Sgulaird, a hill with high-level limestone outcrops, but heavy rain deterred most of the party, who visited the Loch Melfort area instead. Three members, however, who braved the elements on Ben Sgulaird were rewarded: after a cold, wet ascent from Taravocan the rain gave way to sunshine, but not without a snow shower which left the surrounding tops with a white covering. To reach the limited areas of limestone around 1800 ft entailed traversing much relatively uninteresting ground. This had abundance of certain of the commoner western hepatics. Species noted on the limestone were Distichium capillaceum, D. inclinatum*, Ditrichum flexicaule, Isopterygium pulchellum c. fr., Myurella julacea, Orthothecium rufescens, Rhytidium rugosum, Seligeria doniana, Cololejeunea calcarea, and Leiocolea muelleri. Elsewhere on the hill we found Bryum riparium, Dicranum blyttii, Gymnostomum recurvirostrum var. insigne, Rhacomitrium heterostichum var. gracilescens c. fr., Frullania fragilifolia, Herberta adunca, Metzgeria conjugata, and Tritomaria exsecta. Those who visited andesite crags and woodland north of Loch Melfort were disappointed not to find some of the more interesting species of that area such as Grimmia anodon and G. laevigata, but saw Drepanocladus revolvens var. intermedius, Rhabdoweisia denticulata, Rhytidium rugosum, and Porella thuja.

Only six new vice-county records resulted from this second week of the meeting, but in such a well-recorded area this is perhaps not surprising. Record cards for the Bryophyte Mapping Scheme were prepared for seven 10 km squares. These cards aroused considerable interest on the part of our overseas visitors.

A. MCG. Stirling