Summer meeting 1977: Perthshire

HomeEventsSummer meeting 1977: Perthshire

23 July 1977 - 30 July 1977

Meeting report

About a dozen members and friends joined the first week of the meeting which was based at Pitlochry and made use of facilities at Kindrogan Field Centre. The majority of sites visited were on calcareous ground with a wide range of altitude and a number of interesting discoveries were made.

24 July: Glen Tilt (lower) 27/86 (v.c. 89)

This part of the Tilt Valley is mainly in limestone and has a quite impressive gorge. Dykes of lamprophyre occur within the limestone and provide a rather more acidic substrate. There was a moderately persistent drizzle early in the day but this cleared up after lunch. This part of the glen is notable for the considerable amounts of Orthothecium rufescens and O. intricatum on the rock faces, often associated with Cratoneuron, encrusted with thick calcareous tufa. Anthelia juratzkana was found at a remarkably low altitude (800ft) growing on a moist outcrop of limestone and Ptilium crista-castrensis was seen in one of the conifer plantations above: the gorge, along with Dicranodontium denudatum.

25 July: Glen Loch and Loch Loch cliffs 27/96 (v.c. 89)

The area is extremely complex geologically but again the party concentrated on calcareous areas (calc-schists and graphitic schists) and base-rich flushes. Unfortunately, even with the permission of the landowner to take our vehicles up to Daldhu, about 3 miles from Loch Loch, we did not manage to reach the richest areas at the northern end of the Loch, but a great deal of useful material was seen. Myurella julacea and the var. scabrifolia were seen on dry earthy ledges, mixed with a number of species of Encalypta: M. julacea was fairly common but the variety occurred mainly as isolated stems and was a new county record. The abundance of Pseudoleskea catenulata was quite remarkable and Funaria obtusa was found in a number of places together with Encalypta rhabdocarpa c. spor. Earthy crevices were searched thoroughly for Stegonia latifolia, which had been found in the area, and Desmatodon leucostoma, but to no avail. On the way back to the cars the base-rich flushes were briefly examined and provided Catoscopium nigritum, Meesia uliginosa and Amblyodon dealbatus for our mapping card, growing in handsome tussocks of Gymnostomum aeruginosum.

26 July (morning): Edintian 28/36; and (afternoon): Tomphubil and Lochan an Daimh 27/75 (v. c. 88)

Edintian and Tulach Hill have several interesting habitats and Rhytidium rugosum is recorded from dry limestone areas on the latter, but the site was not found. Edintian has some calcareous flushes and a somewhat derelict raised bog (Cladopodiella francisci and Sphagnum imbricatum were found here). Good material of Mnium seligeri and Dicranella staphylina was found on the banks of a drainage ditch by Miss Hooper and Mr. Townsend but generally the area offered little else of interest. After lunch we visited Phubil, a disused limestone quarry and limekiln which is under threat of development for recreational purposes. The site is not remarkable bryologically but is noted for the occurrence of Gentianella amarella ssp. druceana in one of its few localities; the main reason for our visit was to provide the Nature Conservancy Council with a detailed bryophyte list for their records.

We then travelled a few miles to Lochan an Daimh, north of Schichallion. This is an interesting area with good Dalradian limestone pavement and calcareous flushes in a mosaic with Calluna and Pteridium. A little to the west is a small area of birch wood which has developed on limestone pavement covered with a thin layer of drift. The area yielded a good selection of Barbula spp. and Entodon orthocarpus was almost as abundant as Hypnum cupressiforme var. tectorum and H. cupressiforme var. lacunosum. Some members collected Tortella tortuosa c. spor. and the differences between the bryophyte communities of the exposed clints and the sheltered and often deep grikes were seen to good advantage.

27 July: Schichallion 27/75 (v.c. 88)

Most of the party returned to the Schichallion area and looked at some of the high-level calcareous areas which turned out to be very interesting. A total of 108 mosses and 55 hepatics was recorded including Anoectangium warburgii, Cinclidium stygium and several interesting species of Scapania including S. scandica. The old record for Trematodon ambiguus, once found in a tuft of Bryum alpinum, could not be refound in spite of careful searching in likely sites. The limestone was north-facing and both damper and higher up the mountain than in the areas visited the previous day; as a consequence of this Myurella and Pseudoleskea were not seen, although both occur on calcareous schist rocks at a similar altitude on Creag ne Chailleach and other places in the Lawers area, a few miles to the south. Acrocladium trifarium was found in some abundance in a base-flushed mire.

Two members of the party went to Killiecrankie 27/96 (v.c. 89) to investigate the way in which the bryophyte flora was affected by the increasing public use of the area which was owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Killiecrankie is predominantly Quercus petraea-Betula woodland with little calcareous influence apart from the stones and mortar of the railway viaduct. Fortunately the public use of the area appears to have been restricted to areas along paths and by the R. Garry and the bryoflora does not seem to have suffered unduly.

28 July: Glen Tilt (upper) 27/87 and 27/97 (v.c. 89)

It had been intended to took at Ben Dearg but the consensus of the party was that a visit should be paid to the upper reaches of Glen Tilt. The area around Auchgobhal was rather dry and few hepatics were found apart from Solenostoma levieri and Plectocolea subelliptica; Anoectangium warburgii was found by some members. The best ground was found on the crags to the NE of Forest Lodge (Craig Mhor), with small areas of Dryas-heath just above the river (expertly forded without incident by the party). Just above the Dryas were bands of mica – graphitic schists interspersed with bands of more acidic material. Here, a number of interesting species of Pohlia were found, together with more Myurella julacea and Pseudoleskea catenulata; Pterogonium gracile, Ulota phyllantha and Pterigynandrum filiforme were seen by several of the party and Dr. Watson collected the now rare Bryum uliginosum.

29 July: Ben Vrackie 27/96 (v.c. 89)

Heterocladium heteropterum was seen on some sycamores and lime trees by the car park and after a pleasant walk over moorland on which we gradually gained height. Acrocladium sarmentosum and A. trifarium were seen in a peaty area below the dammed lochan. The party (inadvertently!) split up and searched the peak for basic ground – in this case, mainly epidorite. Cinclidium stygium was seen in a flushed area and Mr. Crundwell found Tayloria lingulata. Tetraplodon mnioides, occasionally found in the area, turned up in several places, including the corpse of a vole. ‘Pohliophiles’ found 8 species including Pohlia proligera, P. gracilis and P. bulbifera and hepatics were well represented. Scapania degenii, S. scandica, Barbilophozia quadriloba and Cynodontium tenellum were seen. Several members (the hardier ones) enjoyed a swim in the lochan on the way back.

During the course of the week, five 10 km grid squares were visited and because the area was well-known bryologically very few new county records were made. The meeting seemed to be very successful, partly because the group was quite small and tended to keep together; the less-experienced bryologists certainly benefitted from the field and laboratory work. We were also very fortunate in having good weather for the majority of the time. Our thanks are due to the landowners who gave their permission to collect material from their estates and to use private roads; to Mrs. Paton and Mr. Crundwell for devoting much of their time in the field and the lab. to helping the less experienced members, and to Brian Brookes and his staff at Kindrogan for helping with the organization of the meeting and providing facilities which were appreciated by the participants.

P.D. Coker