Summer meeting 1996: Braemar, Kincardine & Deeside

HomeEventsSummer meeting 1996: Braemar, Kincardine & Deeside

17 August 1996 - 24 August 1996

Meeting report

Saturday 17 August

Loch Morlich, Inverness-shire, VC. 96, 28/90

Nine members met at Loch Morlich on their way from Glencoe to Braemar to search for Lophozia longiflora on rotting logs in what appears to be its only British locality: see Long (1996) under L. guttulata. Liverworts seen near the south shore of the loch included Kurzia sylvatica, Cephalozia pleniceps, Cephaloziella hampeana and Tritomaria exsectiformis, all new to the 10 km square or, at least, not seen recently, but L. longiflora was not re-found.

A reduced party compared with Glencoe met at Braemar: Agneta Burton, Alain Vanderpoorten from Belgium, Blanka Buryová from Prague, David Rycroft, Harold Whitehouse, Herman Stieperaere from Belgium, Jean Paton, John Blackburn, Mark Pool, Robert Finch and Ron Porley, but with the welcome addition of Noel Pritchard, Rod and Vanessa Stern and Tom Blockeel. Later in the week, we were joined by Roger Kemp for one day and by David Long and Sonam Wangchuk from Bhutan for two days. On the 20th, Alain and Robert departed, but Nick Hodgetts joined us.

Sunday 18 August

Morrone Birkwood, Aberdeenshire, VC. 92, 37/19

Cars were parked near the duck-pond just west of Braemar. On calcareous crags, Ron found Stegonia latifolia at 480 m altitude, and Tom found Trichostomum crispulum*, Racomitrium canescens s. s. and Orthotrichum anomalum. Much of the woodland has been fenced to prevent grazing by deer, particularly of the juniper. Management of the National Nature Reserve requires a balance to be struck between over-grazing on the one hand and birch invasion of the open flush areas of the wood on the other. In a flushed area, Sphagnum warnstorfii and Scorpidium scorpioides were seen, and Tom found Plagiomnium elatum in another. Lophozia longidens was found on juniper stems, and a hypnaceous moss on an isolated rock. This plant was at first thought to be Hypnum hamulosum, but proved to be Ctenidium molluscum.

Morrone, VC. 92, 37/18

The higher parts of this hill have an acid substrate, where Ron found Grimmia donniana and G. incurva on rocks, Blanka found Harpanthus flotovianus in a basic flush and Jean found Cephalozia leucantha and Scapania irrigua on damp ground. On wet peaty soil in a seepage area, Tom found Moerckia hibernica, John found Dicranella cerviculata and Agneta found Kurzia trichoclados with its characteristic bulbils. There was abundant Tetralophozia setiformis on an exposed rocky ridge below the summit, mixed with Anastrophyllum minutum. Bryum weigelii was seen in a streamlet lower down. About 130 species of bryophytes were recorded during the day.

Monday 19 August

The Cairnwell, west side, Perthshire, VC. 89, to Loch Vrotachan, Aberdeenshire, VC. 92, 37/17

Three members visited this hill, which was mist-covered. They took the chair-lift up to gain altitude. Ron found Scapania gymnostomophila on earthy ledges of base-rich rock outcrops at 800 m altitude in VC 89, growing with a curious form of Dichodontium pellucidum, Fissidens cristatus and Thuidium abietinum ssp. abietinum. Other interesting finds in a series of flushes down the slope draining into Loch Vrotachan, VC 92, included Tritomaria polita, Oncophorus virens, Pohlia wahlenbergii var. glacialis, Meesia uliginosa and Cratoneuron decipiens, the latter two found by Mark. Sphagnum russowii was also seen. The margin of the loch had much Pohlia drummondii on a gravelly substrate. New for the 10 km square were Polytrichum formosum, Ptychomitrium polyphyllum (both VC 89) and Thuidium delicatulum (VC 92). About 100 bryophytes were recorded. The Cairnwell was the site of the first excursion when the BBS was last at Braemar in 1964 (Warburg, 1965).

Gleann Beag, VC. 89, 37/17

The majority of members did not fancy the Cairnwell in the mist (though, in fact, it soon cleared) and continued south into Gleann Beag. This glen was also visited in 1964 and is noted for several rarities on the calcareous outcrops on the east side of the valley: Jean re-found the Jungermannia polaris and Tom the Desmatodon leucostoma. Other species that he saw on the crags were Encalypta ciliata, Aloina rigida, Mnium thomsonii and Pseudoleskeella catenulata and Robert found Leucodon sciuroides. Pictus scoticus was not re-found, although we were very close to the site of the small tree on which it was found (Townsend 1982); there was discussion of its possible relationship to Hygrohypnum luridum, which can occur on trees (see section (d), 20 August). Meesia uliginosa and Amblyodon dealbatus were seen in flushes and Anoectangium warburgii and Catoscopium nigritum by a waterfall. Tom visited flushes on the slopes and found Scapania aequiloba and Orthothecium rufescens. On flushed ground on the western slope of Meall Gorm, Jean re-found Scapania degenii close to where she had found it in 1964 (Paton 1966). Over 110 bryophytes were seen during the day, of which five (Jungermannia confertissima, Dichodontium flavescens, Fissidens bryoides, Racomitrium ericoides and Zygodon viridissimus var. stirtonii) were new for this well-worked 10 km square.

Braemar Youth Hostel ponds, VC. 92, 37/19

The Gleann Beag party explored these ponds, which had been found by Alain and were nearly dry and so ideal for bryophytes. Finds included two species new for South Aberdeenshire: Fossombronia foveolata* and Ephemerum serratum var. serratum*. Other plants present included Fossombronia wondraczekii, Pellia neesiana, Sphagnum teres and Pohlia bulbifera.

Tuesday 20 August

Clais Fhearnaig, VC. 92, 37/09

One party went to this narrow gorge, a tributary of the River Quoich. They entered by the western end, and soon found Philonotis seriata in a flush. Blanka found Tetralophozia setiformis in block scree. Much of the time, however, was spent examining some south-facing crags which were calcareous in part. Finds included Grimmia torquata plentifully, G. funalis and Dryptodon patens. Also seen were Encalypta ciliata, Leucodon sciuroides and Pterigynandrum filiforme, with an abundant sheet of Antitrichia curtipendula in one place. Orthotrichum rupestre was epiphytic on poplar, and also occurred on a nearby crag. Grimmia donniana was seen on several boulders. The floor of the valley is blocked by an old dam and contains a shallow peaty pool. Here Tom found Haplomitrium hookeri on the peaty margin under sedges, and Ephemerum serratum var. serratum on peaty mud; Nick found Riccardia incurvata. Along with yesterday’s finds, these two latter were both new for South Aberdeenshire. Nearly 120 bryophytes were seen, of which nearly 40 were new for the 10 km square.

Glen Quoich, VC. 92, 37/19

The Clais Fhearnaig party moved on to the lower part of Glen Quoich. A boulder scree on the slope of Creag Bhaig had been visited in 1964 and Anastrophyllum saxicola and Cynodontium strumiferum discovered there. Both were re-found. Why should A. saxicola be so abundant here and yet so rare in Britain as a whole? Its lack of means of dispersal does not seem to be an adequate explanation. Tetralophozia setiformis was also seen in the scree and Scapania umbrosa found on rotting wood, but Anastrophyllum hellerianum, seen in 1964, was not re-found. Other finds of note were Odontoschisma denudatum, Barbilophozia atlantica and Orthodontium lineare, all new for the 10 km square.

Forest of Alyth, VC. 89, 37/15

A second party went to a valley bog on the moorland between Glen Shee and Glen Isla, but it proved to be of little interest. Two species new for the 10 km square were found on the side of a ditch by the road: Dicranella rufescens and Pohlia wahlenbergii. Barbula revoluta on the mortar of a bridge, and Racomitrium ericoides on sandy soil, were also new.

Nether Craig at south end of Mount Blair and Drumore Loch, VC. 89, 37/16

The Alyth party moved to Nether Craig. After lunch in the cars because of rain, the weather improved. Altogether nearly 100 bryophytes were seen, of which nearly twenty were new for the 10 km square. These included Cynodontium strumiferum found by Harold on boulders below the crag, Stegonia latifolia found by Mark on the base-rich rocks of the crag and Hygrohypnum luridum var. subsphaericarpon* on a birch trunk beside a streamlet, and Rhytidium rugosum on calcareous ground, both found by Jean.

Wednesday 21 August

Glen Ey, VC. 92, 37/08

One party explored this valley. Nearly 140 bryophytes were seen, of which nearly 60 were new for the 10 km square, indicating that this was an area little-visited hitherto by bryologists. Indeed, eight of the nine species of Sphagnum noted had not been recorded previously in 37/08. Jean found Cephalozia loitlesbergeri growing over S. capillifolium and Leucobryum glaucum, and near the Colonel’s Bed ravine she found Scapania lingulata* on a base-rich ledge on a rock and S. degenii in a flush, Mark found Cololejeunea calcarea on a basic rock face, and David Long and Rod found Hygrobiella laxifolia and Cynodontium strumiferum. It rained heavily at times and we had a wet picnic. By the track on our way back in the rain, Vanessa found Marsupella funckii. Several species that are common over much of Britain but rare in north-east Scotland were found: Campylopus introflexus, Orthodontium lineare, Thamnobryum alopecurum and Rhynchostegium confertum. The latter would have been a new vice-county record but no-one seems to have collected a voucher specimen.

Linn of Dee, VC. 92, 37/08

The Glen Ey party moved to Linn of Dee, where Bryum mildeanum had been seen in 1964. We could not re-find it in spite of careful search. A small side ravine 2 km west of Linn of Dee had abundant Antitrichia curtipendula and plants seen nearby by David included Douinia ovata, Porella cordaeana, Lejeunea cavifolia, Cynodontium strumiferum, C. bruntonii, Pohlia drummondii and Zygodon baumgartneri.

Juanjorge, Glen Clova, Angus, VC. 90, 37/27

A second party made the long journey to Glen Clova. They were rewarded by re-finding Grimmia unicolor and Bryum dixonii. It was at Juanjorge that Ursula Duncan in 1964 had made the first find of B. dixonii since Dixon’s original discovery of it on Ben Narnain, Argyll, in 1898, and it was also in 1964 that she re-found the G. unicolor, which had not been seen since 1883 (Duncan 1966). Six other species of Grimmia were seen, including G. ovalis, G. britannica and G. decipiens, found by Ron. Indeed, it proved to be an excellent locality for Grimmiaceae as a whole, with Dryptodon patens, Racomitrium ellipticum, R. macounii, R. sudeticum, R. affine* and the R. obtusum form of R. heterostichum seen. Other notable finds were Tetralophozia setiformis, Barbilophozia atlantica, Lophozia longidens, Douinia ovata, Cololejeunea calcarea, Cynodontium strumiferum, C. jenneri, Dicranoweisia crispula, Pterigynandrum filiforme and Plagiothecium denticulatum var. obtusifolium. New for the 10 km square were Campylopus introflexus and Rhabdoweisia crispata. About 115 bryophytes were recorded at Juanjorge.

Thursday 22 August

Caenlochan Glen and east side of Glas Maol, VC. 90, 37/17

Cars were left at the top of the pass near the Cairnwell and members walked to the summit of Glas Maol. This was the route to Caenlochan that had been taken in 1964. On the present visit, the summit was hidden in mist and compasses had to be used to reach the south-west corner of the Glen.

Plants seen during the descent of a gully included Lophozia opacifolia, Diplophyllum taxifolium, Oedipodium griffithianum, male Splachnum vasculosum, Pohlia ludwigii, Rhizomnium magnifolium and Plagiomnium medium*. On the east-facing cliffs as we worked northwards, finds included Herbertus stramineus, Anthelia juratzkana, Jungermannia polaris*, J. borealis, Scapania calcicola*, Cololejeunea calcarea, Seligeria recurvata, Encalypta alpina, Grimmia torquata, Mnium thomsonii, Amphidium lapponicum, Myurella julacea, Pseudoleskeella catenulata, Lescuraea patens, Hypnum bambergeri and H. callichroum. At the north end of the cliffs, Andreaea mutabilis was found by David Long, Plagiothecium denticulatum var. obtusifolium and the rare fern Woodsia alpina were found by Rod, Brachythecium glareosum by Mark, and Cratoneuron decipiens in flushes by Ron and David.

In the boulder scree below the cliffs, Rod found Lescuraea incurvata (as well as L. patens), Jean found L. plicata and both she and Ron found Marsupella adusta on small stones. In the Deschampsia cespitosa grassland on the steep hillside between the cliffs and the boulders, Agneta found Atrichum undulatum and this prompted Harold to make a gathering from this habitat: it comprised Fissidens taxifolius, Oxystegus tenuirostris and Bartramia ithyphylla along with Scapania scandica, Lophocolea bidentata, Riccia sorocarpa, Ditrichum pusillum*, Philonotis arnellii, Pohlia ludwigii, Bryum sp. (with brown ovate tubers) and Isopterygium elegans. This is a curious assemblage of species and a strange habitat for many of them. It does not correspond with the bryophytes listed by McVean (1964) for the alpine Deschampsia cespitosa association: clearly, the bryophytes of the grassland in Caenlochan Glen would be worth further study. The site was at 840 m, which is above the usual altitudinal limit for O. tenuirostris.

At the site of late snow patches on the ascent back to Glas Maol, plants seen included Haplomitrium hookeri found by Ron, Scapania paludosa, Moerckia blyttii, Sphagnum girgensohnii, Polytrichum sexangulare and Bryum muehlenbeckii, the latter found by Nick.

Besides the four plants new to the vice-county, eight species new to the 10 km square were seen: Jungermannia subelliptica, Kiaeria blyttii, Campylopus pyriformis, Racomitrium macounii, R. ericoides, Bryum muehlenbeckii, Brachythecium glareosum and Hylocomium umbratum. The total number of bryophytes recorded during the day at this remarkable place was about 200.

Friday 23 August

Glen Quoich, VC. 92, 37/19

Those who missed the visit to Glen Quoich on 20 August took the opportunity to remedy that. The Anastrophyllum saxicola was found by David Rycroft. Species seen that were not noted by the earlier party included Barbilophozia lycopodioides, Gymnomitrion concinnatum and Isothecium myosuroides var. brachythecioides, all found by Rod, and Blepharostoma trichophyllum, Calypogeia neesiana, Jungermannia obovata, Lophozia bicrenata, L. obtusa (new for 37/19) and Scapania scandica. Other species seen that had not been recorded before for 37/19 were Campylopus introflexus, Trichostomum brachydontium, Brachythecium albicans and B. glareosum, the latter found on a rock face by Mark. About 120 bryophytes were seen.

Clais Fhearnaig, VC. 92, 37/09

Some of the Glen Quoich party went on to this gorge that others had visited three days before. In addition to re-finding many of the plants seen earlier, they recorded about a dozen species that the other party had not seen. These included Anastrepta orcadensis and Racomitrium elongatum, both new for 37/09. Fossombronia incurva was seen and would have been a new vice-county record if a voucher specimens had been collected.

Glen Callater and Corrie Kander, VC. 92, 37/18

A second party made the long walk up Glen Callater to Corrie Kander. Nick re-found Bryum muehlenbeckii where it had been found in 1964 by a stream near the head of Loch Callater and he also found it in Corrie Kander. Blanka re-found Mielichhoferia elongata at its classic site near Loch Kander. Tom found Tritomaria polita, Andreaea mutabilis, Arctoa fulvella, Grimmia elongata* and Racomitrium macounii on the scree and crags above Loch Kander and Ron found Grimmia incurva on rocks. The G. elongata was a notable find, as it seems to be the first recent record for Scotland. According to Warburg (1965b), it was found in Glen Quoich in 1964, but the find seems not to have been confirmed. G. atrata was re-found with abundant capsules. Cushions of Hygrobiella laxifolia were seen by a waterfall, Conostomum tetragonum on rocky ledges and Plagiothecium denticulatum var. obtusifolium in boulder scree. Other species seen in Corrie Kander were Andreaea alpina, Grimmia donniana and Philonotis seriata. About 110 species were recorded during the day, of which Jungermannia hyalina, Pohlia drummondii and Hygrohypnum luridum were new for the 10 km square and Andreaea mutabilis, Tortella tortuosa, Grimmia elongata and Racomitrium sudeticum had not been seen for many years.

The Braemar week was very successful. The number of interesting finds at well-worked sites was particularly gratifying. The week could not be expected to match the extraordinary success of the 1964 meeting, when nearly 100 new vice county records were made; on that occasion members were most energetic, visiting Beinn a’Bhuird, Lochnagar, Glas Tulaichean and Ben Macdhui during the fortnight.

We thank Dr Noel Pritchard for making the arrangements. I am grateful to David Long, Jean Paton, Mark Pool, Nick Hodgetts, Rod Stern, Ron Porley and Tom Blockeel for help with this report.

Saturday 24 August

nr. Rothbury, Northumberland, VC. 67, 45/09

Five of us (Agneta, Harold, John, Nick and Tom) met here on our way south from Braemar in order to search for Seligeria carniolica. It had been found on small boulders in a shaded stream by Miss E.M. Lobley, R.D. Fitzgerald, R. Hall and J.H.G. Peterken in May 1964. We worked up the stream and Tom soon found non-fruiting material, recognised by the long, undulate subula to the leaves.


Duncan UK. 1966. A bryophyte flora of Angus. Transactions of the British Bryological Society 5: 1-82.

Long DG. 1996. New vice-county records and amendments to the Census Catalogues. Hepaticae. Bulletin of the British Bryological Society 68: 42-44.

McVean DN. 1964. Grass heaths. Pp. 499-513 in Burnett JH, ed. The vegetation of Scotland. Edinburgh & Lodnon: Oliver & Boyd.

Paton JA. 1966. Scapania degenii Schiffn. ex K. Müll. in the Braemar district of Scotland. Transactions of the British Bryological Society 5: 83-85.

Townsend CC. 1982. Pictus scoticus, a new genus and species of pleurocarpous moss from Scotland. Journal of Bryology 12: 1-6.

Warburg EF. 1965. The summer meeting, 1964. Transactions of the British Bryological Society 4: 895-899.

Harold Whitehouse


Braemar, Kincardine & Deeside