The gently rolling, largely arable plain of North Aberdeenshire (v.-c. 93) may seem an unlikely choice for a summer’s bryological meeting, for the vice-county lacks high hills, limestone and humid gorges, and has few bogs or mires. Even its highest hills are modestly proportioned and much less rugged than Rum’s, while the coastal cliffs, though picturesque, are pocket-sized compared with Bloodstone Hill’s unnerving plunge into the Atlantic. Indeed, we could hardly have found a greater contrast to Rum’s majestic terrain without leaving Scotland altogether.
Another contrast between the summer’s two meetings lay in our knowledge of the local bryofloras, for Rum’s was already comparatively well-known before we went, whereas until last summer North Aberdeenshire was one of the bryologically least thoroughly explored regions of the British mainland. Of course, this ignorance was precisely our reason for going – an adventure into the unknown, boldly going where very few bryologists had been before, our curiosity fully aroused. Indeed, with a revised Atlas in prospect, this meeting was one of several in the recent past or imminent future planned partly with a view to filling white holes on spotty maps. We had no spectacular scenery or habitats to aim for, and did not expect to discover rare bryophytes. Instead we explored a wide range of habitats in different parts of the vice-county, in order to add as much as possible to our knowledge of the region’s bryoflora, while still relaxing in holiday mood.Download the meeting report