01 August 2009

Flowery hills

It's getting towards the end of the flower season now. Most of the orchids are well past their best, as are some of the alpines, but there are some flowers that are at their best later in the season.

Last weekend I managed to visit two promising sites. One was Cnoc Coinnich, which boasts a spectacular view from the summit down the Clyde Estuary if you are lucky enough to get a good day. Last Saturday it was covered in damp mist when we set out, but this had all dispersed by the time we reached the summit.

High up on the hill we found Alpine Saw-wort (Saussurea alpina) which I had never seen in flower before.

The following day I went to Inverlochlarig in search of other late flowerers.

One of the most surprising find was Musk (Mimulus moschatus), which is a rather local garden escape.

On the side of the hill to the west of the track there were a number of huge boulders with trees growing in cracks. They appeared to have rolled down from the crags above, but I wondered how this one managed to have ended up vertical rather than lying on its side. No doubt the crack, already enlarged by the tree, will eventually cause it to fall apart.

The picture below was pure luck. I never even noticed the bee until after I had taken the picture of a white Marsh Thistle against the dark background of the hill beyond.

We followed the river back down the glen, with views of the hill Stob Binnein (often called Stobinian) to the north.

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