14 April 2010

Kirkton Glen

I have at last swapped skis for walking boots, and we are beginning to find the first spring flowers.

Last Saturday we walked up Kirkton Glen.

The start of the walk is on a track through forestry which has mostly been felled. Between the trees, we had a view to the top of the Glen.

Soon after leaving the forestry track for the hill path I found a beetle which I didn't recognise. I later identified it as Carabus nitens, which is described as a very local species, and I am grateful to Jeanne Robinson who confirmed this ID.

Near the top of the track is a large boulder called Rob Roy's Putting Stone.

On this boulder and on many of the surrounding crags we found Saxifraga oppositifolia, Purple Saxifrage, in flower, though it was not as advanced as it had been 10 days earlier last year.

There was still quite a lot of snow lying around Lochan an Eireannaich.

The weather was warm and sunny and, with more similar days forecast, the snow cannot last much longer at this relatively low altitude.

There were frogs everywhere. We heard them singing by the lochan, and whenever we were near water they were leaping away from us.

To the west, we had magnificent views of Stobinian and Ben More.

As we returned, we also had excellent views to the south-east, looking down to the track by which we had ascended.

Distribution maps of ground beetles including Carabus nitens

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