17 October 2010

Eigg - The Giant's Footstep

In this picture, looking north over the Giant's Footstep to Laig Bay beyond, it's easy to see how this loch got its nickname.

Tucked in a hollow below inland cliffs, it is being encroached upon by vegetation and supports a wide variety of wetland plants.

From the lochside, there is a view to Laig Farm and the island of Rum beyond.

Two of the commonest aquatic plants growing in the loch are Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata - named after its three-lobed leaves) and the delicate strands of Lesser Bladderwort (Utricularia minor) for which this is one of the best sites on the island.

In the picture below, you can just see the bladders like pinheads.

16 October 2010

Isle of Eigg

In September we returned to the Isle of Eigg, where we had first met.

Eigg is dominated by the Sgurr, seen below in a rather sombre mood.

Although rising to only 393m, the pitchstone ridge of the Sgurr is a particularly impressive sight when seen from the east.

The path to the summit lies along the north side of the ridge to a point where ascent is quite easy.

We walked along the south coast, below the cliffs of the Sgurr, to Grulin where there is a bothy. There used to be a large settlement here, but this is all that now remains apart from ruins.

From the south coast near Grulin we had a view to the Isle of Muck.

While we were staying on Eigg, we were asked to look for Bladderwort (Utricularia sp.), a small aquatic plant which traps microscopic animals. The search took us to parts of the island that we might not have reached otherwise, including the central highland area which contains many lochs of different sizes.

It also took us to the long ridge of Beinn Bhuidhe, which stretches along the east coast of Eigg.

One of the best beaches for shells is now the one which formed after the building of the new pier.

In this picture, the boat is just about to arrive to take us back to the mainland.

12 October 2010

A strange insect

A few days ago, Fred and I went for a walk to a boggy area near Aberfoyle in central Scotland, where we wanted to look for some unusual plants.

I found this strange creature sitting on some wet peat. I did not recognise it at all, and couldn't think what on earth it could be.

After searching through a book on insects, I discovered that it was the larva of a glow worm.

Glow worms are relatively common in the south of England, but few and far between in Scotland. Neither of us had ever seen one before.

For more information about glow worms, see
The UK Glow worm Survey Home Page