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Scotland - North Coast


Last weekend was the 40th wedding anniversary for Moongrower and myself and so we took a long weekend to go wildlife watching along the north coast of Caithness and Sutherland.
Driving up to our base in Thurso

we took the opportunity to stop at a woodland on the north east coast to find a British rarity, the One Flowered Wintergreen, Monenses uniflora.

Monenses uniflora
Whilst this is common in Europe it is very rare in Britain, this ancient pine wood being one of its best locations.
The main feature of the north coast is its high cliffs and rocky headlands which provide viewing points for many flowers and sea birds.
At Strathy Point

one of the main floral features were the masses of Sea Pink (Thrift) Armeria maritima

Armeria maritima
growing as carpets in the grass or as splendid individual specimens. The one flower that we had really wanted to see proved elusive until the last day. There were plenty of leaf rosetts in the grass but no flowers until we found a collony on the last day.

Primula scotica
The Scottish Primrose Primula scotica is endemic to the north coast of Scotland and the Orkney Islands and is a most beautiful little flower.
Finally, for the flowers, we had never seen the Spring Squill Scilla verna

Scilla verna
before and were surprised to find how common it was up here.
Another surprise on the last day, no picture, was the sighting of a Scottish Wildcat crossing the road. I have since had our sighting verified as being the genuine item.
The main reason that wildlife tourists go to this area is the view the seabirds at places like Dunnet Head and Duncansby Head

where we spent a lot of time watching Razorbills, huge colonies of guillimots and puffins. The latter only have a short period on shore to breed and then spend the rest of the year at sea.


Guillimot colony

A great weekend and we are now looking forward to the next visit.

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great pics mr bh looks like you had a good weekend lots to see and all that open space love the rock formations too .... congratulations on your anniversary

19 Jun, 2010


It was great to escape completely. The weather wasn't 'wonderful' in fact the Friday was cold wet and windy (even the RSPB wardens at Dunnet Head gave up at lunch time!) but we saw some wonderful plants and sea birds. For us this is a 2.5/3 hour drive north - for most folk it is a two day drive! You can also see Primula scotica on Orkney at Yesneby, they flower in early June then again in late August - though I suspect that the plants that flower in June do not then flower in August... need to talk to a pal of ours who knows his Scottish natives! We also saw masses of orchids but, without the book, were unable to i.d. beyond Dactylorhiza, they are a promiscuous genus!

19 Jun, 2010


Enjoyed sharing your wonderful journey,and many congratulations for your Ruby Wedding Anniversary, to you both.Hope you have many more.....

19 Jun, 2010


Congratulations to you both.It's good to see the wild flowers thriving,a lovely environment for them. The birds are looking good too :)

19 Jun, 2010


Lovely blog with such interesting photos. Guillimots look very crowded on that cliff face ! Congratulations on your Ruby Anniversary.

19 Jun, 2010


Great pics, congrats for making it this far and staying married you two! This is the sort of scenery I rarely get to see, being stuck in mucky old London. I'd have loved to see a pic of the wildcat...

19 Jun, 2010


Congratulations to you both,great photo's.

19 Jun, 2010


Congrats on your 40th anniversary, both of you :~)))
Looks like a beautiful place to spend the time celebrating :~))

19 Jun, 2010


Echoing the others, congratulations on you 40 years. Quite an acheivement these days! Well Done. Lovely blog and pictures

19 Jun, 2010


thank you a brilliant blog.

20 Jun, 2010


Congratulations to you both :o))

20 Jun, 2010


Thanks Hywel :-)

20 Jun, 2010


lovely blog and congrats on such a long marriage. what's the secret then?
I loved seeing the wild flowers. thanks for sharing your special day.

20 Jun, 2010


Thanks for all your comments and congratulations. As for secrets - I suppose the main one is to rise above any rows that we have, put them aside and appreciate each other for our strengths.

21 Jun, 2010


my mum used to say something similar. and my dad used to say never go to sleep on a row. well wwe are 27yrs on and counting........

21 Jun, 2010


Very true..We all have "difference of opinions"...sounds a bit better than a row.Lol.Life would be very boring if we couldn't express our points of view..We are coming up to our 36th next month,..its good to talk.!!...State your point,deal with it..end of story.:o)) long as you have the last word !!!!

21 Jun, 2010


Happy Anniversary to you both( sorry for being late to wish).you had a great weekend.

22 Jun, 2010


Belated congrautlations to you both so enjoyed your photos.

21st June was our 35th anniverasary yes its good to talk Bloomer

Looking forwaqrd to more photos.

25 Jun, 2010


Congratulations from me too. Many more happy years together. PS enjoyed the blog.

26 Jun, 2010


Better late then never.Congratulation on your 40th Anniversary.Love your photos

19 Jul, 2010

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