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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Scotland 2: Temperate rain forest fragments around Tobermory, Mull 09.05.23 & 11.05.23

Updated: May 30, 2023

I got to Tobermory from Oban by public transport. I took the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Oban to Craignure, from where I got a West Coast Motors bus from Craignure to Tobermory. I went to Tobermory because I had booked a Nature Scotland wildlife tour of Mull for 10.05.23. See my post: Scotland 3: The Wildlife of Mull 10.05.23. I had planned just to be in Tobermory just for 10.05.23 for the tour, however, Caledonian MacBrayne cancelled the early ferry to Craignure. Thus I had to travel to Mull on the 09.05.23 and book an hotel in Tobermory for the night. I discovered that next to my hotel there was a walk to the Rubha nan Gall lighthouse via the Liep peninsula (Rubha na Liep), listed on the Walkhighlands: Scotland walks and accommodation website. Part of this walk transpired to be Atlantic hazel woodland. This stretch of Atlantic hazel woodland does not appear to be listed anywhere as a remnant of temperate rain forest


On 11.05.22 I made a boat trip of Staffa and the Treshnish Isles to see seabirds with Staffa Tours – Boat Tours To Iona, Tobermory & Mull; see my post Scotland 4: Puffins, Razorbills, Eider, Shags and Fulmars of Staffa and thr Treshnish Isles 11.05.23.This day the early ferry was running so I did the trip in a day. After the boat trip I had the time to walk part of the coastal trail to Aros Park Aros Park - Forestry and Land Scotland Aros Park Is an SSSI and is listed in the map of the The Lost Rainforest of England Public create map of Britain’s lost rainforests – Lost Rainforests of Britain


I did not spend time with each lichen and bryophytes identifying them to species level systematically, through using keys and chemical testing (for lichens), as I was trying to get an impression of the temperate rain forest habitat, and see as many things as I could in a limited amount of time; therefore all the identifications in this posts are best guesses from my photographs, using observable visual features and field guides (Dobson, F. 2018, Lichens An Illustrated Guide to the British and Irish Species and Atherton, I.; Bosanquet, S.; Lawley, M. 2010 Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: A Field Guide) and online resources inc. Welcome to the British Lichen Society | The British Lichen Society; and Home - British Bryological Society)


If you note a mistake in identification please feel free to tell me, or if you want to contact me about any aspect of this blog, email me at simeon[underscore]elliott[at]gmail[dot]com.


Oban to Craignure Ferry 09/05/23


Lismore Lighthouse (Lismore Island)


Duart Castle (on Mull)


Tobermory


The name Tobermory is derived from the Gaelic "Tobar Mhoire", meaning "Mary's Well". The name refers to a well located nearby which was dedicated in ancient times to the Virgin Mary. The Cherub on the harbour was presented to the town on it's completion in 1883 by R.Strathurn, the contractors. West Highland Peninsular Facebook post


Atlantic Hazel Woodland / Tobermory (Rubha nan Gall) lighthouse walk. 09.05.23



When I walked this route I realised, from its biological characteristics ,that it included a fragment of temperate rain forest (Atlantic hazel woodland Atlantic hazelwood | NatureScot); it has ancient Hazels covered in mosses, liverworts, ferns and lichens, especially of the the Lobarion lichen community characterised by large leafy lichen species, particularly the four Lobaria species, and associated species such as Sticta, Nephroma, Nephroma, and Peltigera. The community grows on trees with mildly acidic or alkaline bark, https://woodlandwildlifetoolkit.sylva.org.uk/factsheet/207/Lobarion+Lichen+Communities


This remnant of temperate rain forest is not mentioned on the key Scottish Temperate Rainforest websites e.g. Scotland's Rainforest | NatureScot; Scotland's Rainforest - Forestry and Land Scotland and About Scotland's Rainforest — Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest (savingscotlandsrainforest.org.uk). The Explore Tobermory website just comments that the lath passes through woodland Tobermory Lighthouse Walk in Tobermory Isle of Mull


Papaver cambricum, Welsh Poppy


Wild Garlic, Allium ursinum and Bluebells, Hyacinthoides non-scripta


Wild Garlic and Male Fern Dryopteris filix-mas


Barbula sp. moss, probably B. covoluta


Yellow crisp-moss, Tortella flavovirens. This species is exclusively coastal in Britain. ... It is also frequent on soil slopes below cliffs and sometimes in crevices in coastal rocks. Tortella-flavovirens.pdf (britishbryologicalsociety.org.uk)


Capillary Thread-moss, Bryum capillare


Probably Gyalolechia flavovirescens


Probably Ochrolechia parella


Ricasolia (Lobaria) virens and Polpody Fern with unidentified moss


Ricasolia (Lobaria) virens. Species of Lobaria have shown a general decline in the last 100 years or so which can be attributed to a number of factors, including the loss of the veteran trees on which they are mostly found. They are also sensitive to atmospheric pollution, particularly SO2 (which acidifies their bark substrate) and agricultural chemicals, and changing landuse and woodland practices, particularly heavy thinning, have led to drying of the woodland environment. Conservation of the mature tree stands in which this species occurs is important. Ricasolia virens | The British Lichen Society


Isothecium myosurides, Slender Mouse-tail Moss and Lobaria virens on Hazel


Isothecium myosurides, Slender Mouse-tail Moss and Polypody Fern, on Hazel


Probably Cladonia potentosa (lichen) on probably Didymodon vinealis (moss). A beautiful combination.


Probably Cladonia potentosa

Probably Didmodon vinealis


Possibly Galium odorratum, Woodruff


Lathryus linofolius, Bitter Vetch


Breutelia chrysocoma, Golden-head Moss, and probably Peltigera membranacea lichen.


probably Peltigera canina.


Ricasolia (Lobaria) virens

Pectenia cyanoloma


Probably Hypericum perforatum, St John's Wort


More Pectenia cyanoloma


with Ricasolia (Lobaria) virens.


Coppiced Hazel, Corylus avellana, Atlantic woodland


Probably Pectenia plumbea


Frullania tamarisci, Tamarisk Scalewort growing, over Pectenia plumbea


Probably juvenile Song Thrush, Turdus philomelos


Possibly Geum urbanom, Wood Avens


View toward the Morven Peninsular over the Sound of Mull


Possibly Petilgera memberancea


More Ricasolia (Lobaria) virens


Probably Pectenia cyanoloma with Ricasolia (Lobaria) virens


Probably Pectenia cyanoloma with probably Normandia pulchella


Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea, and Oyster Catcher, Haematopus ostralegus


The view to the Ardnamurchan Penninsular


The Grey Heron above


the picturesque lighthouse at Rubha nan Gall, overlooking the Ardnamurchan peninsular


Atlantic Hazel and Sessile Oak Woodland; Part of the coastal trail to Aros Park 11.05.23

Sessile Oak ,Quercus petraea


Probably sothecium mysurodes, Slender Mouse-tail Moss, on the Sessile Oak, Quercus petraea


Probably Ricasolia (Lobaria) virens


Hard fern, Strucithopteris spicant


Common Tamarisk Moss, Thuidium tamariscinum


Ricasolia (Lobaria) virens


Sessile Oak with moss, possibly Isothecium mysurodes and Polypody fern probably Polypodium vulgare


Sput Dubh; waterfall: here the burn cascades to the shore in a spectacular waterfall which was a watering point for for the Royal Navy who were based here back in 1940. Aros Park Walk with beautiful scenery in Tobermory, Isle of Mull


Possibly Big Shaggy Moss, Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus


Hazel, Corylus avellana, and ferns


Possibly Peltigera praetextata


Mossy Hazel


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