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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)


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,

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 ( 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 (

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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