Monday, 26 July 2010

Four Seasons in Three Days! (2)

Founded on the late Scottish Baronial style of the mid-19th Century, the castle at Glengorm, in North Mull, may not be a ‘real’ castle, yet it cuts a rather dramatic and imposing outline when viewed from the sea. Wonderfully appointed, with superb sunsets to the west over the Isle of Coll, the castle and its environs are steeped in natural and social history. Nowadays, the castle pays its way as an upmarket Bed and Breakfast establishment.

The pastures, meadows and track-sides of North Mull are currently densely populated with the sweet smelling, lilac flower clusters of Creeping Thistle. The male and female flowers of this invasive and persistent perennial are borne on separate plants, with the scent of female flowers being particularly attractive to a variety of insects, including several species of butterfly.

The dark, restless shape of the Scotch Argus is a familiar feature of damp grassland on the Isle of Mull at the height of Summer. They are normally on the wing to coincide with the traditional Glasgow Fair Trades’ holiday fortnight, which commences in mid July. However, we had seen very few on our walks until this week, as the recent poor weather appears to have curtailed their emergence this year.

It is well known that our 'celebrity' White-tailed Eagles at Loch Frisa like to hunt along the coastline of North-West Mull. Nonetheless, it was a very pleasant surprise when, as we sat to enjoy lunch, an adult bird, its white tail gleaming and glinting in the sunshine, idled past in search of a snack of its own.

The creamy-yellow caps and stems of the Dung Roundhead are viscid and slimy to the touch. These toadstools are not unattractive and a common feature of local pastures where sheep and cattle are present. Readers will, no doubt, be pleased to learn that they are inedible, given their association with the evacuated contents of animal bowels!

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