Scotland not only is famous for the thistle but also for its Scottish heather that flowers in autumn. Calluna vulgaris is a Scottish wildflower. Calluna from the Greek ‘Kallune’ meaning ‘to clean or brush’. The twigs were used for making brooms and vulgaris from Latin, meaning ‘common’. It’s very hardy and each plant has a life expectancy of about 40-50 years. The plant also very resilient to the grazing from the roe deer, reindeer, rabbits, mountain hares, grouse, and cattle. Along with being the most favourite habitat of the infamous Scottish midge Culicoides impuctatus.
The Carpet of the Highlands
|Scottish heather growing along the Pinewoods of Glen Quoich|
Best time to see Scottish Heather
The best time to see the Scottish heather in bloom is at the end of August and the first few weeks of September. But normally you have to go well off the beaten track to see it at its finest. It carpets the highland landscape and can range in colours from lilac to purple.
|“No’ a flow’r that man can gather. …can beat the bonnie, bloomin’ heather”|
Our 16yr old spent last weekend in the remoteness and emptiness of the Eastern Cairngorm mountains. It was for his silver Duke of Edinburgh expedition. Furthermore I asked him to take some photos so that I could share them here. These were all taken on an ipod touch until the battery expired.
|“Land of the hill and heather, Land of the awful weather, Land where the midges gather – Scotland the brave”|
Their mobile phones are taken away from them once the expedition commences. In fact parents have no contact over the whole weekend unless there is an emergency. They spent the long weekend camping outside Braemar along Glen Quoich and hiking to the summit of Creag Bhalg. The area is in Aberdeenshire though it’s well to the east from where Alistair blogs from.
|In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. Psalm 95:4|
Bathroom facilities are bringing a garden trowel, a roll of toilet paper and digging a hole. Drinking water is provided from streams (boiled). Cooking is over a campfire and streams have to be crossed on foot. He still managed to take some lovely photographs despite hiking through the thunder and lightning most of Friday. Constantly battling with the clouds of blood thirsty Scottish midges. Especially when they got into the tent and avoiding the ticks .
|No photos of August’s camp but this is was the camp on the practice weekend expedition in June|
Here’s the Itinerary:
- 1st Day – Linn of Dee camping at Derry lodge.
- 2nd Day – Glen Quoich via Creag Bhalg (668m Graham).
- 3rd Day – Walk to Invercauld Bridge and a to visit Braemar Castle on Royal Deeside.
What’s a Munro, Graham and Corbett?
The Munros are the highest and finest of Scotland’s mountains. Sir Hugh Munro first catalogued these mountain tops and there are 283 in total.
The Corbetts are the equivalent mountains. There are 221 in total with altitudes between 2500ft and 3000ft. While the Grahams, 224 in total are between 2000ft and 2500ft. Whilst smaller in stature many Corbetts and Grahams rival Munros for walking and climbing.
Well on Sunday evening he finally arrived home. As a result he had just a few blisters. He was tired and hungry but had lots of tales to tell. He checked for ticks on his clothes and skin. Then he sat down to a very late Sunday dinner. The kit was washed and whatever I managed to get into that wash it turned every thing a blue colour. It wasn’t heather dye but 1 pair of trousers that was the culprit!