2023 County Report for West Inverness-shire

Ian Strachan

In 2023 more than 10,000 records were made or received for Westerness, where there is still much basic recording to be done. Some highlights were presented at the SBC in November - the exhibit can be seen on the Westerness page of the BSBI website https://bsbi.org/westerness, which has been recently updated with the addition of this and other SBC exhibits from the last 6 years.

With the Knoydart Foundation Rangers we held a very successful Rough Crew Field Meeting in June, based at Inverie,. Over four days we collected more than 3,800 records from 42 monads in stunning weather, making a huge contribution to records for this neglected part of Westerness.

Gus Routledge found the record of the year, Carex norvegica (Close-headed Alpine-sedge) in Coire Dearg (Mamores), new to v.c. 97. Jim McIntosh and IS found a second v.c. site for Omalotheca norvegica (Alpine Cudweed) on the south face of Ben Nevis, and Jim generated more than 2,000 additional records for Ben Nevis and the Mamores, with many new finds. Another major contribution of records was made by Jon and Angela Mercer for the Glen Loy area.

Locations likely to be affected by the proposed Earba pump-storage scheme on Ardverikie Estate were visited by IS, who found a remarkable, previously unknown flora around the pristine montane Loch a' Bhealaich Leamhain. This would be destroyed or damaged by a 60m-high dam. Other activities by IS included bi-annual recording of NPMS plots at Moy for the 8th successive year, and a talk to Arisaig Botany Group on ‘Wild fruits of the Highlands’.

Another remarkable occurrence in 2023 was that, following correspondence with IS, Michael Braithwaite found and digitised 933 records for Morvern from notebooks dating back to 1976-77. He had made them during field meetings at Ardtornish run by John Raven and Clive Jermy, and they include valuable details for historical records such as Cerastium alpinum (Alpine Mouse-ear) on Beinn Mheadhoin, possibly its most westerly British locality.

Caption for photo:

Glen Nevis and Sgurr a’ Mhaim from Coire Eoghain on Ben Nevis, with Coire Dearg (distant right) where Carex norvegica (Close-headed Alpine-sedge) was found in June, the first record for Westerness.