Friday, 10 October 2014

Botanists heading back to Ben Nevis

Mountaineers teach botanists and geologists how to climb!
Image: I. Strachan
In August, we reported here on a survey of the North Face of Ben Nevis involving BSBI botanists Ian Strachan and Jim McIntosh. This first stage in an ambitious project to record the wild plants and map the geology of Scotland's highest mountain was filmed by BBC Scotland's Landward programme and you can see the results here on iPlayer (starting about a minute in).

Jim has been in touch again to forward this interim report on the project which you can view here and to tell us about future plans. Jim said "The dates for next year’s survey are 10th-14th August 2015. If you are a climbing (or scrambling) botanist and would like to get involved then mark them in your diary and ask Ian Strachan to keep you posted. Feel free to forward to other climbing botanists who might be interested. (Training can be given.)

"If you are involved in the management of other mountainous sites then this shows what might be possible on your site(s) and what SNH may be prepared to fund".

Number 4 Gully, where Ian found Alpine Saxifrage
Image: I. Strachan
For the rest of us, we can sit in our armchairs and watch the footage above, gasping at some of the precipitous drops the team negotiated, cheering at the tiny patches of vegetation they came across and the rarities they found, and either envying them like mad or being very grateful to be sitting at home in said armchair! 

I daresay people will be talking about this fascinating survey at the forthcoming Scottish Annual Meeting, which - if you didn't know - is THE big event for botanists in Scotland. It's being held on 1st November this year at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Everybody interested in Scottish botany is welcome at the SAM, whether or not you live in Scotland, are a BSBI member or are an experienced botanist. You can find out more and book here.