BBS > Activities > Meetings and Workshops > Previous > 1983
Meetings of the BBS - 1983
Ilkley 7-12 April
Large areas of the Yorkshire Dales have never been visited by the Society and the opportunity was therefore taken during the Spring Meeting at Ilkley to visit some of the characteristic habitats of the Dales country where the mountain limestone in particular supports some rich bryophyte communities. Ilkley was well situated for this purpose, being only a few miles north of the Leeds/Bradford conurbation and yet giving easy access to Upper Wharfedale and the Craven Pennines, The headquarters for the meeting was the Ilkley Campus of Bradford & Ilkley Community College, which allowed the majority of participants to be accommodated together at a reasonable price, and with the further advantage that microscopes were available for evening use. The number attending exceeded 30 during the weekend part of the meeting but was lower during the earlier and later stages. We were pleased to welcome two of our foreign members on some of the excursions, Lillian Franck from West Germ any and Sue Studlar from Kentucky.
All the excursions were to the large vice-county of mid-west Yorkshire (64) which contains a number of classic and well-bryologised sites. It was possible to visit three of the major geological strata of the vice-county (millstone grit, carboniferous limestone and magnesian limestone), but the rich and interesting Ingletonian rocks in the north-west of the vice-county were rather too distant to come within the scope of this meeting.
7 April. The first excursion of the meeting was to the millstone grit in Nidderdale. Although this formation is viewed with some disapprobation by many botanists, the particular site visited at Skrikes Wood (Ravensgill) has a number of interesting features. It is a wooded ravine with the stream bed filled with large boulders and although situated on the eastern slopes of the Pennines, it supports a flourishing population of Jubula hutchinsiae, this being seen in at least three separate places in the stream bed. Isothecium holtii also occurs here but was not seen on this occasion. The sheltered boulders in the woodland had a good growth of hepatics, including Bazzania trilobata, Calypogeia integristipula, Tritomaria exsectiformis, Sphenolobus minutus, Mylia taylorii and Scapania umbrosa. There were, however, some surprising absentees: no Lejeunea was seen although both L. cavifolia and L. lamacerina are known from other, apparently less favourable, sites on the millstone grit in the county.
The woods were entered from the road near Yorke's Folly, and on the descent to the stream members were delighted by the glow of Schistostega pennata shining brightly from the bottom of rabbit holes. Also seen were Tetrodontium brownianum on a wet underhang in an old rock cutting and Scapania scandica on a half-buried stone.
Later in the day the more open stream banks above Skrikes Wood were reached. Sphagnum girgensohnii, Blindia acuta and Jungermannia sphaerocarpa were additional species, and Andreaea rothii, a rare plant on the millstone grit, was seen on rocks by the stream.
8 April. On the day designated for a visit to Malham Tarn it was disconcerting to find the morning sky full of snow. Some of the lower ground was clear, but on arrival at the Tarn the party found the area living up to its reputation as an arctic-alpine refugium, being covered with an unbroken blanket of snow. A rapid retreat was therefore made below the snow-line to Gordale Bridge and the limestone woodland at Janet's Foss. Some of the common limestone species were growing in luxuriance on the shaded rocks, along with Pedinophyllum interruptum, Plagiochila britannica, Porella cordaeana, Radula complanata, Cololejeunea rossettiana, Seligeria donniana, S. acutifolia, Rhynchostegiella teesdalei and Orthothecium intricatum.
After lunch at Gordale Bridge the party worked upsteam into the celebrated gorge at Gordale Scar. The extensive limestone scars and pavements give a barren aspect to the landscape, but Cololejeunea calcarea, Reboulia hemisphaerica, Encalypta rhaptocarpa and Mnium thomsonii were additions to the day's list, and a small form of Isothecium striatulum was found at the base of a wall. The more persistent members walked up the Gordale Beck to look at the calcareous flushes near Mastiles Lane. Leiocolea bantriensis, Gymnostomum recurvirostrum, Amblyodon dealbatus and Orthothecium rufescens were on hummocks in the flushes and Scorpidium scorpioides was conspicuous in the runnels.
9 April. In spite of the previous day's snow it was decided to persevere with the scheduled visit to Pen-y-ghent, the highest ground to be attempted during the meeting. In the event the decision was amply justified: only small patches of snow remained on the summit of the hill, and after a dull start the day grew bright and sunny and the limestone landscape was shown to great advantage. The morning was spent on the high Yoredale limestone cliffs below the summit plateau, where the splashes of purple saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) were a welcome sight after the moorland trek from the road at Dalehead. The party largely confined itself to the south-western cliffs. Pseudoleskeella catenulata is plentiful here and the rediscovery of Myurella julacea in its third English station was especially pleasing. Other species seen were Barbilophozia barbata, B. hatcheri, Distichium capillaceum, Encalypta rhaptocarpa, Barbula reflexa, Tortella densa, Pohl ia cruda, Plagiobryum zieri, Bryum elegans and Orthothecium intricatum. Pottia lanceolata and P. intermedia were recorded from soil on or near the cliffs.
After lunch the party drove the short distance to Giants Grave at the head of Pen-y-ghent (or Hesleden) Gill. Zygodon gracilis was an object of immediate admiration on the wall where it was first found, in fruit, by John Nowell in 1866. There is still a good quantity of the species here and there was a general feeling that it ought to occur on many such walls in the high limestone country. The Gill itself is fed by underground limestone streams which emerge near its head at about 350 m. altitude. The upper part is almost treeless and on the moist rock outcrops Orthothecium rufescens and Plagiopus oederi are particularly attractive and conspicuous elements of the flora. Other species recorded included Leiocolea alpestris, Tritomaria quinquedentata, Pedinophyllum interruptum, Plagiochila spinulosa, Cololejeunea calcarea, Seligeria trifaria, S. acutifolia, Barbula ferruginascens and some of the species already seen on the Pen-y-ghent cliffs.
A Council Meeting was held during the evening at Ilkley College.
10 April. This day produced the worst weather of the meeting, the morning visit to Grass Wood in Wharfedale being hampered by almost constant rain. This extensive wood has suffered much in the past from timber extraction but many of the characteristic mountain limestone species were seen, particularly on Gregory Scar: there was some fine Porella arboris-vitae, along with Cololejeunea calcarea, Seligeria donniana, S. acutifolia, Barbula reflexa and Hylocomium brevirostre. This was a good place for beginners, the commoner woodland species being fine and plentiful.
No single excursion was planned for the afternoon. On the departure from Grass Wood, one car-load called in at Linton nearby and found Tortula virescens on sycamore by the village green. Some members returned to Malham in a second attempt to examine the Tarn Moss area. However the weather was cold and uninviting and not many of the known specialities were seen. New records for this well-worked area were Sphenolobus minutus on the peat of the Moss and Plagiochila britannica on a limestone wall. A prolonged search was made for Dicranum flagellare in its only Yorkshire station in the woodland west of the Tarn House and resulted in Campylopus paradoxus with flagellae and a small amount of D. flagellare without them. The extensive areas of lead-mine waste on Grassington Moor at Yarnbury were visited by a third group. Lophozia excisa, Barbilophozia barbata and Weissia controversa var. densifolia were among the species they found.
11 April. This day, chosen for a visit to the Wharfe Banks between Bolton Abbey and Barden Bridge, proved cold with some heavy hail showers, but nonetheless bryologising in the sheltered woodland was both pleasant and fruitful. A combination of delightful topography, a rich and varied flora and easy accessibility from the industrial south made this a popular venue for botanists during the last century and it remains a superbly attractive piece of countryside. The rock here is millstone grit, but in parts it is highly calcareous and this accounts for much of the variety in the flora. A few species formerly known are apparently no longer present, including the once plentiful Antitrichia curtipendula, but this was still the richest site visited during the meeting, with some 140 species seen on the day. The route taken was from Cavendish Pavilion along the west bank to beyond the Stridd and back along the east bank. Species of the calcareous grit included Leioco lea alpestris, Pedinophyllum interruptum, Scapania cuspiduligera, Cololejeunea rossettiana, Distichium capillaceum and Mnium thomsonii, while the calcifuge flora included Calypogeia integristipula, Tritomaria exsectiformis, Harpanthus scutatus, Scapania umbrosa, S. scandica, Cynodontium bruntonii, Dicranodontium denudatum, Leucobryum juniperoideum and Bartramia pomiformis. Pohlia lutescens grew with Ditrichum cylindricum on some trackside ruts. Species confined to the flood zone, and often embedded in alluvial sand, were Dichodontium flavescens, Barbula spadicea and plentiful B. nicholsonii, with Orthotrichum sprucei and O. rivulare on tree roots and branches. Plagiochila britannica was also on alluvial sand at the base of a tree. At the Strid, Cinclidotus mucronatus was refound growing vertically downwards from the underside of rocks overhanging the river, and was thus confirmed to be in no danger from the trampling feet of visitors. The sheltered and ancient nature of the woodland has preserved relatively rich epiphytic communities along this part of the Wharfe. Lejeunea ulicina is here at the eastern limit of its distribution in the north of England. Metzgeria temperata and Dicranum montanum were seen on several trees (and both also on millstone grit boulders ), and there were other species such as T ortula laevipila and Radula complanata which would not be accounted remarkable in districts where the air is cleaner.
A number of interesting observation were made by members. Capsules were reported on Plagiomnium undulatum and Mrs Appleyard found galls on Rhizomnium punctatum and Scapania umbrosa. Much attention was paid to the fertile material of Dichodontium. At first confusion was caused by capsules of Barbula spadicea lurking in the Dichodontium tufts, but it became clear that both forms of capsule were present on gametophytes that appeared macroscopically indistinguishable, and it was thought that there was scope for further investigation into their taxonomy. A pleasant diversion from bryology was provided by some fine flowering plants of the Yellow star-of-Bethlehem (Gagea lutea) in sandy soil on the river banks.
12 April. The final day of the meeting brought a marked change in scenery with a visit to the low-lying magnesian limestone near Ripon. The magnesian limestone has a quite different character from the carboniferous and several species were seen which had not been observed during the rest of the meeting. The morning was spent at Burton Leonard Lime Quarries, recently acquired as a Reserve by the Yorkshire Naturalists' Trust, and the Society was welcomed by representatives from the management committee. The lower quarry contains some small areas of short turf and semi-bare ground. In such places were seen Leiocolea badensis, Pottia lanceolata, Phascum curvicolle, Thuidium abietinum ssp. abietinum, T. philibertii and Entodon concinnus. Burton Leonard was one of the original British stations for Lophozia perssonii and on the present occasion the species was seen in two places, on calcareous soil under a turfy overhang at the top of a bank and on a moist part of the sheltered quarry face. The upper quarry has been largely filled in with rubbish, but there remain some shaded rock cuttings with Preissia quadrata, and a group of elder trees with a relatively well-developed epiphytic flora which included Orthotrichum pulchellum.
In the afternoon the party moved on to Fountains Abbey and the Skell valley. The richest ground was in the valley east of the Abbey at Mackershaw Woods. Tortula marginata, Gymnostomum calcareum and Mnium marginatum were on boulders in the wood, and Dicranum tauricum was on a log. Between the woods and the Abbey, Amblystegium compactum was seen in a known station on the vertical banks of the stream. The grassy slopes of the valley were beginning to dry out in the spring sunshine, but Pottia recta and P. lanceolata were still in evidence on calcareous earth. Leiocolea badensis was widespread.
In such well-bryologised localities, not many new records were either made or expected during the excursions, and there were no real surprises. However members were able to enjoy some splendid bryophytes in equally splendid surroundings and in particular to see such species as Zygodon gracilis and Pedinophyllum interruptum which are unknown or very scarce outside the Pennines. Moreover lists were made and reports are in preparation for a number of the Reserves and other sites visited. Thanks are due to the landowners and Reserve managers who gave their help and permission in arranging the excursions, but most of all to the members who took part in them and forwarded their results to the Local Secretary.
T. L. BLOCKEEL
Killorglin & Kenmare, Co. Kerry, 21 July-3 August
First week: Killorglin, 21-27 July
21 July Tomies Wood. The week began with a visit to Tomies Wood, the most extensive of the oakwoods of Killarney. We made a short stop at an experimental exclosure, where we saw the dramatic effects on the ground flora of excluding grazing mammals (sika deer mainly). (The resulting lush undergrowth may be to the detriment of the bryophytes in the short term, but the experiment indicates that in the longer term a reduction in grazing pressure is required to ensure the survival of these woods.)
We drove through the wood, then made our way down the steep hillslope to where the stream below O'Sullivan's Cascade flows into Lough Leane. The rocks in the stream bed bore abundant Rhynchostegium lusitanicum and Isothecium holtii. The sides of the wooded glen yielded a profusion of oceanic species: Sematophyllum demissum and S. micans, Plagiochila spp. (including P. killarniensis), Cephalozia spp. (including C. hibernica), Radula holtii, etc.
Newcomers to the B. B. S. learnt fast and feverishly, at the same time adapting themselves to the rather special pace of bryologists. The hundred metres or so from L. Leane upstream to O'Sullivan's Cascade became a vast distance, so much was there to encounter along the way. In fact, the bulk of the party never really arrived at the Cascade; it was time to leave for our lunches while most of us were as yet scarcely in sight of the pool below the lowermost falls. This was the first occasion for the Scots contingent to display their rock-climbing prowess; instead of going down and around like the rest, Gordon Rothero and David Long clambered straight up the series of falls - and were rewarded with the find of Cyclodictyon laetevirens.
After lunch we followed the stream past Lamb's Falls and up through the wood, getting better acquainted with the same rich flora.
Back to the cars, and thence to the open shore of L. Leane near Tomies Cottage. The lakeshore was backed by an interesting, heterogeneous area of fen and flush, from which Jean Paton soon flushed out two new records for H.1: Riccardia incurvata and Ephemerum serratum var. minutissimum. The latter represented for some of us a new order of magnitude in our bryophyte concepts! Relaxing at the end of the afternoon from the high discipline of pure bryology, we were able to lift our gaze to such giants as Wahlenbergia hederacea, Scirpus setaceus and Eleocharis acicularis (probably best spotted by looking for bryophytes...)
22 July The MacGillycuddy's Reeks: Beenkeragh. The mountains looked hazy and remote on this sultry day. We trekked up the long trail to the Hag's Glen and Lough Gouragh, pausing at the outflow from the lake for rest and/or collecting. Cyclodictyon was located by the Dutch contingent in a cleft in the cliffs above the lake. A tricky set of rock-faces soon separated the goats (mainly Scots) from the sheep (the shepherd, Donal Synnott, striking upward with the goats). A long, stiff climb was broken, for the sheep, by a picnic on a craggy ridge with a view of the towering peak and stupendous cliffs of Carrauntuohil (3414', the highest point in Ireland). Most of the party subsequently converged around the summit of Beenkeragh (3314'); the Scots, of course, went on to conquer Carrauntuohil as well. The cliffs of the saddle between the two peaks proved to be the richest ground. The long spell of hot, dry weather meant that the dryness of the ground was remarkable, even at 3000'; this was a boon for climbing, but not for bryophyte-spotting. The principal finds at the higher altitudes included Scapania ornithopodioides, Sphenolobopsis pearsonii, Mastigophora woodsii and Sphagnum subfulvum. Scapania nimbosa, found by Careen McDaeid on Beenkeragh some years previously, eluded us on this occasion.
23 July Glenbeigh area: Lake Coomasaharn. An idyllic place, on an idyllic day. The party worked its leisurely way around the western shore of Lake Coomasaharn, making towards the corrie cliffs at the head of the lake. The air temperature must have risen into the 80's; the bogs went 'scrunch, scrunch, scrunch' under our feet, instead of the familiar 'squelch, squelch, squelch'. At lunchtime some of us experienced the inhabitual pleasure of a cooling dip in a corrie lake.
The corrie cliffs yielded some species that were becoming familiar - we were by now quite blasé about Cyclodictyon, found here in some quantity. The abundance of a small form of Jungermannia gracillima was notable; Jean Paton assured us that, whilst it would never key out to this, this was what it was. We believed her.
We scrambled up into the higher corrie containing Lough Cullen. At the water's edge, David Long spotted the tiny, unliverwort-like liverwort Haplomitrium hookeri, not recorded in Kerry for over a hundred years. The cliff-hanging exploits of Gordon Rothero resulted in the discovery of Leptodontium recurvifolium.
24 July. After a late start the party travelled westward from Killorglin along the north coast of the Beara Peninsula. First stop was at the sand dunes at Rossbehy (64 91), near Glenbeigh. A brief search on hands and knees produced a short list of about twenty bryophytes, including Fossombronia incurva and Bryum marratii. Moving further west the next port of call was the coastal heath near Roads (51 87), west of Kells Bay. Here we said farewell to the group from Trinity College who departed for Dublin after lunch. Bryologising continued in earnest despite the descending cloud layer and the advent of the first rain of the meeting. A deep coastal ravine, south of Gull Rocks (51 87), yielded yet more Cyclodictyon laetevirens as well as Jubula hutchinsiae, Anthoceros husnotii, Fissidens curnovii and Dicranella rufescens amongst others. Jean Paton noted Cladopodiella francisci growing abundantly on gravel banks along the coastal path whilst Donal Synnott continued to collect candidates for Sphagnum subfulvum on the flushed peaty slopes above. Colura calyptrifolia and Drepanolejeunea hamatifolia were spotted by David Long growing as epiphytes on Ulex europaeus. On the return journey to Killorglin the party stopped briefly to examine a small wooded valley in Kells (55 87). This produced such notable species as Plagiochila killarniensis, Marchesinia mackaii (epiphytic on trunks of Ash trees), and Frullania teneriffae. Pylaisia polyantha was recorded in the field growing on trunks of Lime trees. However, specimens examined more critically at a later date proved to be Hypnum cupressiforme var. resupinatum.
25 July. The party reassembled in the morning on the west shore of Caragh Lake, just north of Lough Beg (71 90). Here, Archidium alternifolium was found growing in abundance on the seasonally flooded lake margin. An hour's bryologising turned up Fossombronia foveolata, Ephemerum serratum, Plagiochila killarniensis and Hypnum lindbergii, amongst others, but a search for Haplomitrium hookeri proved unsuccessful. A short drive southward along the road brought us to a tributary of the Caragh River, just north of the Meelagh River (69 86). A search amongst the boulder strewn wooded river banks yielded a rich bryoflora including Sematophyllum demissum, Adelanthus decipiens, Fissidens pusillus, Blepharostoma trichophyllum and Lejeunea lamacerina. An examination of the woodland at Blackstones Bridge (71 86) proved much less fruitful so the party moved on to the north-west shore of Lough Yganavan (71 96). Although more Fossombronia foveol ata and Archidium alternifolium were found on this sandy/peat lake shore, bryophytes had to take second place to an exceptional higher plant flora which included Radiola linoides, Sisyrinchium bermudiana, Cicendia filiformis, Scutellaria minor and Parentucellia viscosa, all in great abundance.
26 July. The party split into two groups, the main body spending the day at Coomnacronia Lake (60 86). Approach was made across moorland from a rough track which runs to near the lower Coomaglaslaw Lake. The rising moorland to the lip of the corrie had a number of Schoenus nigricans flushes which contained Calliergon stramineum and Drepanocladus revolvens. The boulders at the outlet of the lake, at about 1100 ft., had Radula voluta, R. aquilegia, Neckera crispa, Pterogonium gracile and Ulota hutchinsiae. Along the eastern shore Glyphomitrium daviesii was found by Huub van Melick. This area also produced Racomitrium ellipticum, Adelanthus decipiens, Drepanolejeunea hamatifolia and Colura calyptrifolia. Jean Paton recorded several more interesting species including Radula carringtonii and Fontinalis antipyretica var. gigantea. Basic cliffs at the south west end of the corrie yielded Anoectangium aestivum, Leptoscyphus cuneifolius, Eremonotus myriocarpus, Campylopus setifolius, Lophozia ventricosa var. silvicola and Cephaloziella stellulifera, to name but a few. Time did not allow a visit to Coomaglaslaw, to the east at about 850 ft., but a look from the lip of that corrie suggested that the better rocks are in the south-west corner under Mullaghnarakill.
A second group, David Long, Gordon Rothero and Neil Lockhart, set off early in the morning to walk the ridge path of the Magillicuddy Reeks. Access to the ridge was made by following the Black Stream (83 86) up to the corrie Cummeenapeasta. Antitrichia curtipendula was found on boulders around the lake. The boulder scree to the east of the lake provided the route to the ridge, at c. 2,800 ft., and also produced many interesting bryophytes including Douinia ovata, Mastigophora woodsii, Anastrepta orcadensis, Tetrodontium brownianum, Hygrobiella laxifolia, Dicranella subulata and Barbula ferruginascens. The long walk to Carrantwohill was rewarded by finds of Scapania nimbosa, S. ornithopodioides and Bazzania pearsonii beneath its summit.
Second Week: Kenmare, 27 July - 3 August
Kenmare, apart from its idyllic setting on the Ring of Kerry, is also noted for its pubs, eating places and the availability of live "Irish music". All of these were sampled in varying degrees of willingness by the fifteen people who attended the second week of the summer meeting. The strong Irish influence present during the first week was replaced by an august car load from across the water, giving us English a slight numerical advantage over the strong Continental contingent. The headquarters hotel was not ideal seemingly having sacrificed itself to the coach trade, although the music which reverberated through the building each evening was on occasion acceptable (at least to me), a term which could not really be applied to the landlord's poetry! Of those not resident in the headquarters, two stayed in palatial guest houses, whilst the rest of us camped; the Dutch party on a site that was scenic and expensive and Ms Schaepe and I on one that was singularly esoteric but very cheap. The weather was good, the oppresive humidity of the first week had gone and the small amount of rain had the virtue of wetting out the more exposed bryophytes. For those with a statistical bent the total number of species seen during the week was 343, with 9 confirmed vice- county records and one species, Fissidens rivularis, new to Ireland. The chief pleasure for me was to become more familiar with species like Jubula hutchinsiae, Drepanolejeunea hamatifolia, Aphanolejeunea microscopica and Colura calyptrifolia, which were seen nearly every day, and also to be able to call upon the depth of knowledge possessed by those present, to set my identification problems into some sort of context. The genial spirit of the two weeks was due in no small part to Donal Synnott's hard work and his ability to render the necessary organisation relatively inconspicuous and, of course, to the Guinness!
27 July. The Move to Kenmare via Torc Cascade (00/9684 H2) and Muckcross Island (00/9586 H2).
Most of the survivors of the first week paid brief respects to Torc Cascade. The level of tourist pressure and the unsympathetic afforestation were rather depressing, but many of the rare species are still apparent, at least to the skilled observer. Dumortiera hirsuta was magnificent in fruit and Acrobolbus wilsonii, Radula holtii, R. carringtonii, Lejeunea hibernica and L. holtii were refound. After lunch with wasps and tourists, the limestone on Muckcross was visited. Our objective, Doo Lough, was rather disappointing as were the dry limestone blocks in the woodland, giving an abundance rather than a variety of bryophytes. The large patches of Marchesinia mackaii gave me real pleasure as I had only seen it before in very small quantity. Also of interest were the pale green shoots of Cololejeunea rossettiana, epiphytic on Thamnobryum alopecurum and Telaranea nematodes on humus under birches.
Accommodation problems having been settled, the full group met in the headquarters hotel where the level of conversation varied directly with the level of the loud bass guitar which seems to be the prerequisite of "Irish Country 'n' Western" music.
28 July. Looscaunagh Woods (00/8981 H1) and Woodland on the Galway River above Galway Bridge (00/9179 H2).
Looscaunagh Woods were approached through Derrycunihy Woods where the extent of the "pervasive ponticum" was very sad, although attempts at control are evident. Looscaunagh itself, is a patchy oak woodland on steep ground above the upper lake and was, like everywhere else this summer, very dry open glaciated slabs between the lake and the wood gave Campylopus polytrichoides and a boggy pool gave Donal a chance to demonstrate brown Sphagnum, resembling S. subfulvum. Once in the wood, the party became rather spread out but several groups coalesced for lunch and then explored a dry stream bed and associated crags, which gave a good list. The more open rocks had both Sematophyllum micans and S. demissum, while the stream bed yielded Fissidens taxifolius ssp. pallidicaulis, Oxystegus hibernicus, Leptoscyphus cuneifolius, Lejeunea hibernica, Colura calyptrifolia and Jubula hutchinsiae. On the woodland floor Telaranea nematodes was relatively frequent.
The woodland upstream of Galway Bridge would clearly repay a longer visit than we were able to give it. Access through the Rhododendrons was not promising, but the woodland close to the burn was excellent, having much the same flora as Looscaunagh. The rocks on either side of the burn for 300 m had an abundance of Sematophyllum demissum, while copper coloured patches of Radula aquilegia were common on rocks in the burn itself. Plagiochila atlantica was found on a holly in a sheltered glade.
29 July. Horses Glen, Mangerton Mountain (00/9980-9982 H2)
Horses Glen is a valley of three loughs - in order of ascending height Lough Garragarry, Lough Menagh and Lough Erhogh. The approach to the Glen was somewhat complex and Mr and Mrs Rubers and Huub van Melick became separated from the rest of the party and were glimpsed only distantly. The day started clear and sunny and several pairs of off-white knees braved the initial gorse-ridden path. However a rapid build-up of cloud put paid to any thoughts of a swim and the day remained overcast and damp. The shores of Lough Garragarry were greeted with attitudes of supplication which seem inevitable in the search for Haplomitrium hookeri. A chilly lunch was taken on the shores of Lough Menagh and nearby rocks gave Dryptodon patens and Glyphomitrium daviesii. The rocky burn that tumbled down from Lough Erhogh looked promising and during the ascent produced Leptodontium recurvifolium, Jungermannia hyalina, Hygrobiella laxifolia, Radula voluta, R. carringtonii, R. lindbergiana, Porella obtusata, Lejeunea holtii and Jubula hutchinsiae. The block scree and the upper coire had a small amount of Anastrepta orcadensis, more of Mastigophora woodsii and ledges full of Herberta aduncus ssp. hutchinsiae and Pleurozia purpurea. Above Lough Erhogh, Jean Paton found Scapania scandica.
30 July. Ross Island (00/9488 H2)
This is essentially a large woodland garden associated with the Castle and incidentally is a peninsula jutting out into Lough Leane. The attraction for us was the limestone on the lough shore and the existence of some old copper mines which seem to have a strong fascination for bryologists. The low level of the lough allowed simple scrambling over the boulders on the southern shore and these were thoroughly scoured. Scorpiurium circinatum was abundant on the upper rocks along with Marchesinia mackaii and Anomodon viticulosus. The dry pendent mats of Thamnobryum alopecurum on the lower boulders were examined for the smaller Lejeuneaceae and yielded the more common species and Lejeunea holtii. These rocks also gave David Long Fissidens rivularis, new to Ireland, while Jean Paton found Tortella nitida. The copper mines were disappointing, with little in the way of spoil heaps, though they provided a pleasant lunch spot and one of the lagoons enabled Rod Stern to have a preparatory dip before launching forth into Lough Leane itself. Some rocks near the lunch spot gave Jean Paton the chance to demonstrate a convincing candidate for Plagiochila britannica, with P. porelloides close at hand for comparison. The woodland was very dry but produced Cryphaea heteromalla and Scapania aspera.
In the afternoon the group split; one group going to re-examine the woods above Galway Bridge and the rest to accompany Donal on a pilgrimage to the only Kerry site for Sphagnum pulchrum. The walk to see the Sphagnum in Cores Bog (00/9481 H2) was longer than expected as the bog proved rather more difficult to find than the plant. Being one who is inclined, literally and metaphorically, to edge around Sphagnum with some suspicion, I was impressed with the distinction and beauty of S. pulchrum, a plant worthy of pilgrimage. As indeed was the superb raised bog with S. fuscum, S. imbricatum, Rhynchospora fusca and all three Drosera species.
31 July. Bellaghbeama Gap (00/7478 H1) and the Northern Slopes of Mullaghanattin (00/7377 H1).
The winding road up to Bellaghbeama Gap was followed in a persistent drizzle. Burns near the Gap were checked in a successful attempt to re-locate Lejeunea holtii, seen there previously by Jean Paton; the search also turned up L. hibernica and Radula carringtonii. Moving westward over the Gap, the party then struck off across the hillside to the northern slopes of Mullaghanattin, an 'unworked' area. The initial burns and slopes gave little of interest save an indication of some calcareous ground, another site for the putative Sphagnum subfulvum and carpets of the small bell flower, Wahlenbergia hederacea. The weather cleared dramatically for lunch and in the afternoon bodies could be observed on the farthest flung ledges of the hill. The hill in general, and one gully line in particular, proved quite rich, giving perhaps the best composite card of the week. Acrobolbus wilsonii was found in two spots in wefts with Lejeunea hibernic a, and, in one case, also with Leptoscyphus cuneifolius. Anne-Marie Schaepe found Moerckia hibernica, new to Kerry, and in the same boggy patch David Long found Haplomitrium hookeri and Riccardia incurvata. A very wet scramble into one dark, dripping cleft was rewarded by Dumortiera hirsuta, well worth the discomfort. Other species of note in a long list were: Distichium capillaceum, Campylopus setifolius, Leptodontium recurvifolium, Grimmia torquata, Isopterygium pulchellum, Anastrepta orcadensis, Leiocolea alpestris, L. bantriensis, Sphenolobopsis pearsonii, Eremonotus myriocarpus, Scapania scandica, Mastigophora woodsii, Lejeunea holtii and Radula lindenbergiana. If the eyes were raised briefly from the ground in response to the raucous cries above, choughs could be seen wheeling from crag to crag; altogether an excellent day.
1 August. Rossmore Island (00/7565 H1) and Blackwater Bridge and River (00/7868 H1).
A day by the seaside proved a little disappointing, although several interesting plants were seen. Plants of note from the woodland on Rossmore Island were Metzgeria fruticulosa, Plagiochila killarniensis, Lophocolea fragrans, Cololejeunea minutissima and Frullania microphylla. A move was made back up the coast for lunch where a precipitous descent proved the undoing of one member, but happily the most severe damage seemed to be to a can of lemonade. At Blackwater Bridge Dumortiera hirsuta was dutifully refound and Jean Paton found Lejeunea holtii. Further upstream, on the banks and associated woodland, several interesting finds were made: Fissidens curnovii, Philonotis rigida and Jubula hutchinsiae. The party drifted apart during the afternoon seeking a variety of objectives, ranging from dubious Hypericums to lead mines and tea shops.
Our last day was a sort of 'free day'. A substantial group went to the woods at Five Mile Bridge (00/9383 H2) and then on to O'Sullivan's Cascade (00/9684 H1) which most of this group had not seen on the first week. The desire to see Cyclodictyon laetevirens seemed to be the driving force behind this itinerary. However the Cascade was cascading again and this precluded an ascent. However, Dumortiera hirsuta was seen, a plant we had missed on the first visit.
The Continental team plus myself, were whisked away by Donal to the hills above the Healy Pass. The highest hill, Knockowen (00/8-5- H1) has a northern coire, a projecting ridge, Cushnafiacale (a beautiful name) and an unusual flower, and these were our objectives. The approach was made up a very pleasant valley, where the gravel by the burn enabled three of us to find Haplomitrium hookeri unaided by David Long, a considerable event! Where the gully steepened near the lip of the coire, a dripping cave yielded Cyclodictyon laetevirens for the first time on the Kenmare week, and in fruit. Above the coire the ground steepened and species of interest included: Campylopus schwarzii, C. shawii, Hylocomium umbratum, Douinia ovata and an abundance of Colura calyptrifolia. An interesting scramble debouched onto the summit ridge and Donal re- found his tiny flower.
In the evening a tour of the restaurants in Kenmare was ultimately successful in finding one capable of coping with our large party and the end of the meeting was celebrated in style.
G. P. ROTHERO
Bedford College, London, 17-18 September
This paper-reading meeting on the weekend of September 17-18 was held by kind permission of Professor W. G. Chaloner at Bedford College, London, attracting a large attendance in celebration of the Society's Diamond Jubilee.
The proceedings have been published as:
Special Volume No.1. "Longton, R.E. & A.R. Perry, 1985. Proceedings of Jubilee Meeting 1983, 89 pp., (£6.00)"
To order a copy please see B.B.S. Publications for sale.
A training course in bryophyte taxonomy, sponsored by the Systematics
Association and organized for the British Bryological Society by the authors,
was held at Manchester University from 2 — 9 September 1983 as part
of the BBS Diamond Jubilee programme. It was gratifying that 23 students
participated in the course, a figure close to our upper limit of 25. The
students included a fair mix of amateur bryologists and professionals
from universities and museums. Several were from overseas, and a number
of other foreign applicants were unfortunately unable to attend either
because of problems of’ funding or because of excessive postal delays.
Imagine the local secretary's relief when she woke on the morning of Friday, 25 November to find that the thick frost, which had enveloped the world for the previous four days, had gone. A pneumatic drill was about to be added to the list of essential equipment needed by a budding bryologist! But imagine even more, her horror that evening when the weatherman announced on the television that the rain, which had set in over the country during the afternoon, was to be "with us for the next thirty six hours". It did not take any calculating to know that those thirty six hours included much of the coming weekend - the workshop weekend! However, the sun proverbially shone upon us as twenty six "students", clutching the results of the first and essential technique to be learnt by any potential bryologist, that of making newspaper collecting-packets, two tutors, one local secretary-cum-demonstrator and a hopeful B.B.S. Membership Secretary, set off, sans pluie, for Wimbledon Common. The search for "if it is small and green, then it is probably a bryophyte" was about to begin!
The group was a very mixed one, five participants confessing to knowing nothing at all about bryophytes, three had learnt something only at school, six had had an undergraduate introductory course, six had studied a more advanced course at University or College and five were self-taught. (One person was not confessing to anything!) Nearly all said that they had come for personal interest and fifteen added that they had also come for professional reasons. Of the latter, eleven were teachers from primary and secondary schools, Further Education establishments, and a field centre. People had travelled not only from London and the Home Counties, but from as far afield at Peterborough, Grantham, Southsea and even Germany. Nine were members of the B.B.S. and seventeen were not.
Wimbledon Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and permission to collect had been obtained from the Wimbledon Common and Putney Common Conservators. Although bryologically poor it has a uniquely rich bryophyte flora for an urban, polluted environment. A beginner can be introduced, therefore, to an interesting variety of moss and liverwort species without being overwhelmed. A pleasant two hours were spent hunting bryophytes, Alan Eddy and Alan Harrington skilfully pointing out potential habitats and features of interest and distinction in the different plants, but tantalizingly refusing to identify anything!
After lunch which was more conducive to a good sleep than working in the laboratory, the task was started of learning to identify bryophytes with a key, and learning a range of techniques for examining them. By five o'clock, when the first day ended, skills were obviously developing and successes being enjoyed because a request was made to start a species list!
On Sunday, the gods were not so kind and it poured with rain all day, delaying the morning's excursion. Alan Eddy began the morning by drawing together some of the features of bryophyte growth forms and structure, which had been met with the day before, and describing some new techniques necessary to see further points of taxonomic interest.
By half past ten the rain had eased, but not stopped, and promised no further improvement, so a small procession of cars made its way back to Wimbledon Common, this time to an area with a Sphagnum bog. Of the eight recorded species of Sphagnum on the Common, only three were found, two at the bog and a third round the edge of one of the Common ponds.
All enjoyed a welcome cup of coffee on return to base, before half of the group began their work in the laboratory while the rest gathered to discuss ideas about "teaching bryophytes" in school. Dr June Chatfield, of the Gilbert White Museum at Selbourne, mentioned work they had done at their field centre and the local secretary described and showed some of the work that she is doing with a class of nine year olds at Twickenham. Problems of teaching the concept of an alternation of generations to older pupils, and possible approaches, were discussed amongst other problems of motivation and timing of studies within the academic year.
After another good lunch and a brief introduction to Sphagnum, work continued in the laboratory, with some demonstrations of items of interest also being available for examination.
Ted Wallace joined the workshop on Sunday, and after being "mislaid" at the beginning of the morning's excursion, offered guidance in the afternoon to anyone requiring it, using the selection of specimens in his very generous gift of nearly three hundred packets of mosses.
At four o'clock people began to disperse, all saying how much they had enjoyed the workshop and many telling of its particular value to them. Participants had come with a variety of expectations and seemingly those expectations had been realised, with some people thirsting for more! A request was made by some participants for a follow-up workshop and also for help with the introduction of work with mosses into a Middle school. Certainly those concerned with running the weekend were pleased with the reception of the workshop and the keen interest of all who took part; and George Geyman anticipates some new members for the Society. The search of the Common had not been extensive, nor particularly thorough in the areas visited, nonetheless thirty different species had been recorded by the end of the workshop.
Quote of the weekend, from two of the younger participants: "What do we need microscopes for?"