Harling and moss

We took a new route to Blair House this week, coming round north of Kirriemuir, which gave us a star Macintosh-Patrickesque view straight up the glen.

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What I didn’t know taking this photo was that somewhere on top of that ridge of hills, Barry the builder was taking the opportunity to walk the 15 miles up Glen Clova from the Airlie Monument (on the far left) to Blair House, to be picked up by his man with the van and taken home for tea.

Meanwhile the man, with the van, wrestled all day repairing dodgy harling which has suffered from damp creeping in under the upstairs windows. This issue which should be resolved with some improvised slate windowsills.

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By the afternoon, he was building up layers of cement over the damaged brickwork. Plenty of work for the painting parties to do in May!

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Inside everything was progressing including doors, toilets, and the new kitchen. The units are white, not blue, but they have plastic covers on:

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Outside, Glen Doll has burst into flower.

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Of course I was getting more excited by the moss in the woods by Whitewater. The stuff on the right is ordinary Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus, which takes over your lawn, but I think the stuff on the left is Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus, similar in its bad-hair-day look, but much bigger:

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Here it is under the hand-lens, with its red stem and wild spikey leaves:

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I also pinned down two varieties of Polytrichum: this one is Polytrichum commune, the characteristic starry green mounds you see in the woods (apologies for the photo):

IMG_1836While this, which was growing all in amongst it, is Polytrichum strictum, like miniature bullrushes:

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There were also lots of particularly furry grey mosses, their long hairs designed to condense mist. I think this one might be Grimmia trichophylla:

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And this even wilder one might be Racomitrium heterostichum:

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There were also rocks curtained with this one, like miniature pale-green ferns, which I think is Hypnum jutlandicum:

IMG_1843I didn’t have time to identify this bright brindled one up a tree:

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Why is moss so interesting, particularly in Glen Doll? Because it is one of the richest forms of life in the area. There were scores or hundreds of varieties around us. They love the damp woodland and clean air of the glen and are an indicator of the healthy, undisturbed habitat. Also with my love for tiny, intricate, secret shapes and colours, I think their miniature, hidden worlds are particularly beautiful. And because I’m lazy, I like the fact that they’re very easy to spot and sit still for photographs.

But oh, all right, I’ll leave you with a flowering plant. There are Primroses innumerable.

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