The Smiddy
High-end quality self-catering accommodation with stunning views on Waternish Isle of Skye

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Wildlife

Plants of Waternish     Birds  Mammals

Spring is generally late to arrive in this part of the world. However, by May, things have usually warmed up sufficiently for gorse to be billowing with deep-yellow flowers. Primroses and bluebells too are often surprisingly plentiful, with red campion and marsh marigolds adding a splash of additional species diversity and colour.

Summer months are never without their botanical interest for those willing to explore such delights. After the blaze of colour during May, foxgloves, yellow iris, ox-eye daisies and cotton-grass are bound to draw your eye during June and July. Perhaps the next notable feature to catch the eye is the flowering of heather, especially the common heather, or ling (Calluna vulgaris) which usually flowers at its best during early August, coinciding with the ‘Glorious Twelfth’   ~   the start of the grouse shooting season   ~   but not so Glorious if you happen to be a grouse! In fact, red grouse are rather scarce in Waternish, and Skye generally, such that very few are shot here, unlike the managed grouse moors on the mainland   ~   but the heather flowers regardless.

Ling heather is by far our most common species of heather but we also have two other species: the purple or bell heather (Erica cinerea) tends to grow on dry rocky outcrops and has a showy deep purple flower   ~   very eye-catching when in flower. The third species of heather is less obvious and tends to grow in wet boggy areas (the sort of places that most sensible people avoid!)   ~   this is cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix), which has rose-pink flowers and starts flowering in June, often associated with the bright white flowering tufts of cotton-grass.

During summer months, for those prepared to explore the wet boggy areas in more detail, your time could be well rewarded. It is in these acidic nutrient poor conditions that our carnivorous plants can be found: sundews and butterworts   ~   all of them delightful plants to find. There is also a chance of finding bladderwort in flower in some of the bog pools. And, as an aside, these bog pools are also good places to find some of our rarer dragonfly species   ~   but on calm humid days they can also be notable places for encountering Skye’s ferocious biting midges   ~   but if it is any comfort at all, it is only the females that bite!

For the orchid enthusiast, we have several species that grow quite widely in Waternish, beginning with the flowering of the early-purple orchid (Orchis mascula) in April. These are quickly followed by the flowering of other species: fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea); greater butterfly orchid (Platanthera chlorantha); Lesser butterfly orchid (Platanthera bifolia); Small white orchid (Pseudorchis albida); Heath spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata); Early marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata); and Northern marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella)   ~   most of these occur around ‘The Smiddy’   ~   and there are several additional orchid species that occur elsewhere in Skye.

Autumn is a fine time in Skye. September and October often bring fine sunny weather, frequently with a nightly chill in the air, sufficient to kill off the annual crop of midges. The hillsides change colour to reveal a mosaic of wonderful hues, a blend of red, brown, yellow and gold, dotted with clusters of bright orange ripening rowan berries. It is amongst this backdrop that the red deer rut takes place.

 

 
 

For bookings and further information please contact:

Carmen Meier
Telephone:  0044 (0)1470 592375
Email:   carmen@waternishsmiddy.co.uk


   
 
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