Morvern Undiscovered


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Moorland

Location

LOCATION DESCRIPTION

Moorland

The open moorland; of which there is much in Morvern, predominantly comprises areas not cultivated for forestry or fenced off for grazing livestock, ranging from the high ground to the lower slopes and river valleys, not covered by natural deciduous woodland. The most abundant vegetation in this terrain is heather, cross leaved heath, deer grass and purple moor grass. Often these areas are also referred to as wet heaths due to the areas of peaty bogs with dark ominous looking pools of peaty water. The Western areas of Scotland receive on average 1600mm of rainfall per year, twice that of the Eastern side. The same can also be said of the annual wind speeds with the West being far greater than that of the East, not surprising as the prevailing winds are from the West.

Most current moorland areas were at one time wooded, clearance of the land occurred at different times throughout history with the earliest being linked to Neolithic man; when land was cleared for pasture. As such the age of these moorland areas varies with some being thousands of years old, whilst others may be relatively young. The older moorland areas are semi-natural with native vegetation present since after the last ice age.

Whilst some would argue that walking on Morvern lacks a challenge it is worth noting that on Morvern's upland areas there are no paths or cairns to mark your way, you are isolated, alone and in many areas without any form of communication or contact. On these uplands you are on your own, a solitary figure in a beautiful and wild landscape.

Much of the moorland areas are alive with wildlife, small rodents inhabit the vegetation, Golden Ringed Dragonflies patrol moorland streams and birds such as Meadow Pipit and Skylarks are visitors in the Spring and Summer, the Cuckoo can often be heard in May and pairs can be seen patrolling moorland areas looking for a Meadow Pipits nest to lay its solitary egg. Snipe and Woodcock give ear piercing song as you almost tread on them and the echoing song of the Curlew hangs in the air; birds of prey patrol overhead and members of the crow family scour the land for easy pickings. Pine Martins, Foxes and Red Deer are also evident on the moors, with rock outcrops used for scent marking and shelter.


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