Beinn Bheigier IPA
Location: East of the Isle of Islay in the South Western Isles, north of Ardmore.
Grid Reference: NR 435 565
Islay is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides and is often referred to as Queen of the Hebrides. With an area of 239 sq miles it is the second largest island of the Southern Hebrides and has an extremely oceanic climate. The mild climate supports a diversity of flora, typical of the Inner Hebrides. Much of Islay is flat, but the east is rugged and mountainous, rising steeply from the Sound of Islay. Here, with a height of 1,610 feet, lies Beinn Bheigier, the highest point on the island. Its rocky hillside is clad with heather, bracken and scattered gorse but also provides a suitable home for some rare bryophytes, including Lindenberg's featherwort, the reason the IPA has been identified. Lindenberg's featherwort is a rather beautiful liverwort with rosy fronds. It is an inhabitant of montane areas with high rainfall, predominantly in the southern hemisphere, and this mountainside in Islay is its only UK site. The IPA also has populations of the endemic and nationally rare skye bogmoss and the near endemic and nationally scarce Silky Swan-neck Moss.