Location: One of the Hebridean 'Small Isles'. Caledonian MacBrayne run a ferry service throughout the year from Mallaig.
Grid Reference: NM 366 977
The most mountainous of the Small Isles, Rum is a large island located south-west of Skye.
It has a varied topography and geology, with contrasting acid and basic rocks, providing a variety of habitats. These include montane grassland, dwarf-shrub heath, blanket mire, open waters, shingle and boulder beaches, maritime cliffs, grassland and heath, and some woodland, sand dunes and saltmarsh.
The island is awash with colour in the summer months and flowers to be found include a number of orchids. The list includes more common species such as heath spotted, fragrant and northern marsh orchids, but you might spot the rarer bog, frog, small white or lesser butterfly orchid.
In rugged areas of mountain and coastal habitat you may discover other nationally important flowering plants, including field gentian, arctic sandwort, pyramidal bugle, purple saxifrage, mountain avens, wood bitter-vetch and alpine penny-cress.
Ferns are well represented (44 species, 62% of UK total) and bryophytes (469 species, 45% of UK total). These thrive under Rum’s cool wet conditions, and together with around 400 species of lichens form dense ground mats or hang from trees and rocky outcrops along humid ravines and woodlands. There is quite a diversity, and many common species such as greater fork-moss, tree lungwort, common tamarisk-moss, maidenhair spleenwort, little shaggy-moss, common polypody, slender mouse-tail moss, greater whipwort and common striated feather-moss are all in great abundance in the immediate vicinity of Kinloch Village. Rare species found on the island include the nationally scarce black-tufted moss and the Skye bog-moss which is only found on Rum, Harris and Skye.
Approximately 900 species of fungi have also been recorded on the island with the greatest diversity in the semi-unimproved grassland. This habitat supports 25 species of colourful waxcap fungi, including internationally scarce varieties such as the goblet, spangle, earthy, slimy, nitrous and fibrous waxcaps. Other scarce species include the violet coral and olive earthtongue. Edible species such as the cep and chanterelle can be found around Kinloch. The classic red and white ‘fairytale’ mushrooms, fly agaric are also relatively common around Kinloch during early September.
Image: ©Laurie Campbell