Guelder Rose in Assynt

December 12th 2019

Guelder Rose in Assynt

On the sunny afternoon of 20th September 2019 I took a walk up the River Inver from the village, with stepson Nick and his wife Rhonda, admiring the wild waters of the river in spate (photo 1).  At the bottom end of the Star Pool (NC1023) we crossed the footbridge over the weir and sat for a while, before returning.

On the far bank, just below the north side of the weir, I noticed the reddening leaves of a shrub I hadn’t seen for some time, and never before in this place, guelder rose Viburnum opulus (photo 2).  Its twigs are angled and its leaves look a bit like those of a maple (photo 3), but are typically three-lobed.

It is a rare shrub in Assynt, usually growing singly on or near a watercourse.  It occurs below the path in the gorge further to the west, and just above the Loch Assynt sluices, some way to the east, otherwise only at six other sites in the parish, so far as we know (see map from the Flora of Assynt, 2002, photo 4).

In 2004 Alex Scott told us about a single bush found by him and the late Chris Ferreira in a ‘new’ locality at the foot of Cnoc na Cairidh, west of Unapool (NC2232), which we visited in September of that year.  We were able to locate it from its clusters of bright-red, juicy berries, which are soon picked off by birds (photos 5 and 6).  Those on the bush beside the river had already been removed.

Words and photos Ian M. Evans

Report a Sighting

Recent Sightings

Blackcap

single male bird in Torbreck garden (Gwen Richards) (30/09)

Yellow-browed Warbler

single bird in Torbreck garden (Gwen Richards) (30/09)

Slow-worm

single reptile spotted on Baddidarach to Achmelvich path (Ballal Mirza) (29/09)

Brent Goose

single light-bellied bird on rock in Clashnessie Bay (DAH). This bird had two coloured leg rings and we are trying to establish its history. Update 30-9-20 - we have heard back from the Irish Brent Goose Ringing Group and this bird was ringed as a juvenile in South Dublin in December 2019. (29/09)

Little Grebe

three birds, Lochan Sgeireach, Stoer (DAH) (29/09)

Sparrowhawk

single bird, probably juvenile, in 'dogfight' with Hooded Crow for over 10 minutes (Gwen Richards and Ian M. Evans) (29/09)

Viper's-bugloss (Echium vulgare)

single plant in fenced ground, Culkein Stoer (Ian M. Evans and Gwen Richards). First record of this plant in Assynt since 2006 (29/09)

Bar-tailed Godwit

single bird Bay of Culkein (Gwen Richards and Ian Evans) (29/09)

Map