Anglesey Adventures - The Great Orme - 28/06/17

Having left Snowdon, we headed North towards Llandudno and the Great Orme. This photo was taken a few days before from Mariandrys nature reserve on Anglesey with Puffin Island and the Great Orme behind it. It's an imposing headland that can be seen for miles down the Menai Straits. The Great Orme is a massive limestone outcrop jutting out into the Irish Sea and supports several rare plants. I did have a small hope of perhaps spotting a very early Dark Red Helleborine, fingers crossed. We headed towards the South facing slopes of the Orme first to check out a site there that a botanical friend Owen Leyshon had told me about months previously. There were great views here but the weather was really quite atrocious now. The wind was gusting not far off gale force and it was raining constantly. We had only gone about 20 yards from the car when I spotted several plants that were most definitely on my to find list! These are the very rare Spiked Speedwell. As you can

Anglesey Adventures - Snowdonia 28/06/17 - Part 2

The first part of this day was to be spent riding up Mount Snowdon on the cog railway from Llanberis. This was our second day in Snowdonia (see part 1 below) and I wondered what botanical gems I might find up a mountain. I was rather discomforted to find it cost £98 for 4 of us to go up on the train (£30 more by steam engine) but my partnr and the Grandchildren really wanted to go, so off we went.  It was a reasonably nice day in Llanberis, but we could see the clouds covering the mountain tops, so knew it would be rather wet at the summit. As such, I took full waterproofs with me in a rucksack. There are several little "stations" on the way to the summit and ideally I would have liked to get off one stop before the summit where I knew (from research) there were lots of alpine flowers. Unfortunately, due to high demand for seats that wasn't going to happen. So off we went on an hour long climb to the summit. There were some lovely views on the way up. Unfo

Anglesey Adventures - Penmon & Snowdonia 27/06/17 - Part 1

The adventure continues...... This day we went to Snowdonia and in the late afternoon we explored Penmon Point on Anglesey. As Part 2 also covers Snowdonia, I'll write about Penmon first. Penmon Point is on the extreme North Easterly point of Anglesey with a lighthouse, a fine view to Puffin Island and the Great Orme beyond. We even saw a Porpoise running the tide close to the lighthouse. There's plenty to see! You park near the lighthouse and on the grassy cliffs was a profusion of Pyramidal Orchids.  Surprisingly, I didn't see that many of them on the island. Anacamptis pyramidalis The coastal turf was species rich, helped along by species such as Eyebright which weaken grasses, allowing other species a chance to grow. Euphrasia agg The next plant was actually growing on the shingle beach above the high tide mark. They are White Stonecrop, a species very common in Kent. However, it's not often I can get a decent