Scottish Postcard: Spot the Wild flowers in the Glens

What Wild Flowers (and other plants) might you spot in the Glens?

Walking the Glens in the summer can offer a varied landscape. You might start the day in brilliant sunshine, experience full force winds, misty hill tops and more than a couple of rain showers. Then the weather will return once again to sunshine.

With a longer spell of dry weather this year I have been able to sit on the hill tops, looking out across the Glens, down into the valleys. I love to take off my boots and sit amongst the wild flowers. Listening to the buzz of insects especially the bees (imagine the honey they’ll be making!). The sunshine is warm but there is usually a strong breeze too so I’ll wrap up in a scarf or shawl!

Here’s a few of my favourite wild flowers from my wanderings in the summer…

Cotton Grass

I think this picture is my favourite from this summer. The hill top in Rottal near Glen Clova was full of Cotton Grass with their fluff white tufts dancing in the wind – a delicate contrast to the darker grasses and looming sky. I love that they look like little polka dots across the burnt umber brown.

White Clover & Heathers

A cone shaped monument sits at the top of the Hill of Rowan. It is surrounded by swathes of heather and a carpet of white clover. I was up there when the sun shone and the bees buzzed. Although it was only the month of June much of the heather was in full bloom.

Blaeberries (yep, I’ve spelt that correctly!)

This was a new one for me: not so much a wild flower but a wild fruit! The Blaeberry, found in the highlands is similar to Blueberries as they are all part of the heather family. I found them alongside the Bell Heathers high up on the hill tops. I had no idea what they were and was surprised to notice little red berries growing. After a little research I found they are better suited to shady places such as tree canopies. Finding these berries can be an indicator of the former presence of woodlands. You can eat Blaeberries but the fruit damages easily. They’re an amazing food source for birds, small mammals and insects and would supposedly have been relished by the European brown bear before it was extirpated from Scotland about 1,000 years ago!

And Finally two more vibrant pink wild flowers…

Foxglove & Marsh Thistles

I love to spot these vibrant wild flowers all over the Scottish the valleys, on the hills even by the roadside. Both lovely to see but each with a mean side. Foxgloves being poisonous and the thistle being very spikey! In fact the thistle is the emblem of Scotland and here’s the legend of how it might have come to be:

 A Norse army journeyed to Scotland, intent on conquering the land. The legend has it that they left their ships under cover of night, and were planning to ambush the sleeping Scottish Clansmen. In order to be as quiet as possible, the Norsemen had removed their shoes. However as they crept across the countryside, one of them stepped onto a thorny thistle. His cry of pain roused the Scots, and the warriors rose up and defeated the invaders.

There’s plenty more wild flowers to find in Scotland. These are just a few I’ve found in the Angus Glens this summer. I tend to favour the rich browns and dramatic greys found in the landscape but it is wonderful to find these small spots of colour threaded amongst the deeper, darker tones.

Comment below:

What do you think? Do you like these wild flowers from Scotland? Have you heard of them all?