The Machair and the Lily

Water Lilly

©Mhairi Morrison, A water lily opens as it warms in the sun revealing its true beauty.

One of the joys of the Outer Hebrides at this time of year is the carpet of wild flowers that colour the coastal grasses and the many lochans that dot the landscape of the west coast of Scotland. Its called the machair and refers to the special ingredient of the shell-sand blown off the atlantic onto the soil making it especially fertile for flowers.

The white water-lily is a native wildflower to Harris and comes out in June to August and the picture here is one we pictured at this time last year.  Water lilies are found in the lochans throughout the islands and can be clearly seen whilst traveling through the Bays of Harris. A water lily opens as it warms in the sun revealing its true beauty. To get a great shot means getting into the water with them.

We are travelling through to the Isle of Harris again in late June. One of our goals this time is to capture more of the machair and get better at identifying the variety of plants. If you are interested in learning about the flora of the Islands of Scotland you can start with this fantastic website called Virtual Hebrides – It provides a long list of linked images and descriptions of each plant by people who live there. Thanks are due to Chris and Graham.

In May / June the first of the machair flowers start to bloom. Here we see a carpet of daisies, buttercups and marsh marigolds. This particular scene is just along from the school car park at Seilibost, Harris.

Machair wild flowers on west coast of Scotland

©Paul Carroll 2011, Machair on Harris

About photographicviewscotland

Photographers of Scotland's landscape and remote places and arts and craft makers. Mhairi is also making needle felted animals under the name of the Woof in the Wool. We live in Abernethy in Perthshire, Scotland.
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