A bit of a cheat this week, as I am including two photographs of the same landscape, but at different scales. This is the Flow Country, a huge area of blanket bog, covering much of Caithness and Sutherland; it is now the largest example of such habitat left in Europe. In my forthcoming “Places” series, I shall initially be describing and illustrating areas of interest on, or close to, the route of the North Coast 500. This is one such area and, as such, will warrant a longer post.

The Flow Country in the far north of Scotland. Bogs and hills, moss and water.
Dark pools, some many metres deep, bogbean and sphagnum, bog myrtle, and the constantly shifting play of the light. These are places of macro and micro, a shifting scale full of wonder.

For now, though, I thought I would show you one of the big attractions of this area, that of the sense of scale, from the vast, with bog vanishing into distant hills, through to the micro, with each plant, insect, or drop of water that makes up this whole. This is a landscape that can be appreciated in a wide gaze, or down up close; the heat of the peat and rotting vegetation in your face, the scent of acidic plants, the drone of the insects, all coupled with the sense that these are deep places, deep and very, very, old. There is potential magic here, who knows what hides in the depths?

Carnivorous plant in the Flow Country, Great sundew, in a bog, with bogbean.
Great sundew (Drosera anglica). This is one of several species of carnivorous plant to inhabit these bogs. I have always loved the wonder of scale, shifting between the mighty oak and the tiny caterpillar eating its leaves, or the dune systems, each mighty mound shifted one grain of sand at a time. Scale is important in nature, and the Flow Country is a wonderful example of this.

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Friday Photo #9 The Flow Country

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