Glen Meavaig (Photo: Black Lab)
Moorland covers most of the Harris landscape away from the coast. Moorland is open, often boggy ground with short vegetation which is usually kept short by grazing animals such as sheep and deer. Moorland is usually found on high ground, several hundred meters above sea level. However on Harris, because of our harsh wet climate, moorland is found down to sea level in many places. In many areas, Heather is the most common plant giving the moors their characteristic brown appearance from a distance. In the late summer the moorland will often turn purple with the heather blossom. Moorland soils are mainly made up of peat and are often very wet and acidic. The plants found on the moorland are very different from those found in coastal and machair areas. Moorland plants need to be able to cope with the wet, acidic peaty soils in contrast to the well drained sandy soils of the machair. As well as the peaty soil, moorland plants need to cope with grazing by sheep and deer and with our changeable and often extreme climate. Many moorland plants are specially adapted to these conditions.
By Robin ReidNext Section