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by Rosie - 09:19 on 28 May 2015

Despite the windy and changeable weather a small band of four botanical and rather amateur enthusiasts gathered at Scapa beach yesterday. We had a most rewarding walk - going along the shore and then up onto a coastal path past the Scapa distillery.

After some debate as to the actual leaf identification of a profusion of umbellifers from the carrot family which were not yet in flower - early stage hog weed, angelica, hemlock (?), cow parsley - we continued along the cliff path. We discovered the pink campion crossed with white to give a variety of mauve shades too. Still many celandine now whitening as they were coming to their final stage, primrose, sea pinks and scurvy grass hanging from the rocks, bluebell and vibrant red campion, 
plus small for-get–me-not, sorrel and plantain.  All a pleasure to see & identify but would we see the possibly more rare early purple orchid? It somehow didn't seem likely in the dense leafy vegetation but then what did we stumble on? Almost missed but thanks to Beryl's beady eye we discovered a flash of purple peeping through the
foliage! Yes our first orchid - soon to be followed by many more. No spots on leaves? Many stood above the lower vegetation and were found sheltered by the stone dyke to our right but also to our left below us on a grassy shelf part way down the cliff . We were thrilled and felt our mission had been accomplished as we turned back towards Scapa with the wind on our backs.

The Group’s next meeting is planned for Tuesday 9th June visiting Egilsay.

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