Plant Life - be inspired to dig deeper

Plant life is given the room it needs to grow on Rousay. With species ranging from the rare Primula Scotica - commonly known as the 'Scottish Primrose' - to the heather-clad hills, the island is botanically-rich. Indeed, many Gardening Clubs make the trip to Rousay in the summer months, while the island itself is home to a number of keen gardeners.

Primula Scotica - The Scottish Primrose

The Primula Scotica is present on Rousay. Unique to just the Orkney Islands, Caithness, and North Sunderland, this normally rare species of Primrose can be found in several small colonies on the The Brings, a stretch of heath located along the extreme north-west corner of the island. Identifiable by its bluish-purple petals, it mainly flowers in July, but sometimes in May also.

Upon the maritime heath across The Brings and along the nearby Sacquoy Head Walk (6.4km return), are plant species such as Grass of Parnassus and Spring Squill.

Trumland Nature Reserve

The two nature trails at Trumland Nature Reserve feature plant life which thrives in these conditions, comprising 131 hectares of blanket bog and 52 hectares of wet heath, and displaying species such as Heather (one of Scotland's most prolific plant species), Bell Heather, Bog Asphodel (a member of the Lily family, with yellow star-shaped flowers), and Tormentil, which are all in bloom in the mid to late summer months. Alpine Bearberry, Alpine Saw-Wort, Dwarf Willow, and Round-leaved Wintergreen are also present on the moorland despite being normally found at much higher altitudes elsewhere in Scotland. Strands of tall herbs, ferns and rushes, which form 'dales vegetation' - a unique feature of Orkney moorland - is present on the reserve.

Five nationally scarce plants are also found on the moorland; for three of these species - Hybrid Pondwood, Serrated Wintergreen, and Shady Horsetail - Rousay is the only place in the Orkney Islands where you will find them.

A wonderfully botanic site, the whole nature reserve forms the third-largest area of moorland in the Orkney Islands.

Muckle Water

Set in a beautiful location, Rousay's largest loch - Muckle Water - is rich in plant life, including several nationally scarce species, such as Hybrid Pondweed. Its unique nutrient levels make it the only loch of its kind in the Orkney Islands.

Faraclett Head Walk

The Faraclett Head Walk is largely dominated by the Heather family, with Ling, Bell Heather and Cross-leaved Heath varieties, but many other plant species in an array of colours are present too. Amongst others, the flowers to be seen include: yellow Bog Asphodel; white Eyebright; and purple Devil's-bit Scabious, a tall plant with purple-blue flowers that together resemble a pin cushion. It is popular with bees, butterflies, and moths, and takes its common name from legend; the devil is said to have bit off part of the plant's root, leaving a distinctive short and stubby, black root. The devil is said to have performed this act in anger at the plant's ability to cure a number of ailments, including sores caused by the Bubonic Plague.

Trumland House Gardens

The Jacobean-style mansion, Trumland House has its own spectacular gardens, with a woodland area, and contains a variety of plants and flowers. The gardens are open in the summer - it's a stunning place to visit, especially on a glorious sunny day. There is a small admission charge of £2.00 (telephone 01856 821 322 to check prices and opening times).

Around the island, there is plenty of opportunities to spot wild flowers, from Heather species to Daffodils, Foxglove, and Poppies.