The Ruined Dyke

This ancient wall, or 'dyke', reminds us of the people that once formed this land. Though sparsely populated now, many people used to live in this area. There are the ruined remains of at least five small villages nearby. Many people were moved off the land during the Clearances in the middle of the 19th. century.

Some emigrated to Canada. Indeed Calgary, the city in Alberta, is named after Calgary, Mull. An officer in the Canadian Mounted Police, Col. McLeod, had stayed on holiday at Calgary Castle and had very fond memories of his visit. On returning to Alberta, he was asked to name a new fort, which he called 'Calgary'. From this fort, the new city grew.

In summer, this area is full of flowers. These include Devil's-bit Scabious, with a pretty blue button of flowerlets on a long stalk; Grass of Parnassus, a white flower not remotely related to grasses; and orchids, especially

Heath-spotted Orchid, which has a short spike of pink, red or white flowers. A bright orange flower found in wet areas is Bog Asphodel a member of the lily family.

These flowering plants will support a wide range of insects. Butterflies are amongst the more eye-catching insects on a sunny day, the ones most often seen being Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Small Heaths and Speckled Woods.

The balance between the flowers and the coarser grasses and rushes is maintained by cattle and
sheep that graze down the coarse vegetation, giving the less aggressive flowering plants room to grow.