Inevitably, it was occasionally frustrating for her that she couldn't go rock pooling or climb to the top of the lighthouse, but as she built up her upper body strength whilst using her crutches, new goals became possible. Lowering her sights, literally, put her in the realm of small flowers that would ordinarily have been overlooked in the search for larger Northern Isles life forms: seals, killer whales, red necked phalaropes,
A short, grassy track from the North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory led to a five barred gate, beyond which was the preserve of the seaweed-eating sheep. From the low cliffs could be seen a rocky beach and the swirling waters of the North Ronaldsay Firth and the Atlantic Ocean.
Initially with plenty of rest stops, Our Lass trod this 300m track with a monotonous "click, thump" rhythm, in order to reach the nirvana of a wild vista beyond the sheep dyke. Whilst the Admiral and I were intent on photographing Black Guillemots, she innocently pointed out a wee flower that we had walked past umpteen times. Binoculars were wielded, cameras were deployed, Ohs and Ums were oh-ed and um-ed, heads were scratched. Then politeness cut in and we scratched our own heads, before realisation finally dawned. Yes, we definitely don't know what this is.
|It's a... er...hmmm?|
The defining characteristic seemed to be the comparative length of petals to sepals. Longer equals Greater, shorter equals Lesser. We couldn't even agree on this and I reckoned they were the same length anyway, which brought Rock back into the frame.
Oh, we're rubbish at botany, if you hadn't already guessed!
So, dear reader (presuming that you are still paying attention and haven't wandered off to do something more meaningful), can you help? Are you the world authority on Sea-spurrey or even someone for whom the ratio of petal to sepal is but a trifle? To be honest, I think the North Ronaldsay sheep probably stood a better chance of working it out than we did.