The wetlands of Lochaber are of note both their abundance and biodiversity. Wetland habitats include bogs, fens, marshes, mires, swamps and flushes, where waterlogged conditions prevail for much of the year. Bogs are a particularly important habitat in Lochaber, with Claish Moss, Kentra Moss and Rannoch Moor being internationally important sites for blanket bog, with their distinctive pool and hummock typography. Other notable areas of bog are found in Morar, Morvern, Rum and Lon Leanachan.
Claish Moss is classified as an ‘eccentric’ mire', and the vegetation is dominated by Sphagnum mosses, with over 14 Sphagnum species being recorded from the site, including Sphagnum imbricatum and S. pulchrum. Other notable species include the liverwort Pleurozia purpurea and brown beak-sedge (Rhynchospora fusca). Claish Moss and Kentra Moss also support variable amounts of heather, bog myrtle (Myrica gale), bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum), cotton-grasses (Eriophorum vaginatum and E. angustifolium) . Insectivorous sundews (Drosera spp) and bladderworts (Utricularia spp) are found in the bog pools and margins. The nationally scarce dragonflies, the northern emerald (Somatochlora arctica), azure hawker (Aeshna caerulea) and white-faced darter (Leucorrhinia dubia) breed in the bog pools. The blanket bog at Kentra Moss merges into the saltmarsh at Kentra Bay, with its characteristic dendritic channels. The foodplant for large heath butterfly is cotton grass and the adults can be found feeding on Erica species in bog habitats.
Rannoch Moor contains an extensive area of blanket bog and valley and soligenous mire. The blanket bog has a characteristic knoll and valley topography, with small compartments separated by ladder fens. Rannoch Moor is also noted for an unusual ecological variant of transition mire. It has distinctive bog pool community and supports the endemic Rannoch-rush (Scheuchzeria palutris).
Fens and swamps are associated with wet depressions and shallow waters and support tall herbage including valerian (Valeriana officinalis), globeflower (Trollius europaeus), meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and ragged robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi) and flag iris (Iris pseudacorus).
Flushes also support a rich flora but are associated with continual water motion and steeper slopes. Species include insectivorous plants as well as orchids; the latter including northern marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella), early marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata) and the Lapland Marsh (Orchid Dactylorhiza traunsteinerioides subsp. lapponica).
Birds associated with wetland include hen harrier, warblers and pipits as well as waders such as greenshank, snipe, curlew and dunlin.
Beautiful bog and wonderful wetland!