The northernmost tip of Ireland is a well-known name to those who have listened to the shipping forecast. Malin Head is a wild rocky end to the island with views southwest to other Donegal headlands and north to Scotland. August proved to be a great time for a visit with the heathers in full bloom, ling (Calluna vulgaris), bell heather (Erica cinerea) and cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) were all in flower giving the area a strong honey aroma. Small splashes of blue were patches of sheep’s bit (Jasione montana) or, on the wetter patches, devil’s bit scabious (Succisa pratensis).
It wasn’t a windy day on our visit but even so small clumps of foam from the sea were blowing up and over the cliffs. This is a harsh place to live and on the rocks were those most hardy of organisms, lichens; the pale green spicky Ramalinas and the bright yellow Xanthorias the most prominent. Another characteristic inhabitant put in a brief appearance too; choughs are a member of the crow family with bright red legs and red curved down beaks. It’s not a common bird, restricted to the west coast on exposed headlands like Malin; it eats insects, in particular their larvae.