Stonehaven and District Probus

This week’s speaker, at the Stonehaven and District Probus Club, was retired head of biology at Northfield Academy, Dr Richard Marriott.

For many years, Dr Marriott’s passion has been the study of the flora and the fauna of the Scottish Highlands. As well as entertaining the members with an account of his work, observing and recording nature in our hills, he illustrated his talk with some stunning images of the area’s scenery.

The modern naturalist’s methodology, where practical, is to take an area of approximately one square kilometre and record in detail the habitats and condition of the plants, insects and other wildlife found in it.

These remote areas are usually only accessible on foot, so he often has to walk many miles to get there - though latterly a mountain bike has become a very useful accessory in some areas.

Inevitably, his overnight accommodation is only a tent.

As a local resident, Stonehaven’s wildlife is also of interest to Richard and the members learned that they have a species of very rare snail on their doorstep and also a very peculiar type of flea!

They learned Richard’s opinion about the reintroduction of the wolf to Scotland (on balance, he’s against it but only because Scotland is too small). A very heartfelt vote of thanks was proposed by Daved Macdonald.