Sunday, 25 August 2013

Lynne's 332nd and final tetrad! 

Lynne in her final tetrad, on the islet of Maisgeir, to which
 she sailed on the MV Birthe Marie (seen in background).   

Lynne Farrell, VC Recorder for the Isle of Mull, has just completed a mammoth task. She has spent the past 17 years recording the plants of Mull for a new Flora and tells me that, on 7th August, she surveyed her 332nd and final tetrad! 

If you are new to recording: tetrads are 2km x 2km grid squares: our 1962 Atlas divided Britain and Ireland up into squares so that we could record the plants in each square on a regular basis and so map the distributions of all our wild plants over time. There are 332 tetrads on Mull and its associated islands. 

Lynne tells me "I had always thought that the last tetrad would probably be on some remote hillside, but it proved to be three remote islets, visited by sailing boat on 7th August. I was accompanied by several of my stalwart recorders and several locals who had also helped in one way or another." She added that during her 17 years recording on Mull, she had "come to know both the landscape and the locals, and I am addicted to the area."


Lynne and Team Farrell on the MV Birthe Marie
Image: John Clare
I hear that Lynne and Team Farrell celebrated by "breaking open the champagne bottles somewhere off Staffa and we were escorted back to Fionnophort harbour by a pod of bottle-nosed dolphins. They must have known it was a special occasion!"

The last Flora of Mull was by Jermy and Crabbe, published in 1978, and we'll be using it for a while longer, as Lynne's Flora won't be published for a few years yet - surveying and field recording form Step One in the long process towards publication, and Lynne says: "Now begins the serious business of writing up the new Flora". But first, she is preparing a fuller account of how she completed that final tetrad for the next issue of BSBI News, due out in September.