The pleasure of walking (or riding, or cycling) in the Cambrians is often keenest when a clear day shows the skyline 30 miles away with the silhouette of Cadair Idris or Pen-y-fan stencilled against the blue.  But the absence of trees or buildings between you and that skyline may be tempting you away from appreciating the marvels to be seen where you actually are at that moment.  Look closely at the stones, bark and leaf litter around and the uplands are home to a magnificent variety of fungi and lichens, including numerous species often not to be found in more industrialised or intensively farmed areas.

Cladonia-Cambrian-MountainsThe plot of Trouble with Lichen does not yet seem to have become a reality – a chemical found in a rare lichen slows humans’ ageing and so prolongs life, triggering the inevitable attendant social upheavals.  But there is so much we do not yet know about these wonderful fungus-alga symbiotes that it is still possible that that drug might yet be found.  So, with the aim of letting a few more beginners take the first steps in getting to grips with them, the Society is organising a Lichen Field Trip. With expert input from Steve Chambers and Tracey Lovering of Cennau Cymru, we’ll be going to look at some of the forms which thrive on the Pumlumon Massif.  The date is yet to be finalised but will be either 12th or 19th of November.  If you’re interested in coming along, please keep both dates free for the time being and watch out for the Members’ email with full details, nearer the time.

UPDATE: Eagle-eyed members will have noticed that 19 November has come and gone with no Lichen Field Trip. The wet and windy weather seems determined to frustrate us; but we haven’t given up. The trip will go ahead in early 2024, just as soon as we think the weather will be kind enough for a day which, necesarily, involves a fair amount of standing still and looking.