We visited Inchmahome Priory this week to go on a wild flower foray as part of the RSPB Wild Challenge, more information can be found here. As we already have Historic Scotland passes (brilliant Christmas present from my parents!) it didn’t cost us anything. The best bit for the boys is that the priory is on an island in the middle of a lake, Lake of Mentieth, the only lake in Scotland. So we need to get the boat out across the water, great fun for kids and adults!
Inchmahome Priory was the home to Augustinian canons from the 1200’s to 1500’s when the Protestant reformation brought their monastic life to an end. There have been a few famous visitors to the Priory, including Mary Queen of Scot’s who sought refuge there as a young child and Robert the Bruce visited 3 times as a king.
The priory is now in ruins, but still interesting to wander around and look at the architecture. Some of the walls are needing conservation work and have fencing to keep people out of the dangerous areas. However, it is possible to get into the main church part of the ruins now, last year we couldn’t access it at all.
Aside the priory itself, there are some ancient Sweet Chestnut trees and a ring of Boxwood that is said to be in the position that Mary Queen of Scots planted the original.
For children there are 3 red squirrel boards to find on the island and also a ‘time capsule’ that changes position around the island every so often.
On our return boat trip to the car park we were lucky enough to spot an Osprey diving into the water and catching a fish. Lovely to see and apparently September is the time to visit to watch the males teaching the young to fish before they migrate.
RSPB Wildflower ID
Whilst on the island we discovered lots of different wildflowers in bloom or about to bloom. Using the RSPB wildflower ID sheet, which can be found here, we looked for different wildflowers to tick off.
As we were on a Scottish island that isn’t lived on there weren’t a huge amount of ‘weed’ type wildflowers. However, we did spot some nettles by the water and daisies and dandelions growing amongst the ruins.
We also found Marsh Marigolds and Bluebells that had just begun flowering. The boys were quite good at spotting the wildflowers they know. Littlest particularly loved the daisies.
RSPB Colour Chart
After identifying some of the wildflowers we also used the RSPB colour chart to do a colour scavenger hunt. We managed to tick off most of the colours in the end, although the pink may have all been on one Rhododendron plant!
Our eldest was particularly interested in finding different nature items that matched the colours. From sticks to stumps and flowers, even the sky for the blue.
It’s a great task to keep kids busy whilst walking around and even the youngest toddler can find different colours to match.
Have you taken the kids out looking for wildflowers yet? Check out the other Wild Challenge nature activities on the RSPB website for inspiration to start your own wild challenge! You can tick off different challenges and get certificates for each one you complete, great for getting kids interested in nature.
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