oil on canvas,
80cm x 60cm,
Iain White 2016,
Although the summit ridges and plateaux of Arcuil (Arkle) here are covered in a mantle of shattered rock fragments of various sizes, a larger scale pattern is still discernible. This large scale pattern of bands across the slope is structural in origin. It reflects the imbricated repeated outcrops of the Cambrian quartzite and pipe rock. On the other hand, the finer pattern of lobes and terraces is erosional. On slopes the mantle of so called “mountain top detritus” has been moved down slope under gravity by processes of freeze/thaw and saturated flow during periods of colder climate.
These solifluction features have created a mosaic of sub habitats with contrasting extremes of exposure and shelter mirrored by an intricate vegetation mosaic. Here Siliceous and Boreal grasslands are intermingled with Alpine and Boreal heaths. It is a pattern determined as here on Arcuil (Arkle) by variations in surface stability, topography, shelter, exposure, drainage and snowlie. Where a continuous vegetation breaks down terraces, a diverse community of bryophytes and lichens occurs on rock surfaces.