Outer Hebrides Biological Recording

The Hebridean Naturalist

The Hebridean Naturalist is the journal of Curracag, the Outer Hebrides Natural History Society. The first volume was published in 1978 and thereafter another 14 volumes were issued at varying intervals. It will always be difficult for a small natural history society covering an archipelago with a very small resident population to thrive. The aspiration and ambition to publish a journal has to be admired and although only 15 issues were published in 38 years, it is a remarkable achievement. The journal is a testament to the determination and enthusiasm for the natural heritage of the islands by the members of the society, whether resident or based elsewhere in the UK. The content is fascinating and moreover biologically relevant to the interests of the current generation of amateur naturalists and scientists working on the biota of the archipelago.

The Hebridean Naturalist provided the facility for information on the natural heritage of the Outer Hebrides to be published locally. It is remarkable for the diversity of its content; from parasitic plant nematodes and orcas to the geometry of standing stones and Gaelic plant lore, and for providing a home for material which would not necessarily be published elsewhere. Moreover the editors were not too parochial and included contributions featuring the neighbouring islands of Skye, Rum and Raasay. It is also clear that the outlying islands, from Sula Sgeir to Mingulay, were as fascinating to the local naturalists as they were to visitors.

As John Morton Boyd acknowledges in his foreword to the first volume: “The creation of the Society and of the Hebridean Naturalist is a signal event in the cultural history of the Western Isles”; after all who could not treasure a publication that includes a report of a walrus from North Uist, followed by an account of buff-breasted and pectoral sandpipers on North Uist and a water rail in a garden on Grimsay (Hebridean Naturalist 13, 2000).

After a gap of a decade it was decided to resume the publication of the Hebridean Naturalist and number 16 was published February 2017. It will form part of the Curracag membership subscription and will also be available for purchase. There are also a limited number of back issues available. Further information is available on the Curracag website.

Contents Numbers 1-17 (1978-2017)