Hebridean Naturalist

“The creation of the Society and of the Hebridean Naturalist is a signal event in the cultural history of the Western Isles”
John Morton Boyd - foreword to the first volume

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. 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 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 journal has enabled information on the natural heritage of the Outer Hebrides to be published locally, and provided a home for material which would not necessarily be published elsewhere. 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. Moreover the editors have not been 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, are as fascinating to the local naturalists as they were to visitors.

The Hebridean Naturalist has always reflected the interests of the members of the society, and the majority of the papers, articles and notes are contributed by Curracag members. The early issues of the journal still contain many items of interest and valuable information on the wildlife of the islands. After all who could not treasure a publication that includes a report of a walrus from North Uist, an important paper on the abundance of black rats on the Shiants, and a note on grayling butterflies on Fuday?(Hebridean Naturalist 13, 2000). The journal is now published annually and is included the Curracag membership subscription and is also be available for purchase . There are also a limited number of back issues available. Further information is available on the Curracag website.

There is no index to the journal, but a list of contents can be viewed on this website where they are also available to download.

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