There’s not much black about the Black Isle at present.  The name is said to come from the relatively mild climate that leaves the peninsula dark when neighbouring land is snow-covered. May is not the month to test that theory (though the weather this last week can hardly be described as mild) and the predominant colours of the Black Isle just now are green and gold.

 

 

Ribbons of gold-flowered gorse line main roads, back lanes…

 

 

and forest tracks.

 

 

In places the stiff and spiny gorse (Ulex europaeus) is mixed with supple, smooth-stemmed broom (Cytisus scopareus).

 

 

The flowers of the two species are very similar but while you may brush past a broom bush…

 

 

there’s no getting past the well-armoured gorse.

(Click twice for a closer view)