Of Autumn, Mushrooms and Vikings on Islay

I usually post images from Islay here and I have hundreds, if not thousands unused pictures that I'd like to share with you. Today however I want to take you to another part of the world, the part where I live. This afternoon I made a walk in our nature reserve and found this beautiful mushroom, picture below. I'm not sure if this particular species is present on Islay as well, what I do know is that this is the most beautiful mushroom there is, well according to me. This mushroom is called Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric. This is a poisonous and psychoactive basidiomycete fungus and is native throughout the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Now that should include Islay as well.

Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric

I wouldn't have posted this image if there wouldn't be at least a slight connection with Islay. A possible connection can be found below and perhaps Islay has Norse influences due to this particular mushroom, who knows. A quote from Wikipedia:

A single source for the notion that Vikings used A. muscaria to produce their berserker rages was first suggested by the Swedish professor Samuel Ödman in 1784. Ödman based his theories on reports about the use of fly agaric among Siberian shamans. The notion has become widespread since the 19th century, but no contemporary sources mention this use or anything similar in their description of berserkers. "Berserkers (or berserks) were Norse warriors who are reported in the Old Norse literature to have fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury, a characteristic which later gave rise to the English word berserk. Berserkers are attested in numerous Old Norse sources. Most historians believe that berserkers worked themselves into a rage before battle, but some think that they might have consumed drugged foods." Today, it is generally considered an urban legend or at best speculation that cannot be proven.

Tag: autumn mushrooms vikings

Islay Winter and Snow Images

I was writing this post tonight when the power went down, not only in my house but in 100,000 houses in the west of the netherlands. Now, four hours later, after a relaxed and pleasant evening, the power has been restored so here we go.... I just returned from a dusk walk in our nature reserve and it was brilliant. Snow, strong winds, drifting snow and the formation of snow dunes combined with temperatures well below zero give the place a siberian look and feel. It reminded me of winters from my childhood and I'm glad that we can still have these severe winters despite the climate change. I saw four woodcocks, two stags and a large flock of geese flying over at very low altitudes, perhaps due to the grim conditions and reduced visibility. Exciting times and although Islay doesn't have a any snow on the lower parts of the island the place is still very cold with -5C last night. Now the good thing about the wintry conditions of last weeks is the fact that the sun has been out a lot more than usually in this time of year and this brings me to the primary reason of this post. Just before Christmas Teresa Morris of Islay Wildscapes sent me some beautiful snow images of sunny Islay. I have posted only a few of them earlier on and tonight I want to show you the remaining ones. Continue reading....

Cattle at Storakaig

Winter on Islay and Jura

As promised.... three more images taken by Teresa Morris of Islay Wildscapes from Islay's and Jura's most recent wintry period. These three images were taken during and after Christmas and show how beautiful the islands are when there's snow on the mountains.

Bheinn Bhan Islay

Paps of Jura

Mountains near Feolin Jura

Tag: snow winter bheinn bhan jura photography

Glen Road Islay in Winter Revisited

Yesterday I published several images of Islay's Glen Road in the Winter taken by Teresa Morris just before Christmas. Today I have three more stunning images taken along the same road in the same wintry conditions. And I have good news, there are more to come! Enjoy!

A Stag and the Paps of Jura


Dunlossit Piggies

Tag: snow glen road winter photography storakaig