For the past 10 years or so Heather, Myself, Sophie and now Theo the Aussie Shepherds, have been visiting the Cairngorms in the Highlands of Scotland. We stay at the same cottage every year, near Feshiebridge in the Rothiemurchus Forest, near Aviemore.  Apart from a relaxing break, it is of course a big fungi destination and over the years we have made some great finds and taken some great photographs.  Here are but a few.

Heather and Theo head out in the early morning mist.



Lactarius resimus and Lactarius repraesentaneus, two of the rarest British milkcaps, found in old birch woods in the highlands of Scotland.  The former has mild to acrid milk which yellows immediatly when the flesh is cut.  The latter has mild to bitter milk which turns slowly violet when the flesh is cut or following exudation onto the gills.



Here are just a few of the rare species of Cortinarius recorded during our visits. First up is Cortinarius porythropus, one of the violaceous, lubricous, Phlegmacium species, associating with Betula, this was new to Britain. Secondly, Cortinarius transatlanticus, with such an elaborate name you’d expect something a little  more glamorous wouldn’t  you think? Associating with Picea, this was also new to Britain. Last but not least, another new to Britain, Cortinarius populinus. Supposedly associating with Populus sp. However, no Poplar was noted at the time of recording. It was initially recorded as another species, which DNA revealed was this species.


Russula species.

Russula nuoljae, a northern and more Scandinavian species belonging to the Xerampelina complex. Note the green reaction to an Iron Salt Crystal on the right hand stem. Typical of this group. This was only recently added to the British list
Russula paludosa, an uncommon species further south but rather, locally common in the highlands of Scotland. On this particular trip it was the most common Russula. Associating with Pinus sp.
Russula violaceoincarnata, another strictly northern, Scandinavian species, which has only just been added to the British list. I first saw this a few years ago, amongst the birch around the cottage, I was baffled as to which species it was. Thankfully we got there in the end.


Things on trees

Phellinus lundelii-On the roots of a living, fallen Birch tree on the shores of Loch Insh. This had me rather flummoxed, having not come across the species before, I had it down as another species, P. igniarius or P. tremulae but these both inhabit different trees, Salix and Populus tremula respectively. It wasn’t until we put our heads together that Peter came up with the correct species.


Phellinus obliquus-A species which associates with old birch trees in far Northern, Scandinavian climes. It is practically absent further south. Unfortunately this fungus has become popular among those seeking homeopathic remedies for various ailments, as it is meant to have super medicinal properties. Commonly known as Chaga, gouged areas can be seen on birch trees around the Rothiemurchus, caused by collectors ripping the fungus from the tree. Unsightly.


Porodaedalea pini-Another rare species down south being more at home on the pines in the Scottish Highlands or Scandinavia. It isn’t that common in Scotland. Here it was on a pine, not a stones throw from where we stay.


Phellinus tremulae-I was alerted to this by a post on Facebook and knowing I was going to be in the area I grabbed the location. Like the Phellinus lundelii at Loch Insh, I’d never seen this species anywhere other than here. It was fruiting on various trees within a Populus tremula grove, close to the River Spey and Granton.



The season for the larger boletes tends to arrive and end earlier in highland Scotland, possibly because many are thermophilic and August is generally a good month being a warmer more conducive month for these species. However, this is not set in stone, September is often, also a good month for Boletes and many other genera come to that.
We always aim for the second week in September and in more recent years 2nd and 3rd weeks. We have always found this to be perfect. Some of the Boletes are still around, Cep, Pine Cep and the Birch Boletes which prefer the more chilled autumnal months.  And Russula, Chanterelles, Cortinarius, Lactarius etc. etc.

Boletus pinophilus

Boletus pinophilus – Pine Cep. Closely related to Boletus edulis but associating with pine and has a dark red cap. A rare find outside of Scotland.

Suillus cavipes

Suillus cavipes-a very rare species associating with old Larch.
Leccinum vulpinum-a rare species associating with pine. Most likely only found in Scotland. Its not unlike the deciduous tree associate, L. aurantiacum but with darker scales and a little more scarlet in the cap.