A GROUP of fungi enthusiasts are so impressed by their finds around Langholm that they plan to hold another annual trip here soon.
The Scottish Joint Foray brings amateurs and experts together for one week every year to record and document fungi in the chosen location – and this year it was Langholm.
Cameron Diekonigin, who belongs to three regional groups in Scotland and one in England, said: “Scotland organises the event and opens it up to everyone. We try to get between 20 and 25 people and beginners are welcome.”
Joining them was mycologist Professor Roy Watling, now retired but formerly of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. They also had a mycologist from Kew Gardens in London who specialised in lost fungi.
Cameron said: “We aren’t foragers collecting for the cooking pot. We record and identify all manner of fungi and submit them to the national database.
“The idea is to get a much better understanding of fungi. They are under-recorded and we don’t know enough about their distribution.
“We reasonably often find some very rare ones and they go either into the botanic gardens in Edinburgh or Kew.
“There are about 40 different kinds of truffles in the UK, some edible, some not. They aren’t poisonous; they’re just not very nice. There is an unusual one with square spores.
“Some specialise in growing underground and can be quite difficult to find. You have to know what you’re looking for. One grows underground, beneath mushrooms.”
The group visited the Eskrigg nature reserve near Lockerbie and spent the day with Jim Rae.
Cameron said: “It was spectacular; one find after another. The reserve is a very good site. We found all sorts of things.
“We also went to the Kinmount Estate near Annan and found a tricholoma which is normally found in warmer climates and was a first for many of us.
“Normally, we don’t talk about visiting a place a second time because there are so many places to go to but we would like to come back in a few years.”
Cameron said he would be pleased to see a group set up in the south west. There was already a Borders group, based in Berwick-upon-Tweed.
He said: “That would be a superb outcome to leave the area with a bit of a legacy and a new group is formed.”