Montane habitats are found above the woodland limit, usually around 600m, but sometimes lower in exposed areas. The highest ground in the region occurs on Arran, where Goat Fell reaches 874m above sea level. On the mainland Kirriereoch Hill in the Galloway Forest Park is the highest land at approximately 780m, though the summit of the hill lies just inside Dumfries & Galloway. Blackcraig Hill (700m) in the Afton uplands is the highest point in the east of the region.

Arran mountains

Over 90% of the 600,000ha of montane heath in the UK is found in Scotland, with Ayrshire having a small proportion of this. Montane heath is often characterised by dominant communities of mosses, club-mosses and lichens, including Woolly Fringe Moss Racomitrium lanuginosum and Alpine Club-moss Diphasiastrum alpinum. Montane scrub includes consists of low-growing, crooked trees and shrubs, predominantly willows, including Downy Willow Salix lapponum and dwarf forms of Juniper Juniperus communis. Montane areas also support a number of interesting flowering plants including Starry Saxifrage Saxifraga stellaris, Mountain Sorrel Oxyria digyna and Alpine Saw-wort Saussurea alpina.

Montane habitat is significant in Ayrshire as it contains southern species that are at their most northerly occurrence, and northern species at their most southern occurrence. Birds such a Ptarmigan Lagopus muta are  found at their most southerly UK site on Goat Fell.

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