With its clean air and undisturbed environment Fair Isle is a Lichenologist's paradise!
Lichens (the first syllable can rhyme with either 'hike' or 'hitch') are not plants but strange primitive organisms; part fungus and part bacteria. Long before the dinosaurs roamed the earth, or even fish swam in the sea, lichens were among the very first living things to inhabit dry land.
Due to their extreme sensitivity to pollution and slow growth, they have now all but vanished from much of Britain. In Fair Isle's clean, clear air though they still thrive and here it is still possible to catch just a glimpse of what the Earth would have been like more than 600,000,000 years ago!