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Warning: Suspected Blue-Green Algae Bloom
Just a heads up that we have a suspected blue-green algae bloom along the northern side, but it could be elsewhere too. This isn’t a surprise as it is a common occurrence here during hot sultry summers. For humans it usually causes no more than an upset stomach, however it is much more of a problem if ingested by dogs, and can be fatal. Environmental Health no longer collect samples for testing and the SEPA offices are presently closed, so I can’t get it 100% confirmed. So, for now it’s better for all loch users to be cautious. Please don’t let dogs in the water, don’t wild swim, and if kayaking/sailing/fishing don’t touch your mouth before cleansing your hands. It isn’t actually an algae but a bacteria, known as cyanobacteria, which can produce toxic chemicals. More info on the various signs around the loch and at https://www.ceh.ac.uk/our-science/projects/bloomin-algae
We have been creating a community orchard in the garden at Lochfield Cottage, thanks to a kind donation by Patricia Brown to celebrate the centenary of the Soroptimist International. Hopefully in a year or two we will have various varieties of apple, pear, plum and cherry for you to pick and enjoy on your walk around the nature reserve – and those we don’t eat will no doubt be enjoyed by the birds and wildlife.
Paths and Access update – posted 29/07/21:
All paths and boardwalks are clear and passable at the moment. Please observe social distancing and all current government restrictions on movement. The loch side marker by Lochfield Cottage on the Lockerbie Road side indicates if the boardwalk is passable – although I’ve never seen the water level so low! The new woodland path at the southern end of the loch is now fully open.
Dogs: Just a gentle reminder to please keep dogs on a lead or walking to heel and to also pick up after them. Recently the children’s forest school areas have had a lot of dog mess left. There are numerous bins around the site, car parks, lay-bys and Lochfield Cottage, with the longest stretch without a bin around the grassland, but it isn’t that far. Thank you for your help with this.
Wild swimming & kayaking:
I’m regularly asked on Facebook about whether the loch is used by visitors for these activities and the answer is yes. One or two people do wild swim in the loch with safety visual buoys, and others for triathlon training, the same also goes for launching kayaks and canoes. The easiest place to enter the water is from the car park near the bowls/tennis club. Please note that the loch does have blue green algae blooms from time to time, usually late summer if it has been particularly warm and sultry (so not that often then!). When I receive reports of it, I put a note up on here and the Facebook page – See Above Warning. The one thing we do ask is that you avoid the wildlife sanctuary area, which, as you enter the water, is the bay down on the far right side – see map http://www.castleloch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/0484-14-Castle-Loch-Leaflet-update.pdf
Birds & animals in difficulty… if you come across an animal that looks sick or injured please contact the SSPCA on – 0300 099 9999 and one of their rangers will come out and investigate
Marking the 8th Anniversary of the Community Purchase
Where do the years go? To mark the 8th anniversary since the communities of Lochmaben, Royal Four Towns and Templand decided to purchase Castle Loch. To mark the occasion we’ve produced a short leaflet outlining the story and achievements to date. If you would like to support the Trust’s work, please visit http://www.castleloch.org.uk/getting-involved/
Covid-19 Lockdown Restrictions: As the easing of lockdown restrictions continues and summer approaches it is likely the loch’s paths will again be a popular place to exercise. We just wanted to remind everyone to remain vigilant and abide by all the rules
We are currently running adhoc small group meets, usually on a Tuesday. If interested email email@example.com for more details.
Winner of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2018
Winner of the Third Sector D&G VOSCARS – Environmental and the overall Volunteer Involving Organisation 2017
Winner of RSPB Nature of Scotland Community Initiative 2015
Winner of DG Life ‘People of the Year’ Award 2014
Welcome to Castle Loch, the largest and shallowest of the lochs in Lochmaben, Dumfries & Galloway, located between Lockerbie and Dumfries on the A709 (DG11 1LP / NY 085815). The site is one of the earliest Local Nature Reserves (LNR) and also a site of national and international importance for its birdlife with a whole list of designations, including Site of Scientific Interest, Ramsar Site and Special Protected Area. The loch is a fine location to visit at any time of the year, offering fine opportunities to see bird and wildlife, take walk, fish or take to the waters under sail. The site offers the chance to see breeding Willow Tit at their northern reaches, however it comes into its own during the winter season with the migration of Pink-footed Geese from Iceland and Greenland, along with Greylag Geese and Goosanders.
The ruins of Lochmaben Castle are found on promontory at the south end of the loch and offer an added attraction to experience first-hand the important historical connections of the area. The castle is a former stronghold of the Bruce family and is reckoned to be the best example of an Edwardian (Edward I, the Hammer of the Scots) Peel left in Scotland.
In 2013 the Castle Loch was put up for sale. The Castle Loch Advisory Committee provided the basis of a local Community Trust whose aim was to purchase the Castle Loch and its environs for the Community. The steering committee successfully raised the funds needed and Castle Loch Lochmaben Community Trust (CLLCT) took ownership of the site in January 2014.
Other recreational facilities located on the edge of the loch are the beautiful Victory Park, a bowling green and all weather tennis courts. There is an attractive path round most of the loch, which passes Lochmaben Castle and a Bird Hide, returning to the town on a quiet lane with fine views over the water and hills. Numerous fishing piers are found along the Lochmaben to Dalton road side of the loch, while a gently sloping path down to the lochside fishing pier, enabling wheelchair users to fish at the loch, is at the A709 car park. Annandale Sailing Club is a small friendly club and the loch can provide both sheltered waters for the nervous beginner or an interesting test for those who appreciate the subtleties of inland racing. Please note that the only motorised craft allowed on the loch are those of the Sailing Club rescue boats and Water Bailiff.
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