Marking the 8th Anniversary of the Community Purchase – Jan 2021
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/
Chilly Swans… During these days of chilly wanders around the loch you might see swans/wildfowl that appear stuck in the ice. Usually they are strong enough to release themselves, but if you are worried this is the advice from SSPCA –
Covid-19 Lockdown Restrictions – 24th February 2021: With the new lockdown restrictions now in force 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 –
– keep 2m apart, which will require visitors to step off the path to let others pass and to look ahead along the boardwalk for anyone approaching before proceeding.
– travel no more than 5 miles from your local authority boundary
– a maximum of 2 people from 2 separate households can meet (under 12s are exempt)
Further details: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/
Please do be patient and look out for each other. Keep safe everyone and a big thank you for all the continued support
Kirkhirst Wood was purchased in 2019 as an addition to the nature reserve with the vision of restoring the woodland to a wildlife rich broadleaf wood and creating a new footpath that is easier to maintain than the muddy farm track . The volunteers, tree contractors and helpers have worked hard during a difficult 2020 to get everything completed and open. Thank you also to the funders: Scottish Land Fund, Magnox, Annandale & Nithsdale Community Benefit Company, Lochmaben Community Council and individual donors
Dogs: Just a gentle reminder to please pick up after your dogs. 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.
Paths and Access update – posted 24/02/21:
All paths and boardwalks are clear and passable at the moment but after all the rain the water level is rising and might cover the boardwalk by the castle again. Remember there is an indicator post on the loch side at Lochfield Cottage showing if passable – if the water is at or past the point where the marker enters the ground the boardwalk will be flooded. The paths are also a bit muddy and boggy in places, so outdoor footwear or wellies is recommended – not your best white trainers! When we can resume the volunteering sessions we will check the paths and patch any problem areas.
Please observe social distancing (2m apart) 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. The new woodland path at the southern end of the loch is now fully open.
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 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, usually via SEPA, I put a note up on the Facebook page. 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
Volunteering activities (currently suspended):
1st Saturday and 3rd Thursday each month, also helpers needed for planning and running numerous events during the year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be added to the volunteers’ list.
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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