Instead of heading further south as I’d planned today, I noticed the river Ayr was very dirty this morning and decided to investigate this instead. The Ayr has many problems leading to poor juvenile production and a decline in fish stocks, not least reduced water quality arising from diffuse pollution. Todays spate was dirty, very dirty but it didn’t appear to carry to heavy a sediment load and it was a horrible yellow ocherish colour. Most spates on the Ayr seem to carry a quantity of reddish clay synonymous with the soil found around Mauchline and Sorn in the middle to upper catchment. I took photos at Catrine and upstream.
I headed back to Catrine and walked from Daldorch upstream. On reaching the bottom end of Sorn estate water, the burn that enters on the left bank under the footbridge was dirty. I’ve seen this before but never had the time to walk through the jungle to trace it further upstream. I pushed on with the dogs in tow (or perhaps they towed me) to find several very small dirty tributaries contributing to the problem. These tributaries are fed from field drains that discharge at the edge of the wood. Presumably they carry a high nutrient load that causes the greyish colour. This nutrient would be better feeding crops than running down the drains and careful application to avoid over dosing, wet weather and appropriate to the growing season is required to reduce this type of damaging input.
Unfortunately I didn’t get time to look at the Cleugh Burn after this walk but it too may have contributed to the enrichment I saw at Catrine. I will discuss the drainage issues with SEPA tomorrow and mention the septic discharge. Hopefully they will be able to address these issues effectively.