On Friday morning Muir and I headed up to Loch Doon following heavy rainfall over the last couple of days to continue our pH monitoring program. As with any data collection, the greater the amount of data you have the more robust your evidence becomes. Continuing to build the data across a range of flows, times of year etc. is important to more fully understanding the catalysts for low pH events, and when these acidic flushes are most likely to occur.

On this occasion we took the drone to get some aerial footage of the top of the catchment. These images/footage will feed into one of our education projects to give pupils an overview of a catchment from headwaters to estuary.

It’s a big landscape and catchment and we noticed the Loch had risen several feet since our last visit just a couple of weeks ago. Approximately a third of the Doon catchment lies above the dam.


Eglin Lane looking upstream to the Merrick and Kirriereoch Hills. Eglin Lane emanates from Loch Enoch which lies nestled at the bottom of these hills. Unfortunately the wind was a little strong to fly the drone all the way out there!


Eglin Lane and the Black Garpel (coming in on the left) confluence. It really is a stunning landscape.

Tasks of this nature can become repetitive, walk to the site, record the pH walk back to the van…on to the next one (and again and again)! It’s easy to stop seeing the smaller things around you that make being out in the environment so worthwhile. Walking back over the tussocks from Eglin Lane we made an effort to look for the smaller things and not be over awed by the views. Looking down is in fact very sensible as you spend a lot less time tripping and falling in the long grass!


Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) a carnivorous plant that frequents boggy areas and marshes. These pretty little plants were taking up residence along deer tracks, where water had pooled in hoof prints (sometimes you’ve got to look down)!


Pine tree cones from a Lodgepole pine (I reserve the right to be wrong on this one). Pine tree needles come in pairs where as spruce come in singles. 


Gala Lane was producing lanes of giant bubbles that caught my eye as I waited for the pH meter to settle.

All these little things made the day that much more enjoyable. When your out doing fieldwork in a big landscape its very easy to miss the little things…

A final word of warning this is tick season and we made sure that there weren’t any ways for ticks to find their way onto skin. There are plenty of deer out in the hills and even more ticks. Lyme disease is a terrible illness to contract and you should always check yourself after being out in these types of environment. This year is being forecast as a bumper tick year. Not all ticks carry lyme disease but up to 15% do…

I’ve included a link to Lyme Disease Actions website (http://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/about-ticks/tick-removal/), please have a look at this for proper removal techniques as incorrect technique can cause the tick to regurgitate its infected stomach contents back into the wound.


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