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14 Dhu Loch Waterworks Round (10.6.19)

Posted 10/6/2019

Approaching the waterworks access roadApproaching the waterworks access road


This is a circular walk, with two possible linear extensions.  Park at the forestry loading area on the Loch Fad road (GR NS078633), or walk there from Rothesay via The Meadows and Lovers’ Walk (see Walk 04).   Follow the track uphill through the recently-felled woodland, an easy walk.  Yellow is the predominant flower colour, with Broom and large patches of the tiny Lesser Yellow Trefoil near the start; there are also Buttercups and Meadow Vetchling, and, higher up as the ground becomes more acidic, Tormentil.

Wolf's Milk Slime MouldWolf's Milk Slime MouldYou never know what you may come across on a walk!  Near the top of the forestry section, I was surprised to see what looked like small orange puffballs on the track.  Not a flower, it’s one of a strange group of organisms called, (delightfully!) slime moulds; this one is Wolf’s Milk (Lycogala epidendrum).  The orange balls are its fruiting bodies, often found in damp rotten wood.


After crossing more open ground, you will reach a tarmac road.  Turn left here to complete the circular walk by following the road downhill to the Loch Fad road, from where it’s a short walk back to your starting point.

However, if, before completing the round, you turn right at the tarmac road, you can walk on past the waterworks buildings towards the small reservoir that was formerly used in connection with the works.  Rather than stay on the road, walk along the top of the earthworks to the left of the road, where there is a colourful mixture of Red and White Clover, Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Pignut and other flowers.  Cross the ditch that drains into the reservoir and go towards its margin. 

Ragged-robin by the reservoirRagged-robin by the reservoir


Northern Marsh Orchid and Water HorsetailsNorthern Marsh Orchid and Water HorsetailsThis is a delightful spot with an array of Ragged-robin, Northern Marsh Orchids, Red Rattle, Lady’s-smock, Tufted Forget-me-not, Bulrushes and Marsh Cinquefoil to name but a few.


You can continue on for 20 minutes or so to the Dhu Loch itself (which is now the island’s main water supply), but be warned that the terrain is rough, often trackless and (apart from the bracken-clad areas) usually very wet underfoot.

 Dhu LochDhu Loch


The other linear extension is to the top of Barone Hill, a surprisingly spectacular 360 degree viewpoint.  At the right-angled bend in the road, just before the waterworks buildings, leave the road and follow the path that leads up a gentle slope to the ladder-stile visible on the skyline. From the stile, it is then just a short climb on drier ground to the summit.

Dhu Loch and Arran from Barone HillDhu Loch and Arran from Barone Hill

Rothesay from Barone HillRothesay from Barone Hill 







Species in flower (a few only just beginning) include:

Broom Cytisus scoparius
Cat's-ear Hypochaeris radicata
Common Bird's-foot-trefoil Lotus corniculatus
Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa
Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens
Daisy Bellis perennis
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale agg.
Foxglove Digitalis purpurea
Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata
Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys
Greater Stitchwort Stellaria holostea
Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna
Heath Bedstraw Galium saxatile
Hemlock Water-dropwort Oenanthe crocata
Lady's-smock Cardamine pratensis
Lesser Yellow-trefoil Trifolium dubium
Marsh Cinquefoil Comarum palustris
Marsh Thistle Cirsium palustre
Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris
Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis
Monkeyflower Mimulus guttatus
Northern Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza purpurella
Pignut Conopodium majus
Ragged-robin Silene flos-cuculi
Red Clover Trifolium pratense
Red Rattle Pedicularis palustris
Rhododendron Rhododendron ponticum
Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata
Silverweed Potentilla anserina
Tormentil Potentilla erecta
Tufted Forget-me-not Myosotis laxa
White Clover Trifolium repens
Yellow Flag Iris pseudacorus