Sunday, 2 February 2014

The many faces of St Mary’s!

The many faces of St Mary’s!        
 Photo 01 - The only thing different from last week - the snow!                            

St Marys Loch was formed as part of a glacial event in the last ice age many thousands of years ago, it was formed as part of a glacier that occupied the whole of the Yarrow valley, the initial loch was one from well above the top of the Lowes to the bottom of St Marys. It is thought the loch in those early days would have been much longer well above what is now the top of the Lowes and the current bottom. Over thousands of years the burns feeding the loch transported gravel and silt into the loch and gradually the water body was replaced by dry land reducing the size of the loch

In respect of fish population in the 1700s the loch was known to contain Brown Trout and a population of benthic Arctic Charr or Red Belly’s. The Charr in the loch were quite unique in that they lived in the depths and had evolved very large eyes to gather as much light as possible in the depths. Unfortunately following recent investigations carried out by Professor Colin Adams (Glasgow University) and Dr Colin Bean (SNH) the extinction of the species is now confirmed.

Around the 1700s local landowners introduced Pike and Perch as sportfish adding to the lochs population. The introduction of these species would undoubtedly have had a detrimental effect on the resident Charr they being a preferred prey fish of Pike. Although the effect was detrimental it was not this event that lead to the extinction of the Arctic Charr. From social records it was established that locals would every October place blankets on the floor of the channel that joins the now two lochs where Arctic Charr would come every year to spawn. Fish caught would be salted and stored for the winter and it was this fishing activity that finally did for the Charr!

The area of the Tibbie Shiels Inn was also part of the loch that was gradually filled up by debris washed in from the burns feeding that area. The same thing is happening where the Megget water enters the loch. Either side of the Megget area the depths are 110ft and 135ft whilst the depth in front of the Megget is only 85ft.

The collection of wood and hawsers tethering floating barrels opposite the Megget is meant to represent this movement of detritus but in reality it only serves as an engine tangling boat wrecking hazard! The Kirkstead burn at the foot of the loch is also gradually shortening the length of the loch. In thousands of years in the future St Mary’s loch will again be divided in two making three lochs in total! The loch as we know it is gradually disappearing!

Photo 02 - huge swell yet again.
These gravel washings can be seen at the mouths of every burn on the loch, at Summerhope the loch is narrower due to this effect and at the village hall the effects from the washings from the Copper Cleuch can be seen as the shallow areas directly in front of its entrance. In years gone by the loch was markedly different, often in January the loch would assume a yellow colour due to the proliferation of certain organisms since this happened in winter when the loch was at its coolest it could not have been due to algal blooms rather the effects of raw sewage discharges! The loch in some earlier times was a large cesspit with all human waste from the area being fed into the loch, of course this has now ceased.

Populations of migratory fish at one time were almost absent as the outflow was not as it is now, sometimes there being no perceived outflow rather the seeping of water through a huge gravel bank restricting the movement of such fish. Only when the regulator was built did fish have a reasonable chance of moving in and out of the loch although it is far from being ideal. The new arrangements mentioned a few weeks ago should refine the structure to maintain the passage of any fish that wishes to enter or leave the loch.

Yes the loch is one with many faces, as the flora and fauna around the loch constantly changes so do the characteristics of the loch itself St Mary’s loch has shown many faces in the past, many more will be seen in the future!


Memberships are now overdue, if you have not yet renewed then you should do immediately! You should address you application to our membership secretary Mr Robert Simpson 105 Halliburton Place Galashiels TD1 2JG Please do not delay as a cut off will be applied and the new member rates will be applied to all who renew after this point.

The wider world in my view!

Reasons to be cheerful!

With eight months still to go in the independence referendum the last six opinion polls showed significant gains for the pro independence side! The latest one shows support for independence now forging ahead at 40%! What is interesting is the reasons given for the support for independence. The majority of course vote for independence because they want it, but increasing numbers are voting for independence in order to ditch the Con-Dems and their poor bashing policies such as the bed tax!

In England the Tories are in disarray in Scotland they are almost as insignificant as the lying Lib-Dems. Labour in England seem to be directionless and in Scotland seem only to excel at embarrassing the national movement thanks to the inept leadership of Ms Lamont. The Lib-Dems both in Scotland and England are completely irrelevant and a guaranteed wasted vote!

People are now realising that independence is the only way forward. If you goal is more equality, more industry and a fairer socially focussed government then voting for independence is the only way forward!



Poor old Lord Snooty!

Most unusually for me I felt a little for Lord Snooty as he was again publicically humiliated and pummelled into yet another U turn by his backbenchers on the referendum bill! The poor fool was forced to abandon his flagship bill lest he be exposed as a weak fool! The French president left Snooty with no doubt as to where he and his wish to restructure Europe stands! Lord Snooty is but a poor fool, a spineless ninny desperately trying to hold on to power and at the same time appease his UKIP style right wing backbench MPs!

The writing is on the wall for Snooty on so many fronts, more and more financial analysts are seeing just how fragile the “recovery” is, they see consumer spending and a housing bubble providing the most part of the “recovery”! Manufacturing is well down and it is only when this figure is significantly increased can they see a proper recovery built on a sound base! Lord Snooty and minister without a clue Gideon Osborn are hoping that the “recovery” built on a house of cards holds until the next election in 2015!

Lord Snooty is no longer the leader of the Tories; rather it is a band of extreme right wing Tory back benchers that now dictate policy, the Tory party are once again in crisis! Just like in the Major years the self destruct button has been pressed! With such a weak opposition that is presented by Labour the Tories should be miles ahead in the opinion polls yet the average rating is that they are ten points behind! This is a despicable administration that specialises in spin poverty making and outright lying, the people of Britain deserve better; it may be however that unlike the Scots they do not have a choice! After all what is Labour other than a bunch of Tories with some leanings towards fairness and equality! Yes for the English the future looks dire, the choice is the kind of incompetence we currently have or a new incompetence as prescribed by Labour! Let’s get away from this mess, choose independence for Scotland!

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