Walk at Lochmaben, Dumfries & Galloway
A Walk that Packs a Punch
We discovered this walk from Lochmaben by pure accident - and what a happy accident. This walk has it all: a variety of ecosystems, local history, sculptures, excellent interpretation boards, easy navigation and good access - oh yes and willow tits.
This 4 mile flat circuit around Castle Loch really packs a punch.
Starting either from the loch side car park or the village and going anti-clockwise around the lake you first go through a deciduous woodland. There are plenty of benches and picnic tables as well as some stunning wood sculptures depicting local wildlife. The wood still had some singing blackcaps, chiffchaffs and willow warblers in July, so it must be full of bird song in spring.
Fishing piers give access to the lake and blue damselflies were very much in evidence, dancing over the water to mate and deposit their eggs on the reeds. This year seems to have been a slow one for pollinators, so it was good to see some butterflies in the glades - none were resting so it was difficult to make and ID, but I think probably meadow browns and ringlets.
The castle of the walk was a slightly disappointing ruin with much of it barricaded off for safety reasons. The information boards were particularly good here, giving information about the building of the castle by Edward the I and emphasised the links to the de Bruce family. As a border castle it changed hands many times over the centuries, read more of its history here.
A local tradition has it that Robert the Bruce was born at the family castle in Lochmaben. The famous king is certainly celebrated on this walk with a wooden sculpture of him a little further on from the castle. The sculpture had been taken over by bees (possibly solitary bees) burrowing into the wood, which reminded me of the Tate and Lyle syrup lion "out of the strong came forth sweetness."
After the castle the woodland gave way to boardwalks across a reed bed and a visit to the bird hide. With no binoculars and it being July (one of the worst month for birdwatching) there was little to see apart from a number of mute swans and a single reed bunting.
Moving on and across more reed beds with stunning yellow flag and floaty valerian making a rather attractive landscape. To the other side of the path was a more arable landscape adding to the variety. Back into the woods - this time more of a conifer plantation - and completion of the circuit.
I found this walk on the Walk Highland website where you can get the full directions for the walk.
Distance: 6.25 km (4 miles)
Terrain: Good paths accessible for wheelchairs and push chairs
- mute swans
- yellow flag