Loch of Strathbeg

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Loch Strathbeg
Lochofstrathbeg2.jpg
Looking south-east across the loch
Location Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Coordinates 57°37′11″N 1°52′37″W / 57.619806°N 1.876943°W / 57.619806; -1.876943Coordinates: 57°37′11″N 1°52′37″W / 57.619806°N 1.876943°W / 57.619806; -1.876943
Lake type loch
Basin countries

United Kingdom

Designated: 27 November 1995
View across the loch
The RSPB Starnafin visitors centre for the loch

The Loch of Strathbeg (also known as Loch Strathbeg; historically "Strathbeg Water"; "Water of Strathbeg"; "Rattray Water" or "Water of Rattray") is a designated Special Protection Area for wildlife conservation purposes. It is located near to Rattray and Crimond in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

The loch is maintained by the RSPB and around the loch there are three hides from which visitors may watch the birds and other wildlife. Access to the loch is through Crimond airfield where there is a car park at the edge of the reserve. There is also the 'Starnafin Centre' from which visitors may also watch the birds from and find out more information about which birds and animals are present locally.

The RSPB records over 260 species of bird, 280 species of insect and 26 species of mammal at the reserve.[1]

Formation[edit]

The loch is a very recent creation of geological times, forming naturally in a massive storm in 1720. The lagoon, where the loch is now, its small harbour Starny Keppie and the village of Rattray, were cut off from the sea and engulfed by shifting sands.[2][3]

A historical account says that the storm blocked "the outlet of the stream called the burn of Strathbeg into the sea"[4] after which it flowed directly into the loch.

There is another stream, the "Burn o’ Rattra"[2][3] flowing into the loch. Ordnance Survey mapping of the Loch shows four streams ("burns" in Scots) and one exit point into the north sea.

1854 study[edit]

In 1854 the loch was estimated at "550 Scotch acres"[4] (2.9 km² ) of which "more than three-fourths"[4] were to be found in the Parish of Crimond and to have an "average depth is about 3½ feet" (approx. 1.1 metres) "its greatest depth does not exceed 6½ feet" (approx. 2 metres).[4] This does not necessarily correspond with conditions today, as the same source also notes that the nearby beach head was at the time saturated and "oozing water" indeed it says that the loch had dropped at least 4 feet (1.2 m) since 1817, only 37 years earlier.

Maps[edit]

Historical maps of the area are available online that show the transition of Strathbeg Bay into Loch Strathbeg (links are provided rather than the image for copyright reasons):

Date Description Link to map Map Collection Map title Scale
1636–1652 Shows the loch more like a lake than an estury zoomed in map; map description on nls.uk National Library of Scotland
1745 zoomed in image; page on nls.uk National Library of Scotland
1747 The estuary with no Loch yet forming
(NB. you will need to zoom in on this image)
from DavidRumsey.com David Rumsey Historical Map Collection Scotland or N. Britain; by Emanuel Bowen 1:500,000
1747-1745 Shows the Loch almost completely sealed off, which just a small channel leading into the sea from the south side from Scran.ac.uk the Scran database The Roy Map 1:36,000
1790 Shows the sand bar beginning to form from the north and the Loch's shaping is beginning to take place
(NB. you will need to zoom in on this image)
from DavidRumsey.com David Rumsey Historical Map Collection A new and correct map of Scotland or North Britain (Northern section); by Robert Campbell 1:447,000
1811 Showing the name "Loch Strathbeg" and the outline of the loch
(NB. you will need to zoom in on this image)
from DavidRumsey.com David Rumsey Historical Map Collection Composite: Scotland; by John Pinkerton 1:518,000
1861 Showing the Loch in the form that it is today but with a small area of water to the west coming from the south of the loch
(NB. you will need to zoom in on this image)
from DavidRumsey.com David Rumsey Historical Map Collection Composite: Scotland; by Alexander Keith Johnston (1804-1871) 1:633,600
1883 The Loch, in the approximate shape of today (as the previous map) but missing the small body of water to the south-west
(NB. you will need to zoom in on this image)
from DavidRumsey.com David Rumsey Historical Map Collection Scotland 2; by Letts, Son & Co. 1:760,320
1922 Shows the Loch in the 20th century, much as now, in relation to Crimond, Lonmay and Rattray
(NB. you will need to zoom in on this image)
from DavidRumsey.com David Rumsey Historical Map Collection Scotland - northern section; John Bartholomew & Co. 1:633,600
1931 The loch pre-WWII, the remains of the Castle of Rattray can be seen to the south and the remains of Lonmay Castle to the north-east. from NPEmap.org.uk NPEMap Ordnance Survey, Sheet 031P 1:63,360
Current map Link to the Ordnance Survey website with current map. from OrdnanceSurvey.co.uk Ordnance Survey Ordnance Survey "Get-a-map" 1:50,000

References[edit]

  1. ^ RSPB. "About the Loch of Strathbeg". Retrieved 2007-07-06. 
  2. ^ a b "Rattray Head Travel Guide". World 66. Retrieved 2007-07-06. 
  3. ^ a b Stanley Bruce (2005). The Bard O' Buchan Vol 1'. Bard Books. ISBN 0-9547960-2-0. 
  4. ^ a b c d Society for the Benefit of the Sons and Daughters of the Clergy (1854). The New Statistical Account of Scotland. W. Blackwood and Sons. 

External links[edit]