Friday, June 04, 2010

Rainshaw Lake

This week's walk took me again into the forest plantations west of Eskdalemuir (above). It's a fascinating area. I love the names on the OS map of the area. Names like Drowningdub Knowes, Black's Bog, Monkenshaw Doors, The Yoke, Kitty's Knowe.

The burns have interesting names too. There's the Poldanna Burn, the White Hole Burn, the Big Strushel Burn (and the Little one too), and the Upper Grain. Then there are various 'sikes'.

But the name that jumped out at me was Rainshaw Lake. It seemed to be a burn, which according to the map becomes the White Hole Burn, which itself is a tributary of the Black Esk.

My walk took me past 'Rainshaw Lake'. That's the headwaters above! It really is just a little burn. So the Lake of Menteith is not the only natural 'lake' in Scotland. No curling on Rainshaw Lake though. I wonder why a burn would be called a lake? Any suggestions?

I assumed at first that the name was just a mistake that had found its way on to modern maps. The National Library of Scotland has the first edition of the OS 6 inch to the mile map of Scotland online (see here). This map dates from the mid nineteenth century, and clearly shows the burn with the unusual name.

I like lichens, although I know very little about them. It was more than forty-five years ago that I met these organisms for the first time in my botany course at Glasgow University. There's lots of information about lichens here. I think this is may be Cladonia cristatella, sometimes referred to as 'British Soldiers' because of the red tips. I really wish I had a macro lens as it was really spectacular. Here the lichen is growing on the mat of a fire broom which has probably never been touched since it was left in place here when the forest was planted fifty years ago.

Pics © Skip Cottage

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