ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Walking in Grey Mares Tail Nature Reserve and Loch Skeen in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland

Updated on February 5, 2016

Loch Skeen

Loch Skeen in all it's beauty, the ice is currently covering the loch except a small rock filled area at the start.
Loch Skeen in all it's beauty, the ice is currently covering the loch except a small rock filled area at the start. | Source

Walking in Dumfries and Galloway

Three weeks ago, on a clear, bright morning we set off to Grey Mare's Tail in Dumfries and Galloway. The weather had been exceptionally cold for the time of year and the cessation of the snow was an open invitation to get out in the fresh air and do some walking.

The Grey Mare's Tail is approximately ten miles outside of the borders town of Moffat, and is set amongst the rolling Moffat hills.

Directions to Grey Mare's Tail

grey mare's tail, dumfries and galloway:
Grey Mare's Tail, Dumfries and Galloway, UK

get directions

The location of the National Trust's Nature reserve and the access to Loch Skeen

What you see Climbing up the Path to Loch Skeen

The view when ascending the rocky path at Grey Mare's Tail. The carpark is on the bottom left hand corner of the photograph.
The view when ascending the rocky path at Grey Mare's Tail. The carpark is on the bottom left hand corner of the photograph. | Source

The Grey Mare's Tail Nature Reserve

The Grey Mare's Tail Nature Reserve is managed by the National Trust for Scotland . They are a conservation charity, who carry out invaluable work for our countryside. Being an independent charity, they rely on the participation and funding, provided by their supporters and members.

In the summer months, the National Trust has a trailer situated within the Grey Mare's Tail car park and a ranger is available to provide information on the area.

The day we visited, upon leaving the car park, we ascended onto the steep, rocky path heading up towards the falls. When walking up that pathway, if you look downwards you gain a perspective of how high you actually are. In the picture below you can see the car park in the bottom left hand side, seeing this had caused me to take a sharp intake of breath on the day, as I realised how high we had climbed.

The path is uneven and narrow and careful attention is definitely needed. As we ascended to a certain level on the path, we were also lucky enough to witness a close up view of the falls. The steep, rocky path then continued upwards towards Loch Skeen.

Have You Visited Scotland?

Have you visited Scotland and it's countryside?

See results

The Tail Burn Largely Frozen


The Wildlife of Grey Mare's Tail

The area is very rich in both plant life and wildlife and is home to many rare upland plants. There are ongoing conservation projects within the nature reserve.

One success story of the conservation projects, which have been undertaken, is the introduction of Britain's rarest freshwater fish to the loch in 1997 and 1999. The vendace, which is thought to date back to the Ice Age, was facing extinction and it's future looked uncertain. It was transported from the Lake District to Loch Skeen in an attempt to grow it's numbers, it not only survived the introduction to it's new home but flourished. Thankfully now its prospects are improving.

The reserve is also home to many species of birds including nesting Peregrine Falcons. Whilst feral goats wander freely amongst the hills. Ascending to higher ground there is also the possibility of spotting some mountain hares.

The Waterfall near the Top of Grey Mares Tail

The stunning 60 metre waterfall of Grey Mare's Tail
The stunning 60 metre waterfall of Grey Mare's Tail | Source

The Tail Burn

The Grey Mare's Tail waterfall, the Tail Burn is an incredible spectacle. It is a hanging waterfall with a sixty metre drop, making it the fifth highest in the United Kingdom.

The thundering noise as you are climbing past the tumbling water is quite mesmerising and it reminds you of the incredible force and power of the water.

On the day we visited the waterfall, it had actually frozen on both sides due to the adverse temperatures. This had produced huge areas of solid, frozen water and spectacular icicles.

What you see at Loch Skeen


A Source of Creative Inspiration

With it's beautiful scenery and the awe inspiring power of the cascading water the falls are a true force of nature. In the past they have proven to be a huge lure for many great, creative minds looking for inspiration.

It was perhaps visited for that very reason by the artistic scholar Sir Walter Scott. Sir Walter was so encapsulated by the majesty of the area he dedicated a section of his famous poem Marmion to the waterfall and the beauty surrounding it.

The Sun Setting over the Moffat Hills

The late afternoon sun setting between the clouds over the snow topped Moffat hills.
The late afternoon sun setting between the clouds over the snow topped Moffat hills. | Source

Created by Successive Glacier Movements

Due to the deep snow in some areas on the upwards path, it took approximately ninety five minutes to reach Loch Skeen. The snow in some areas of the path was three feet deep, and coupled with the flowing downwards streams it made it quite arduous in parts and very slippy.

The loch which stood before us had been forged by successive glacier movements over thousands of years. The glaciers movements sculpted out the deep valley, in which the Tail Burn drops 200 feet downwards today. The sight which lay before us was awe inspiring.

On our first view of Loch Skeen, the long walk and deep snow were immediately forgotten.

Seeing the Ice at Loch Skeen

The large boulders could remain from the times of the last glaciers.
The large boulders could remain from the times of the last glaciers. | Source

Loch Skeen

Loch Skeen stands 500 metres above sea level and is a large loch of clear, blue unspoilt water. It is surrounded by towering hills, including White Coomb, which is the highest hill in Dumfriesshire and stands at 821 metres.

As we looked around that day, the snow lay thick on the loch shores and the surrounding hills. The loch itself had frozen over due to the freezing temperatures, with only a small area of ice cold water visible. Large boulders lay scattered in the water, which would probably have been lying there since the time of the last glaciers.

What you See at Loch Skeen in Winter

The loch stands remote and unspoilt.
The loch stands remote and unspoilt. | Source

A Place Neither Man nor Time had Changed

That day we had walked amongst the beautiful hills, with the sound of the tumbling water in our ears, and then we reached Loch Skeen.

As we stood on the snow covered ground, gazing at the frozen loch, with the boulders the glaciers had left. We could not help but feel, that we stood in a magical place. A place that fortunately, had not been changed by either man or by time.

How Would You Rate Loch Skeen as a Tourist Attraction?

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Loch Skeen

Loch Skeen - A Beautiful Frozen World


Getting to know Loch Skeen

view quiz statistics

What you See Looking down when Descending Grey Mare's Tail


© 2013 Anna Haven


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)