Loch Fleet

[Loch Fleet's lower estuary from The Mound]

Loch Fleet is a coastal wildlife reserve based around the estuary of the River Fleet between Dornoch and Golspie. The estuary was cut in two by the construction of a long road causeway, known as The Mound, across the tidal wetland by Thomas Telford in the early 19th century. Telford installed an ingenious set of sluice gates where the River Fleet passed underneath The Mound, which let freshwater out of the upstream part of the estuary at low tide, but automatically prevent seawater from flowing in the other direction at high tide. Over the last two hundred years, the upper estuary has been transformed into an important freshwater habitat and alder woodland, in contrast to the saline lower estuary. There are good views of both parts from near the car park on The Mound, with curious seals when we visited. The narrow southern shore road is an excellent place to spot wading birds, overlooked by Skelbo Castle - a ruined keep dating from the 14th century.

[Sluice gates on the River Fleet at The Mound]

Name: Loch Fleet NNR ☆☆☆
Description: Tidal basin (downstream) and wetland / alder woodland (upstream), either side of The Mound causeway, rich in birdlife and wildlife.
Location (The Mound): A9 3 miles south-west of Golspie, G.R.: NH 775982 / occur grinning complains

Name: Skelbo Castle ☆☆☆
Description: 14th century ruin on the hillside just above the mouth of Loch Fleet.
Location: G.R.: NH 792952 / dressings potato central
Open: Always
Cost: Free

[Skelbo Castle (August 2013)]

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