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The Grey Mare's Tail

This is a spectacular waterfall near Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway. A small loch, Loch Skeen, which is one of the highest in Scotland, drains via a small burn (stream) into the valley below. It does so via a 200 foot (60 metre) drop, hence the waterfall.

This is the result of glaciation about 15,000 years during the last Ice Age. The valley below Lock Skeen was occupied by a glacier that excavated a typical U-shaped valley that was somewhat deeper than would have been achieved by a normal river, and with much steeper sides. When the glacier melted and normal drainage patterns resumed, tributary valleys, such as that draining Loch Skeen, would have been left “hanging”, with their streams plunging down the steep sides of the glaciated valley.

The waterfall is best seen when there is plenty of water coming down from the loch, and this is normally in late winter or early spring.

The Grey Mare’s Tail was described by Sir Walter Scott as “white as the snowy charger’s tail”.

The area around the waterfall is renowned for its rare upland plants, this being one of best places to find them in southern Scotland.

(Before anyone asks, I did not not take this photo, but it is from a copyright-free source)

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