{nat’l poetry month: loch}

Highlands 2008 415

o, waly, waly*

depthless black water
hides peat, eels, some surmise caves –
Niseag plays Find Me

*There is an English tune which is also known as “The Water is Wide.” And, aye, this water is. Loch Ness is twenty-six miles long, over a mile and a half wide, and, depending who you ask, between seven and nine hundred feet deep. Concrete facts:

♦ Loch Ness is the largest body of fresh water in Britain.

♦ There is more water in Loch Ness than all the other lakes in England, Scotland and Wales put together.

♦ It holds 263 thousand million cubic feet of water which is around 16 million 430 thousand million gallons of water with a surface area of 14000 acres (this acreage could hold the population of the world 10 times over).

♦ It is fed by 7 major rivers the Oich, Tarff, Enrich, Coiltie, Moriston, Foyers and Farigaig plus numerous burns, with only one outlet the River Ness which flows 7 miles through Inverness into the Moray Firth 52 feet below the loch surface.

♦ It never freezes. Because of the great amount of water in the loch a thermocline lies at around 100 feet down in the loch.The top 100 feet of water alters temperature depending on the weather conditions but below the thermocline the temperature never alters from 44 degrees Fahrenheit. So as the surface water cools in winter and nears freezing point it sinks and is replaced by the warmer water from below. This can cause the loch to steam on very cold days, in fact it as been estimated that the heat given off by the loch in a winter is the equivalent to burning 2 million tons of coal.

♦ Niseag, is, of course “Nessie” in Scots Gaelic.

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