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UK Upland Waters Monitoring Network

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picture of Loch Coire Fionnaraich (c) Ewan Shilland

Loch Coire Fionnaraich

Situated in north-west Scotland Loch Coire Fionnaraich was added to the Network in 2001 as a replacement site for the nearby and recently dammed Loch Coire nan Arr.

Catchment Characteristics

Loch Coire Fionnaraich has a catchment of 550 ha, with a range of elevation from 236 m at the outflow to 933 m at the summit of Maol Chean-dearg. Whilst a band of Cambrian basal quartzite and "Pipe Rock" crosses beneath the northern side of the loch, the catchment geology is mostly made up of Torridonian sandstones from the Applecross and Aultbea groups. Catchment soils consist of peats and peaty podsols alongside extensive areas of exposed rock. Vegetation is dominated by Molinia and Calluna and the catchment is treeless. The surrounding moorland is managed for red deer and low numbers of feral goats are also present. A popular hiking path passes along the western shore of the loch. There are a number of very small lochans and pools on the catchment's northern boundary and one more in the north-west.

The annual rainfall is c. 3300 mm.

Site Characteristics

Loch Coire Fionnaraich lies at 236 m, set back somewhat from the headwall of a south-east facing coire. The loch covers an area of 9.3 hectares and is fed by five minor streams, including the Allt Ban Tigh Mhit an Toisich and one large one, the Allt Bealach Ban (after it's confluence with the Allt Creag na h-lolaire). Dammed by moraine, the loch drains five and a half kilometres, almost due south, into the River Carron via the Fionn-abhainn outflow stream. The bathymetry demonstrates twin basins, the larger and deeper of which reaches a depth of 14m.

Data Distribution and Associated Networks

The loch has replaced Loch Coire nan Arr as one of the six UK sites represented in the UNECE International Co-operative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Acidification of Rivers and Lakes (UNECE - ICP Waters).

Page last modified: 21st March, 2016