Leadhills Estate recently welcomed the Clyde River Foundation and S1 pupils from Biggar High School to the Glengonnar Water near Leadhills as part of a river project which also included the Mouse Water. Both rivers have been historically altered by human activity and therefore make for interesting study sites; the Mouse Water has been artificially straightened and the Glengonnar Water has been influenced by mining.
Pupils investigated the characteristics of each river, from fish populations and invertebrate communities to flow velocity. At the Glengonnar, pupils were able to see the impact of lead mining first-hand in the ‘black-tailed’ brown trout – a morphology linked to lead that is unique to this part of the River Clyde catchment (see picture). The field excursions were developed with the Science and Geography departments of Biggar High School as a follow-up to a project called Trout at Transition to provide a hands-on outdoor learning experience.