The Stake Moss Trail

The Stake Moss Trail

The trail is enjoyed in any direction whether accessed via the Mountain Lodge Estate or the B797 road. The Stake Moss trail is an easy walk that takes you past the Stake Moss reservoir.

The Stake Moss reservoir, like many old reservoirs, dams and watercourses, was to supply water to the village.
Stake Moss reservoir, though small in size, is today the only local dam still holding water.

The position of this dam enabled a lade system that proceeds to the south entrance of the Mennock Hass tunnel. Water from the reservoir was likely used to supply water to the tunnel.

The Mennock Hass tunnel carried water through the hill to provide a water supply for mining and ore processing. 'Hass' is a Scottish word for throat.

This walk gives many beautiful views down the B797 to the Mennock Pass.

The Mennock Pass is a stunningly scenic stretch of road, running from Wanlockhead, Scotland's highest village, to the hamlet of Mennock, just south of Sanquhar.

A folklore tale from Wanlockhead

The Cannibal Sheep of Wanlockhead

In the 19th Century, a small dam on Stake Moss, known as the Mossy Burn Dam, was used to supply the Village with its water supply.

One summer, villagers were worried about the quality of the water because of the unusual taste, colour and smell. 

A decision to drain the Dam was agreed upon to try and find the cause.

There was nobody prepared for what they would find at the bottom of the Dam. 

The floor, littered with bones, mostly from lambs and sheep, shocked the villagers, although animals had been disappearing.

As the last of the water drained, the villagers got a big surprise to find a huge, ugly-looking sheep-like creature that was still alive, had gills on both sides of its neck and evolved to underwater living.

Nobody had ever heard of or seen anything like it, and it was cautiously captured and tied up. It was agreed, by the majority, to send the creature to the University of Edinburgh to find out if they could help and identify the animal.

The journey by horse and cart to Edinburgh took several days and sadly the strange beast died on the long journey.

When the scientists received the strange-looking beast, filled with curiosity, they had it dissected, studied and then stored away in a preservative.

The results and what became of it have not been recorded, and although enquiries have been made, nobody has been able to find the preserved remains.

Somewhere in the deep and dark recesses of the University is what remains of that extraordinary beast.