Image above: Flow Country – near to Cnoc Squabach Cadha / © Copyright John Ashby/ Geograph

The loss of peat to erosion can occur in many ways and can be rapid.

Wet peat on slopes may become saturated with water and start to flow downslope. This can occur catastrophically as bog bursts and more gently by deformation. Crampton and Carruthers (1914) record the slow flow of peat down the flanks of Beinn nan Bad Mòr. The dubh lochans may also relate to deformation of the peat and the formation of depressions. Planar contacts between the peat and the underlying rock or drift or within the peat itself mat allow slippage and sliding to occur, with the development of slickensides on the slide plane.

Dry peat above the water table may carry a complex subterranean drainage system comprising pipes, sinks and resurgences. These tunnels may collapse and trap the unwary walker, especially after a light snowfall. The channels may be enlarged suddenly after storms and the sides of the channel may collapse. Removal of vegetation allows the development of peat hags, where rain wash, frost and wind drying fragment the peat and allow its rapid removal.

The summit of Beinn nam Bad Mor

Showing, from left to right, part of the Dounreay Nuclear Power site, the wind farm west of Thurso, and the island of Hoy (Orkney Islands).

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!