Galrigs Loch

by Roger Griffith
  • The site of the loch with Dundonald in the background
  • The old lane from Lochside Farm to Newfield Mains
  • The site of Lochside Farm
  • The eastern shoreline of the old loch
Galrigs Loch was a significant freshwater loch situated in the low lying ground between Gulliland, Newfield, Lochside, and Dundonald.

The loch was a natural feature, a post-glacial 'Kettle Hole', once of a substantial extent, and fed mainly by the Broomhill Burn, rainfall, and field drainage. It is recorded in the placenames of Lochend, Lochside, Mosside and possibly Boghead. The Broomhill Burn has been diverted away from the site which however remains dominated by rushes (''Juncus'' species) and constitutes poor quality grazing. The loch site still floods in winter. No open outflow is now present, although one apparently ran down to the Dundonald Burn in the past. The lands, variously known as 'Gariggis', 'Galriggis' and even 'Garrix', were held by a William Wallace in 1578, later by the Craufurds, and in the 1860s by the Finnie's who were in the coal industry.

No watermills seem to have been associated with Galrigs Loch and the Ordnance Survey maps of the mid 19th century only show the farm of Lochend or Lochside sitting above the old loch's site, approached by a lane, hedged on both sides, leading down from Newfield Mains. It may have been used for curling, however Newfield House had its own curling pond, opened on 4th February 1856, the site of Eglinton Jug playdowns. At the foot of the brae below where the now demolished Newfield House was situated, are remains of a stone dam and sluice.

Blaeu's map of 1654, dating from Timothy Pont's survey of circa 1604, shows the loch as a significant body of water, extending towards Galrigs (Newfield), with no inflow and one outflow running down to the Dundonald Burn and eventually into the River Irvine near Shewalton. The farm on the loch's edge is recorded as Mosside. This is the last map to show the loch and this indicates that its drainage took place in the early 18th century. Roy's map of 1747 shows no clear loch, however a habitation recorded as 'Lochend' is present. The OS maps record the farm's name as 'Lochside'.

The Lands and mansion house of Galrigs were renamed 'Newfield' by Captain Nugent who had apparently fought at the Battle of Nieufeldt (Newfield) in Germany, however Galrigside Farm retained its ancient name.
No link between the draining of the loch and the 'New Field' seems to exist. Lochside Farm is now only marked by its foundations although OS maps show it as still standing into the 1980s.

Roger Griffith says

Does anyone have any more information about the old loch?

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