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Draining and Flooding
Land drainage
Soil drainage
Wells and dams
main image Drainage channel, Spynie, Moray
The drainage of Loch Spynie was an epic endeavor spanning five centuries. In the 15th century, the proprietors, the Bishops of Elgin, had the bed of the River Lossie lowered in order to drain it. This lowered the waters but later neglect allowed them to rise again.

In 1609, Bishop Douglas had further works carried out, to exclude the River Lossie and run drains to the loch. Eventually, in 1779, James and Alexander Brander of Pitgaveny managed to reclaim over 1,000 acres by partly draining the loch, only to be stopped by a neighbouring proprietor who claimed the loch was his. Once stopped, the waters rose again.

Between 1808 and 1812, a canal was formed between the loch and the sea at a cost of £12,740. The plan, including sluices to keep out the tide, was devised by Thomas Telford.

In 1829, floods destroyed the works and the waters rose again. It was not until 1860, that the channel was restored, deepened and new sluices installed, at a cost of £8,000. Only a small portion of the loch was retained, for 'sporting purposes'. The part-drained loch is now designated a Special Protection Area for wildlife.

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