I recently brought lots of water creatures to Killeshandra Family Fun Day . We had great fun looking at water spiders, water boatmen, dragonfly larvae and water scorpions.
Look at the water spiders air bubble !
The spider has to come to the surface to collect the air
So where do the creatures come from ??
Of course the answer is sheugh water , or many lake edges
“Of coorse their’s ither thaveless bein’s,
saft, hairmless, feckless doits – the lea’ins.
They’re happy hokin’ in a sheugh
or dungin’ byres, or somethin’ rugh”
From the “The hiring fair” by John Clifford.
I happy hoking in a sheugh (a sheugh , pronounced “shuck” is a drain.)
This may not be every bodies idea of happiness, indeed the poem above calls those that hoke in sheughs, soft, harmless, useless, idiots (I know the language of the poem is a bit peculiar , its in Ulster Scots,).
Now the days of hard labour cleaning out sheughs are long gone, we can hoke on sheughs at our leisure!
The young (and the young at heart) find this quite absorbing, Why?
Sheughs are full of life !
It’s a bit like a lucky dip when you put the net in water,you’re not quite sure what you will get, but unless the water is very polluted you are bound to get something.
So its great fun , interesting, but it is also very important.
Since the 1950s we have been altering our streams, sheughs, rivers and lakes with nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorous to make the grass grow. , This in turn has altered the plants , creepy crawlies , fishes and bigger animals such as newts and birds that live in water.
So have a hoke in sheugh water
There is a lot of life depending on it.