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McNabb Laurie: Climate Ready Ken

Adapting to the impact of climate change

McNabb Laurie is Galloway Glens Team Leader

In 2020, Loch Ken in Dumfries & Galloway was chosen as one of two ‘localities’ to receive support from Adaptation Scotland, aiming to provide more resilient communities in the face of climate change. This led to the innovative ‘Climate Ready Ken’ project which is currently underway in partnership with the Loch Ken Trust.

Loch Ken is approximately 10 miles long, running through the Glenkens to the outskirts of Castle Douglas in Dumfries & Galloway. It is the largest body of water in southern Scotland and forms a vital part of the Galloway Hydro Scheme. This was constructed in the 1930’s, adopting an innovative ‘all-river’ approach to hydro-electric generation, with each drop of rainfall generating electricity up to five times as it travels down the valley. 

Loch Ken Trust is a registered Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). It was established in 2020 and aims to protect and care for the Loch, with its enviable location within the Galloway Glens Scheme area, the broader Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere and the Galloway Dark Sky Park.

The Loch Ken area has, like everywhere in Scotland, evidenced a changing climate in recent years, resulting in a number of challenges – particularly with flooding (including a particularly bad Storm Frank flood event in December 2015) and recent wildfires in the adjoining Galloway Forest Park.

On a regional level, Dumfries & Galloway has one of the most ambitious regional carbon reduction targets, aiming to be a Net Zero Carbon region by 2025. This target is supported by a 12-point plan, with dedicated resource and a lead officer. With the region-wide focus on this reduction of carbon emissions at a regional level, the Climate Ready Ken project has provided the opportunity to consider the separate point of ‘Adaptation’ within the local community. Irrespective of the success on a regional or global level at reduction of carbon emissions, our communities are going to have to ‘adapt’ to the impact of climate change. Continuing as we did before is not an option.

The Climate Ready Ken project is underway, with work taking place on many levels. Drawing upon experience elsewhere, Adaptation Scotland have provided valuable input on cutting edge engagement and consultation techniques, with work getting underway despite ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. The Loch Ken Trust, supported by the wider Galloway Glens Scheme, has been able to undertake consultation work with key stakeholders around Loch ken – from the National Farmers’ Union to the Council’s roads department. This is working to compile information on how climate change is impacting the Loch Ken community and what actions could be taken to make it more resilient in the face of climate change. August 2021 saw the first in-person engagement event, with attendance at the Castle Douglas Bike & Food Festival.

The project runs until March 2022 and has a number of aims. On the broadest level, the project is giving a focus to the topic of ‘Adaptation’, and the need for communities to adapt to the impact of climate change. It has already achieved much towards this aim.  

On a local level, the project aims to establish a toolkit of adaptation actions that will make the community around Loch Ken more resilient in the face of our changing climate. The project team are ambitious and consider success of the project not only being the identification of actions, but when these are actually implemented by the local community in years to come.

Our climate is changing. The Climate Ready Ken project aims to establish an exemplar approach for how a discrete locality can come together around that point and adapt to become a more resilient community.

A special online event (24 November 2021)

As part of the project a special free online event is being held on 24 November looking at how communities can adapt to become more climate resilient. You can register to attend here.

For more information on the Climate Ready Ken project and the work of the Loch Ken Trust, visit

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