My first stop on my journey into southeast Scotland took me to one of Scotland's lesser known geographical phenomenon. A short drive northwest from Moffat and about two miles east of the busy A74 four great hills meet and their steep slopes plunge downwards into a 500ft deep pit known as The Devil's Beef Tub. Thought to be named after the pillaging 'Border Reivers' (The Devils) who hid stolen cattle in the pit, the Devil's Beef Tub is steeped in the history of the Scottish/English borders and has captured the fascination of many over the years including Sir Walter Scott.
I was curious to record the acoustical effects of a geographical feature like this and spent the morning recording inside and outside the pit. After climbing along the ridge of Annanhead Hill to the north I was disheartened by the sound of regular traffic passing along the southern rim of the pit, filling the upper air with the swishing of cars and the rumbling of logging trucks. I sat counting the traffic as I took a recording and readings before carefully zig-zagging my way down the steep slopes into the depths below.
When I finally reached the foot of Annanhead Hill I noticed that little could be heard of the traffic above and what sound did reach the bottom was weakened as it was digested by the surrounding slopes. I was excited to find that as I descended even further the sound of traffic almost entirely vanished and the pit demonstrated itself as an impressive, if not entirely perfect, sound absorber. By consuming the noise above in this way The Devil's Beef Tub is an excellent example of how the the Scottish landscape can provide resilience to the effects of noise pollution.