Reservoir Logs

I’ve started logging my walks with the MapMyWalk App with a goal of walking at least 25 miles a week on the run up to The West Highland Way Challenge for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Yesterday’s jaunt was to the Milngavie Water Treatment Works on the outskirts of Glasgow. (Trust me, it’s more appealing that it sounds.) I walked a total of 8.25 Km (5 miles in old money) – twice around the Mugdock Reservoir and once round Craigmaddie – which took me 1 hour 30mins. Unfortunately no calories were burned (I hadn’t set up the App properly) so no hearty pub lunch for me this time.


The footpaths around these reservoirs are popular with walkers, runners and doggie people (no, it’s not that kind of place). As I walked and took pics, I got to thinking about the history of the place and it’s quite fascinating. No, really, it is. Stay with me.

It dates back to the mid 1800’s when Glasgow was desperately in need of a good, clean, safe water supply as disease was rife. The city fathers instigated a search for the best source and found that Loch Katrine was capable of supplying the 50 million gallons of water that was needed every day and, being upland water, it was very clean. The only problem was how to get the water from the loch to Glasgow, 35 miles away.

The answer was something that is in infinite supply and doesn’t cost a penny – gravity. In the 1850’s three thousand workmen built a pipe 26 miles from Loch Katrine to Milngavie, where they built two reservoirs. In order for the water to travel they had make sure that the pipe dropped ten inches for every mile of its length.


As part of the Loch Katrine Water Project, the reservoirs were opened in 1859 by Queen Victoria. More recently, the project was upgraded at the beginning of the millenium and reopened in 2007, serving 700,00 customers in Greater Glasgow.

Sources: Scottish Water

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