Midlothian reservoir dogged by messy visitors
The issue escalated last month, with more and more messy visitors turning up despite tight lockdown restrictions still being in place to help fight Covid-19.
As well as general litter left at the Midlothian beauty spot, locals encountered discarded tents and campfires and also used nappies. Large groups of people – families during the day and younger people at night – have descended on Gladhouse Reservoir in the past month, particularly when the weather was hot and sunny.
Reservoir owner Scottish Water condemned the littering and it has put up signs urging visitors to take their litter home with them.
One local resident Jasmin Paris told the Advertiser: “My two-year-old daughter and I picked up four bin bags worth from the shoreline in front of our house in a week.
“People make camp fires then just throw their bottles on the fires. The bottles end up in the water so anyone that goes into the water could cut their feet.
“People have been defecating, there are babies’ nappies and baby wipes all over.
“It’s disgusting. I don’t have a problem sharing the reservoir with people, but not the way they’re behaving at the moment.
“It’s the worst it has ever been. It’s horrendous as you would think at this time people might have had time to think about their environment. It’s maybe that they normally go to pubs to have their fun, where they are cleaned-up after.
“Trees have been chopped down. If everyone continues to do that there wont be any trees left at the reservoir.
“My husband said we should leave it so they are shamed when they come back But I can’t live in an area like this. I have my daughter to think about.”
As to the sudden recent rise in visitors despite lockdown restrictions, Jasmin added: “Maybe people see photos on social media and want to come up here.”
She added: “There isn’t anyone really policing it.
“We know there is going to be people here but it’s not fair to have the few locals here clean it up. It just doesn’t work like that. I can’t collect more rubbish as our rubbish bins are full. The binmen wont take more than one bin so we don’t have anywhere to put our own household rubbish at the moment. “I feel like there were more police here at the start of lockdown. But since people have been allowed to meet outside, the police kind of lost their ability to challenge people. So I feel there is not as much police around now.
“It would help to have someone here local, a warden, to police it to some extent. To be an official figure here.
“That would deter people from dumping rubbish.
“Other reservoirs that have had problems with visitors’ behaviour have had someone on-site and it’s really helped.
“Scottish Water has been putting up more litter signs and re-fenced a section of the waterway, which helped.”
Ross Watt runs one of the fishing syndicates at Gladhouse. He said: “I have fished it for 40 plus years. It still has wild brown trout in it.
“But it is now overrun by poachers and campers so the wildlife is getting chased away, including the ospreys we have had for years.
“Human waste and nappies are left on the shore even though this is a public water supply. It’s a disgrace.”
A Scottish Water spokeswoman said: “Gladhouse Reservoir has become an increasingly popular destination in recent months due to the Covid-19 lockdown. We are aware of increasing antisocial behaviour in parts of the area including drivers parking cars inconsiderately and also a large increase in littering which is impacting this beautiful part of Midlothian.
“We want to work with the community and visitors to ensure they continue to enjoy this site whilst respecting the environment, wildlife and other people including people who live near the reservoir.
“We recently put up anti-littering signs, in partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful, at some of the most popular areas of the site to urge people ‘give their litter a lift’ home when they visit.”