Below par behavior at Midlothian reservoir

Eagle-eyed visitors to a popular reservoir collected 250 golf balls from the site – prompting Scottish Water to highlight the dangers they pose to the environment.

By Kevin Quinn
Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 6:00 am
The haul of discarded golf balls found at Gladhouse Reservoir.
The haul of discarded golf balls found at Gladhouse Reservoir.

A family visiting Gladhouse Reservoir recently spotted the balls at the bottom of the picturesque reservoir – which is used to supply drinking water to Edinburgh and beyond.

They knew they were bad for aquatic life and started picking them up and were stunned to end up with 250 of them.

They got in touch with Scottish Water, which owns the site, to tell them how they spent several hours collecting the balls while canoeing at the site.

Bags of litter picked up at Gladhouse Reservoir by locals

Dougie Scott, senior reservoir engineer at Scottish Water, said: “We find all sorts of things in our reservoirs – but we have never seen such a single haul of golf balls.

“There isn’t a gold course nearby so someone must have mistaken Gladhouse for a driving range. Not only is that dangerous in terms of hitting someone but, and many people don’t know this, these balls can be very harmful to the environment.

“They are very unlikely to be picked up and degrade and fragment in the water and can leach chemicals and microplastics into the water. This can be harmful, in fact fatal, to fish and other sealife in the water.

“We are really grateful to this eagle-eyed family for swinging into action to collect these balls while they were out enjoying time at Gladhouse. We have sent them some water bottles to help them stay hydrated when they are out and about as a thank you.

“We are delighted when people visits our reservoirs and act responsibly but they are not the place for budding Tiger Woods or Robert MacIntyres to practice their putting and using them as driving ranges is below par – please tee off somewhere else.”

In some countries, including parts of the USA, it is illegal to knowingly hit a ball into a river or watercourse and leave it there.

Scottish Water has also reminded visitors to Gladhouse to pick up their litter, not to light wildfires or wild camp in areas where there are restrictions.

Local residents recently organised a litter pick and collected over eight bin bags worth of rubbish that had been left at Gladhouse.

Scottish Water is also urging people to stay safe, act responsibly and not take risks around reservoirs which can be very cold and house hidden equipment.

Gladhouse, which is near Penicuik, is the most southerly reservoir in Midlothian, as well as being the largest area of freshwater in the Lothians.