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LANARK LOCH. posted by Angela King.

LANARK  LOCH.  posted by Angela King.

Lanark Loch is a man made body of water, situated on the outskirts of the ancient market town of Lanark, in south Lanarkshire. The story of the Loch began in the 18th century,   around the year 1745, when the population of the town was increasing, and water shortages were threatening the wellbeing of the residents of the town.

Around 1745, three extra wells, the Tron, the Wellgate, and the Castlegate, or Stampie, were located, and added to the wells, which already supplied the town with water.  By about 1843, the population of the town had grown to four thousand people, and the supply of water from the wells became inadequate again. Now, only three and a half gallons of water per day, per person, was available, opposed to the twenty four gallons available daily, per person, in Glasgow.

At around this time, Springs discovered in a nearby area named the Muir, at Whitelees, on the outskirts of the town, proved to be an excellent source of clear and pure water.

The water depth in this marshy area had been  extended, in 1840, to form the Lanark Curling Pond. Now, Hugh Marr, a local architect, drew up plans for the conversion of the curling pond into a reservoir, and after the reservoir was successfully established, the loch became known as Marr’s Loch.

The population of Lanark continued to increase, annually, until by 1850, it had grown considerably, and in spite of the contribution of the new reservoir, the water supply to the town was again declared inadequate.  Also, there were physical problems in delivering the water to the town from the Loch; the supply pipes corroded too quickly, and water levels in the loch dropped seasonally.

In 1878, when water from the Loch was analysed for the first time, in a chemical laboratory in Edinburgh, the water was  found to contain unacceptable amounts of vegetable matter, leading to the water supply being immediately declared unsafe, unwholesome, and not fit for human consumption.

At that time, a reservoir was newly built at Lochlyoch, on the north-west slopes of Tinto, to supply water locally, and soon, water from this reservoir became the main source of water for the town of Lanark, providing the townsfolk with a permanent and adequate flow of fresh water.

By 1881, no longer used as a water reservoir, Lanark Loch and its surrounds were being developed as a public recreational facility. The local council approved a plan to upgrade the area,  repairing the ditches surrounding the Loch, and clearing away the dead trees and brush from the Loch side, to plant Scotch Fir and Spruce Fir trees, along with a large amount of trees of the hardwood variety,

Back in 1860, prior to the Loch being the source of water for the town, the curling club had obtained permission from the local council to build a small house, at the top of the Loch, in which to store the club’s curling stones. Curling on the loch continued until around 1952.

After 1898,  when angling was permitted on the Loch, and  perch and pike were in good supply, angling here became a very popular recreation. Also, at around this time, the Earl of Hume presented the town with a pair of mute swans, and to the present day, swans remain on the Loch.

BY now, boating on the Loch was popular with local people, and with visitors, and passengers queued for trips on the steamboat, which arrived on the Loch in 1905.

Photographs taken in 1913 show the three buildings situated at the top of the Loch. ‘The Lake Pavilion Tea Rooms’, ‘The Small Sweetie Kiosk’ and ‘The Loch Ballroom’. later renamed ‘The Palais’.

The many visitors to this popular area arrived on foot, and in horse drawn vehicles, including carriages, large and small.

Wedding and funeral parties were held at ‘The Tea Rooms’, with families travelling there from as far away as Glasgow.  There were picnics by the Loch side, and in The Pavilion, entertainment such as ‘Music Hall’ songs, music, choruses and sketches were part of the summer programmes. Also at The Pavilion, local bands played in ‘Grand Musical Programmes’.

Then, understandably, for the duration of the First World War and during the great depression of the 1930s, there was less activity on the Loch.  In the 1940’s, the boathouse and the sweetie kiosk were demolished, and a car park was built on the site, as ‘The Tea Rooms’ were extended to become ‘The Lanark Loch Hotel’, which still remains a popular local amenity, to this day.

Today, other amenities at the Loch include : small boats which are available for hire at the top of the Loch.  There is a well maintained 9 hole putting green, and a 9 hole pitch and putt course. Course fishing is available on the Loch, with permits issued on request.

There is disabled access throughout the area, and picnic benches are set out, all around the Loch side.  The well- maintained pathways surrounding the Loch are ideal for jogging on, and walking.

Close to the top of the Loch is a large, colourful, children’s play area, a refreshment kiosk, and public toilets.

Wildlife on the Loch includes; swans, several breeds of duck and other waterfowl, on occasions, a crane has been seen, in the long grass at the far end of the Loch.

Now, in 2017, The Loch, on its twenty- acre site, with ample parking space for cars, remains a popular recreational facility for local and visiting families.

Lanark Loch is situated to the left,  off  Hyndford Road, Lanark, ML11.

Angela King.





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