Below Par Behaviour at Popular Reservoir

10 August 2021
Golf Balls at Gladhouse reservoir

250 Golf balls - which can be harmful to aquatic life - were taken out of the reservoir

Rubbish Bags from litter pick

8 sacks of rubbish left by visitors was collected by volunteers

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.

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 to collect the balls while canoeing at the site.

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 golf 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 wildlife 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.
Gladhouse, which is near Penicuik, is the most southerly reservoir in Midlothian, as well as being the largest area of freshwater in the Lothians.
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 8 bin bags worth of rubbish that had been left. It is also urging people to stay safe, act responsibly and not take risks around reservoirs which can be very cold and house hidden equipment.