07 February 2023
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New Ranger Service at Scottish Water Reservoirs07 February 2023
New team of reservoir rangers
Helping visitors enjoy the great outdoors at some of the country’s most popular locations.
A new team of reservoir rangers has been formed by Scottish Water to help visitors enjoy the great outdoors at some of the country’s most popular locations.
“It’s hoped that, by being able to engage with visitors, we can enable people to get the most out of their experience at the reservoirs and emphasise the key aspects of water safety and responsible behaviour while also promoting positive messages about what Scottish Water does.”Davy Gray
Rangers' Team Manager, Scottish Water
In a first for the utility, the rangers will patrol the paths and shorelines of four major reservoirs which provide water to hundreds of thousands of people – and whose paths, woodland and shorelines attract tens of thousands of day-trippers.
The five-strong team will help the public enjoy the reservoir environments, protect the natural habitat and promote safety at reservoirs.
The rangers will be based at the two reservoirs at Milngavie near Glasgow, and one each at Gladhouse in Midlothian and Carron Valley in Stirlingshire, which are among the most popular Scottish Water locations for recreational purposes. Visitor numbers have increased at many of the 300 Scottish Water reservoirs across the country.
While the majority of visitors enjoy their visits responsibly, challenges have emerged over the past two years around anti-social behaviour. The rangers will be on hand to respond to any issues which emerge and seek to encourage responsible behaviour.
The team, whose job will include providing a welcoming presence and point of contact at the reservoirs, patrolling key routes and offering guidance and assistance to visitors, are: Cheuk-Chi Yau (known as Chi), Ryan Kincaid and Jane McArdle at Milngavie; Elspeth Smith at Gladhouse; and Paul Coleman at Carron Valley.
In a partnership approach, they will be employed by host agencies who are working with Scottish Water on the pilot: East Dunbartonshire Council at Mugdock Country Park near Milngavie reservoirs; Midlothian Council at Gladhouse reservoir; and Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) at Carron Valley reservoir.
The agencies, which have long-established ranger services on their own land, will employ the rangers but the team will be deployed directly by Scottish Water and the utility hopes to reap the benefits of working in partnership with them.
The rangers will wear jointly-branded clothing to help identify them and connect with visitors. It is expected a key activity will focus on creating a presence at weekends and other peak visiting times.
The service, which will be full-time and seasonal until October 2023, is part of a wider Scottish Water pilot programme called Enabling Responsible Access which seeks to connect communities to their local environment and support tourism by improving access to reservoirs and other assets for leisure purposes.
The pilot follows a growing awareness among the public of their rights, and responsibilities, in terms of access to such locations and a significant increase in the number of visitors to our sites and issues such as anti-social behaviour at reservoirs during the Covid lockdown and beyond.
Davy Gray, Scottish Water’s rangers’ team manager, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be starting this pilot of a new ranger service at the three reservoirs with our partner agencies.
“Feedback from visitor management peers suggests that a ranger presence makes a difference and helps support responsible access so we’re keen to trial rangers at these reservoirs to understand what difference they can make at Scottish Water sites.
“It’s hoped that, by being able to engage with visitors, we can enable people to get the most out of their experience at the reservoirs and emphasise the key aspects of water safety and responsible behaviour while also promoting positive messages about what Scottish Water does.
“Our partner agencies at East Dunbartonshire, Midlothian Council, and Forestry Land Scotland have well established ranger services and we will learn from these during the pilot.”
The rangers’ work will also include general upkeep of the areas, co-ordinating volunteering work including litter picking, and working with groups in the local community.
When the pilot is complete, Scottish Water will evaluate the findings and this will help inform decisions about what visitor experience offering we may provide in the future at these and other busy reservoirs.