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Boats at Beecraigs

Boats at Beecraigs  - Copyright Dougie Milne Photography 2018

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Dingies chained to the jetty at Beecraigs Loch, in Beecraigs Country Park, high in the Bathgate Hills above Linlithgow, West Lothian.

The boats may be hired out for fishing on the loch, which is regularly stocked with Rainbow Trout.

The loch is an 8 hectare man-made reservoir. Construction on the project, to supply water to Linlithgow, began in 1914, at the beginning of the First World War. One hundred and fifty captured German troops were enlisted to dam the Riccarton Burn. The law was that prisoners of war, other than officers and senior NCOs, could be put to any work that did not facilitate the war effort.

The dam wall was constructed using clay and stone quarried from nearby Riccarton Hill, and brought down to the site using a winch-powered railway. The prisoners were housed in a camp at Broomieknowes. Plans were submitted to expand the work force to two hundred and fifty prisoners, but the Germans were generally unwilling to work and their labour was withdrawn. The dam was completed by a team of navvies based in a camp at Riccarton Mill.

Construction was completed after four years, and in 1918, the 373 million litre (82 million gallons) reservoir began a 55 year life as a local water supply. Fishing at the reservoir began in 1922, with anglers fishing the native brown trout which inhabit the Riccarton Burn. Fishing continues today under permit, and the loch in regularly restocked to cater for demand.

The reservoir was decommissioned in 1972. It was taken over by West Lothian District Council in 1975.

This picture was taken on 29 August 2018.