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Gartmorn Dam


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This is a low-level (very level!) short walk designed for a day perhaps when the hills are deep in mist. There is quite a bit of industrial history around, as well as waterfowl. When it was built it was the largest artificial body of water in the UK. To reach Gartmorn Dam, which is a Country Park and Nature Reserve run by Clackmannanshire Council, enter Alloa, take the A908 Sauchie Road and turn east off this along Gartmorn Road. This has the most excruciating series of speed bumps in the world but it's worth it.

There are several parking spots before and around the visitor centre, open April-September daily 8.30am to 8.30pm, October-March weekends only 1pm-4pm. Here there is a receptionist, toilets, displays, childrens corner etc. Fishing permits may be bought here (tel 01259 214319). Dogs are OK on a lead and kept out of the water. No alcohol is allowed in the park.

There is no navigation required; follow the path round the reservoir, with occasional bends and diversions if wished. The community woodland on the south has paths and picnic sites, with good views north over the reservoir to the Ochil Hills. The unsurfaced path, once the dam stretch is passed, will have the occasional puddle after heavy rain but otherwise light boots are optional. The regular rise and fall of the path along the route may be the remains of the run-rig system.

The pleasing wood section at the north-east corner contains also the remains of Sherriffyards Colliery, as believe it or not there used to be mining here. This was worked from the late 1800s until 1921, with coal being transported along a railway on the north shore to Alloa Harbour.

One delightful diversion is the walk along the Brothie Burn, leaving the reservoir at the south-west corner immediately after the visitor centre.

 

Maps: OS Sheet Explorer 366 'Stirling & Ochil Hills West' (1:25 000)
Distance: 4.5 km
Ascent: none
Time: 2 hours
Food & Drink: The hillfoot villages to the north have a fair selection of reasonable hostelries and restaurants in Dollar, Tillicoultry and a new one in Alva. The best fish and chip shop in the county is reputed to be the one in Sauchie.

 

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