Mystery of Gadloch

Gadloch Water Level Mystery
Winter 2008/9
Gadloch Water Level Mystery
In the Snow

Regular walkers on the Lenzie Golf Course footpath between Auchinloch and Lenzie will be well aware of the rapid changes which occur in the Gadloch water level. The level has been particularly high for at least six months over the recent winter, which means that, for all that time, walkers have had to make a soggy and potentially dangerous detour onto the golf course to get round the flooded part of the path.

One benefit of the high water levels was that geese, swans and other wild birds gathered in unprecedented numbers during the Spring, which was a beautiful and fascinating sight. Fortunately, the waters have now receded, for the time being at least, although detours are still necessary to avoid the deep mud that covers the lowest lying stretch.

Are things getting worse, from the flooding point of view? Could it be another piece of evidence for global warming, or is there a more mundane explanation? In fact, as is known from maps, the Gadloch has come and gone several times since it was formed in the 18th Century as part of an agricultural drainage improvement scheme. There don’t appear to be any systematic observations that would confirm or refute the impression that things have been getting worse in the last few years.

Gadloch Water Level Mystery
April 2009

The basic flow pattern into and out of the Gadloch is known. The main input is from the Standburn which appears to start underground somewhere in Balornock, passes through the newer estates in Auchinairn and Robroyston and enters Gadloch at the west end, at the single track road to Parkhillhead Farm. The outflow point from the loch is beside Loch Farm, where two vertical brick manholes connect with a historic man-made tunnel across under the railway and Boghead playing fields to the Park Burn. This tunnel (and/or the manholes) have been blocked from time to time over the centuries but the water seems to be flowing freely at present. (Incidentally, according to the curator of the Auld Kirk Museum, the story that this rock tunnel was excavated by Napoleonic prisoners of war is a myth – indeed the dates don’t tie up.)

The mystery then is why the water level suddenly dropped steadily over a period of a few days at the end of March, to reach the minimum level set by the outflow manholes. Admittedly the weather was fairly dry, but not any more so than had been the case over the month following Christmas.

Someone out there may know all or part of the answer and we would be glad to hear of any explanation. But the combined knowledge base of the three local authorities involved and the agents for the landowners has so far provided no insight into what is going on.

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