Talla Reservoir

Short Walk

This is a very easy walk on a well-prepared footpath, along the top of Talla Dam and down the side of the reservoir to the outflow tunnel from Fruid Reservoir. It is well worth taking this short walk, as it provides some fantastic views of the reservoir and surrounding hills.


Parking: There is a car parking area at the start of this walk, at the top of the dam, close to Victoria Lodge.

The dam was built between 1897 and 1905 to meet the increasing requirements for water from Edinburgh. An aqueduct still carries the water through the hills, all the way to Edinburgh. The construction of the earthwork dam and the underground aqueduct was a major feat of Victorian engineering, and was built by an army of 500 labourers managed by the construction firm James Young and Sons, until they went bankrupt, and then by John Best of Leith. The reservoir is now managed by Scottish Water, and draws water from a catchment of 2501 hectares. It is about 2.5 miles long, and it is deepest at the dam side, at about 24.4 metres (80ft).

This route follows the well-constructed path down the south-west side of the reservoir. To reach the start of the walk, either walk along the top of the dam on the grassy bank, or walk along the road, and you can access the walk just after the road turns the corner. NEED THE NEW GATE

Head along the side of the dam until you cross a bridge, and on your left is a bench overlooking the reservoir with stunning views. If you look back across the reservoir, you will see Victoria Lodge, now a private dwelling, that was built in 1897 as the headquarters for the Trustees of the Edinburgh Water Company. This Category B listed building was built in the Scots Renaissance style, and still retains many of the original features.

Continue a short distance to the inlet from Fruid Reservoir. If you choose to descend the steep steps, take care as they can be slippery. Fruid Reservoir was opened in 1967 to top up the water supplies as the demands from Edinburgh increased.

The water from Talla Water was diverted into the bed of the reservoir on 20th May 1905, and was officially opened in 28th September by Lady Cranston, the wife of the Lord Provost. The total cost of the construction was £1.25 million (the equivalent of £156 million in 2020).

Along the edge of the reservoir, look out for remnants and relics of the railway line that would have carried building materials down the side of the reservoir.