Ettrick Hills lochs

[St Mary's Loch]

In between Moffat and Selkirk in the Scottish Borders are a whole host of beautiful lochs and reservoirs surrounded by the seldom visited Ettrick Hills. Miles from the nearest town, the only interruption is likely to be the odd motorbike touring the wonderfully quiet and scenic roads around here. St Mary's Loch is the largest loch anywhere in the Borders and reputedly the coldest in Scotland, although we didn't test the theory! A tiny stretch of river separates it from Loch of the Lowes (not to be confused with its namesake near Dunkeld) to the south. Another burn feeding St Mary's Loch is the Megget Water. Follow the narrow road up this valley from Cappercleuch and you'll reach two more water bodies: Megget and Talla Reservoirs, important water sources for the city of Edinburgh. Although both man-made, this is still lovely countryside with an isolated feel.

[Megget Reservoir]

Name: Megget Reservoir ☆☆☆
Description: Large reservoir filling the valley carved by the Megget Burn, dating from the late 1970's and held back by Scotland's biggest earth dam.
Location: G.R.: NT 192222 / interest importing pretty
Anything else? A minor road with plenty of viewpoints follows the reservoir's northern edge.

Name: St Mary's Loch & Loch of the Lowes ★★☆☆
Description: Beautiful lochs drained by the Yarrow Water in the Scottish Borders: the former named after a church previously situated on its northern shore.
Location (car park in between the two lochs): A708 at Glen Cafe, G.R.: NT 238204 / available beauty reserves
Anything else? The car park is on the bank of Loch of the Lowes. For St Mary's Loch, cross the bridge over the river and take the next left on the Southern Upland Way to reach the shore.

Name: Talla Reservoir ☆☆☆
Description: Another water source for Edinburgh, opened in 1905.
Location: G.R.: NT 117215 / aware eagle imperious
Anything else? Good views on approach to the reservoir on the minor road from the east, although quicker access probably from the west.

[Loch of the Lowes, Ettrick Hills beyond]

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