Skinny Dipping at Glencorse Reservoir

Glencorse Reservoir, Midlothian


Park in the Pentland Hills Regional Park (Flotterstone) near the Pentlands Hills Café Express. Nearest Post Code: EH26 0PP. Cost £2 (currently by donation) via cash or RingGo 12558. The car park is very busy at weekends when the weather is fine - so it is recommended to avoid going between 9:30am and 3:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays as you are unlikely to find any parking.... there is no parking anywhere else nearby. 

Swim Spot: 

The recommended swim spot at Glencorse Reservoir is a 2km walk (25 mins) from the car park - no cars are permitted to drive the route. I am afraid that there is no disabled access as you'll need to be able to climb over a 4ft high wall. 
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Hop over the wall either at the point shown in the image below or walk further on where it is lower (just past the tall trees before the bridge) and walk back on the other side to the swim spot. 51875918387_dbf22a7801_kjpg
It is easier to hop over the wall here.... and walk back along the shore-line

Best time to go:

I recommended going on calm days when the wind is less than 20 mph. The reflections of the hills on the water are amazing. Sunsets are spectacular too - especially during the winter months. The sun hides behind the hills 2 hours before the official sunset time during the summer and 1 hour during the winter... so plan your swims so that you are in the water long before the sun disappears.  The nearest weather station is Penicuik:
If you do decide to swim at Glencorse in strong winds stick to the shore-line on the right. The current will help push you back towards the start if you get stuck -- but just watch out for the reeds by the bank near the small bridge.  

IMPORTANT: As Glencorse Reservoir is used by paying anglers from March to October it is best to swim on Mondays or after 4:30pm on Wednesday, Saturdays and Sundays when the fishery is closed. UPDATE: As of June 2023 the fishery are taking midweek EVENING bookings (except for Wednesdays). This will mean that there may be nights when it is not safe to swim. Please check their diary here: 
But if you are considering entering the water when the anglers are on the water then please keep a safe distance of at least 50m away from them and be aware that they move really quickly and could disrupt a peaceful swim. 
It is nice to swim across to the bench (260m return) or on warmer days to the bank on the other Turnhouse Hill side (400m return)


The Pentland Hills Regional Park suggest wearing a bright hat and tow-float.  

As mentioned above avoid swimming here when windy speed above 20mph. Also, be aware that very occasionally there may be a northerly breeze that may make it difficult to swim back to the start. If that happens follow the shoreline back. 

The Reservoir is almost full with water during the winter months and so trees offer some shelter whilst entering from the bank. However, during the the dry summer months you can end up walking for 5 to 15m over pebbles and stones before even getting close and therefore swim shoes may be needed. At that point you may also be seen by people on a path 130m away.. but luckily the path isn't too busy in the evenings. Horseflies are a problem on really hot evenings so avoid staying around too late as you may get a nasty bite that won't go away for weeks! 
As mentioned above Glencorse Reservoir is used by paying anglers from March to October it is best to swim on Mondays when the fishery is closed or after 4:30pm on Wednesdays and the weekend. But if you are entering the water when the anglers are there please keep a safe distance of at least 50m away from them

Recommended Links:

Edinburgh Skinny Dipping Stories facebook group:
Glencorse Winter Swimmers facebook group:

Suggested Swim Routes

Glencorse Reservoir Photographs:


Cheeky Skinny Dipping Photos:



Lee Live: Photographer, Edinburgh