Skinny Dipping at the North Esk Reservoir

The North Esk Reservoir, Midlothian


Park in the main Car Park in Carlops. Nearest Post Code: EH26 9NH. Exact location: No cost. It is very busy at weekends when the weather is fine - so it is recommended to avoid going between 9:30am and 2:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays as it is likely to be full. 

Swim Spot: 

The recommended swim spot at the North Esk Reservoir can be reached by one of several routes. The easiest one is to follow the border of Midlothian and the Scottish Borders along a farm road past Carlophill Farm - sign posted "Buteland by the Borestane" -- You'll see it just across the road from the car park on the left. The farm track leads up a slight incline at the start. It'll take you around 40min (3.2km) each way.  Just follow the road straight past the farm (ie. Don't turn left towards where the tractor is shown below)
NorthEskReservoir2022 4jpg
Alternatively, if you are feeling energetic, then you can climb Patie's Hill and return via the Burn. It'll take you about 60mins one way and 40mins the way back. (6.8km total). You'll ascend around 150m within the first 2km of this route.... 
Screenshot 21png start on this climb you need to turn right out of the car park and walk to the other end of the small town. On the opposite side of the road you'll see another sign saying "Buteland by the Borestane". Just follow the small signs from there on... and then when you reach the burn head up the hill on your right.... 
NorthEskReservoir2022 19jpg
The views from the top of Patie's Hill are amazing in all weathers.... 
NorthEskReservoir2022 18jpg
As you descend the hill on the northern side turn left and follow the road along by the fenced off area - then turn left to the reservoir: 
NorthEskReservoir2022 17jpg

Best time to go:

I recommended going on calm days when the wind is less than 20 mph. If it is a sunny day then go in the morning as the sun will be hidden by the hills 3 hours before sunset. Also if returning via the Burn then you want that not to be in the shade -- so that is another reason to go in the morning.
The nearest weather station is West Linton: 
NorthEskReservoir2022 3jpg
To return home take the farm track behind the small cottage....  after about 1km you can choose to take the path to the Burn (River North Esk) or continue on the road directly to the Car Park. 
NorthEskReservoir2022 5jpg


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

(though this particular Reservoir is privately owned!) 

Recommended Links:

Edinburgh Skinny Dipping Stories facebook group:

The North Esk Reservoir Photographs:


Cheeky Skinny Dipping Photos:

Lee Live: Photographer, Edinburgh