Carron Valley Reservoir is hunkered down on the north side of the Campsie Fells and Kilsyth Hills. They essentially run across the entire north side of Greater Glasgow. The body of water is three and a half miles long and at its widest point a mile and a half wide. It is shared by both Falkirk and Stirling Council and is less than 5 miles from the East Dunbartonshire border.
Surrounding the reservoir are forests, fields and The Carron Valley Mountain Bike Trails. These trails are brilliant for keen mountain bikers and if you click here it will take you to a map of the trails from Forestry Commission Scotland. Meikle Bin proudly sits to west of the water and is the 2nd highest peak in the Campsie Fells at 570m. This classifies it as a Marilyn. A bit like the word used to describe the height of a Munro, A Marilyn is a hill in the UK that measures over 150m in height.
From Kilsyth, The Tak-Ma-Doon Road leads up the hill with stunning views east as far as Edinburgh and as far south as the Arran hills. It is an amazing way to see the flat plain of the central belt of Scotland. It’s most beautiful way to drive to the water.
Paddling at Carron Valley
On this winter day, the usual launch point was not an option. It was actually 5 inches deep in snow and thick ice. Too challenging to conquer for even the most experienced paddler. Parking the car, and walking on to a farmers gate around 500m up the road led to path down to some actual liquid. Even at the side here there was thick ice but we were able to smash through it and get into the water. Paddling in the winter is for sure not for the faint hearted but a good 7mm pair of O'Neill wetsuit boots layered with a thick pair of hiking socks seems to keep the feet warm. I recently purchased a pair of Lomo neoprene leggings as I don't like having a shoulders wrapped in neoprene. On top a Rooster Pro Lite aqua fleece which combines a soft, durable and flexible polyurethane outer coating with a light fleece inner layer to keep you snug and warm. This, combined with neoprene wrist and waist fastenings and a high elasticated drawstring neck closure is only going to keep you snug. Decent gloves and Glasgow Paddleboarders hat and I was ready.
Bryony posing under the sun.
There is something magical about paddling when it's cold. There's a freedom to it. It's dangerous, but it's not. It's daring, but it's relaxing. It's challenging, but it's revitalising. The snow and ice around you is stunning from the surface of the water that seemed to be freezing around us in -5C conditions.
Here is a video we create to showcase Carron Valley in the snow but also to promote the business. If you use the app Relive, this link will help you to see our circles. 80% of the water was frozen.
I am proud of everything that we have supported in allowing Glasgow Paddleboarders as a group, to continue running during lockdown.
It might mean 1:1 peer paddling for just now, but this vaccine is on the horizon and things will return to normal soon. Patience is a virtue.
Stick with it.
Buzzing for the first group paddle restriction free.