I was shooting video at the pool about a month ago (June 2009) and I would now call it the Black Pool. It did not have that magical blue look that I remembered from years ago and you can no longer see the bottom although a sample of the water showed it to be as clear as the Highland Spring bottled drinking water I had with me.
My memory of the pool was that it was about 4 metres in diameter and about 4 metres deep. I have recently measured it at 6.1 metres (20 feet) internal diameter and 4 metres deep at the centre — from the top brick layer, not the surface of the water. Shallower depths were found nearer the edges, probably accumulated debris.
Because the above memories have proved fairly reliable, I present another memory that I am less confident about. At the bottom of the pool, I remember a small brick arched opening.
- Could this be the source of the water ?
- Does anyone else remember this feature ?
Neil Jardine from Plean, Scotland
I have known about the Blue Pool for over 30 years. The water was aquamarine blue and you could see the bottom very clearly. I remember green stuff on the bottom, probably plants.
There was a brick arched opening near to but not on the bottom. I remember thinking that if you were to swim in there, you might be sucked into that opening. I am fairly sure that the opening was on the south side facing Denovan.
Thank goodness someone can confirm my memory of the arched brick opening. I remember it as being about 20 inches (50 cm) high and have done an illustration of the general shape. I too remember that it was located around the bottom quarter of the total depth but clear of the bottom.
The pool is not visible from the nearby path. If you know about it then you either came across it by chance or someone told you where it was. Most locals I have spoken to have never heard of the blue pool.
The pool seems to have vanished under some trees and scrub for a bit. Some people report having gone back years later and not being able to find it. Google’s satellite photographs from a few years ago only showed a slight bump in the tree line but the latest photos show the pool. The trees look like they were cut down in the last ten years or so.
Many people who knew of this magical place used it as a swimming pool. Heather Livingston from Canada makes regular visits to her family in Plean, next to Torwood, and remembers swimming in the ‘Blue Water’ in the summer of 1983.
Her cousin Jane remembers doing the same around that time and several local youths also partook of the Blue Water.
I never swam in the blue pool and I recall that the temperature of the water was very cold regardless of the season (45 year old memories) but Jane recalls that in the early 1980’s the water temperature was such that a swimmer could have stayed in the water for ten minutes without much discomfort.
In June 2009 I noticed the water at the surface was almost as warm as the air temperature
I have heard many theories on what this cylindrical brick lined shaft could have been.
- A mine shaft.
- A ventilation shaft for a mine.
- A drainage sump for surrounding bog land.
- An Ice House.
- An industrial vat for a chemical or dye works.
- A Biogas generating facility.
- A Well or Water Supply.
- It may have been a service stop for alien UFO’s visiting the nearby town of Bonnybridge.
Although Heather Livingston knew about a nearby square man-hole with a metal extension rod, her family were ridiculing her until I came to her rescue by finding the structure a few weeks ago.
It is unlikely that I would have missed this in 1960 so it probably had a cover over it at that point or I just did not find it very memorable.
The fitting on the extension rod is the same as those in use today for water stop-cocks on water mains.
The pool is constructed of a circular brick wall that is three bricks wide. The brick wall is surrounded by a layer of blue clay. Blue clay was commonly used as a waterproofing material and our canals are lined with this material. Someone did not want liquid getting from one side of the brick wall to the other.
The bricks seem to be handmade and have no company markings of any brickworks.
I find the way the brickwork finishes flush with the surrounding ground level, with no coping or finishing, a bit unusual and I suspect there was originally a covered structure above the pool to protect it from the elements.
This structure may have been built from bricks that were recycled for use in another project when the pool no longer served its original purpose.
If you decide to go have a look at the pool, please proceed with great care. The ground is very uneven having been deep ploughed by the Forestry Commission prior to planting.
The pool and the man-hole are known and obvious and can be treated with due respect but what if there are other unknown holes in the area with rusting or rotting covers under the heather and bracken.
If you are unfortunate enough to suddenly discover one, you had better make sure there is someone to pull you out or at least raise the alarm.