We hacked our way through bracken that was two metres tall on a path that was hardly visible but our reward was a clear view of the bottom of the Blue Pool. I did not have a polarising filter with me and was forced to take a photograph that suffered from surface reflections — I will try to get a photo later in the week that shows detail of the inside wall of the pool.
The pool was surprisingly uncluttered by debris. There were about six tree trunks on the bottom varying from a thick one at about 18 inches down to one about four inches in diameter. The edges had a build up of silt (or similar) forming a bit of an incline from the inside wall to the centre.
There was no algae type growth on or in the water — compare that with the photo taken just two months before (further up the page). It looks like the algae and visibility vary, possibly with season, temperature or daylight. The water felt slightly cooler than it did in June but was not uncomfortably cold. The pool was devoid of plant life and looked quite sterile so we got a good view of the occasional beetle swimming about.
The internal brickwork was covered with hairy slimy algae stuff but there were surprising patches of brickwork that were clean. The photo, for some reason, shows the colour of the tree trunks on the bottom to be green but the colour was actually a dark Khaki and the hairy slime had the identical colour.
This very dull neutral type colour helped emphasise a circular patch, about 2 metres in diameter, in the centre of the bottom. This irregular circular patch had a fairly vivid blue colour with small patches of white dotted about.
So did I find the ‘brick arched opening’? — no I did not. The hairy slime had formed an almost knitted solid layer over the inner brickwork and this could easily be hiding the opening. A few attempts were made to locate it using a long stick with an ‘L’ shaped end but time was running short and the distant town of Falkirk had already disappeared in the rain that was starting to make its presence felt — downpour by the time we reached the car.
I even tried sticking my face under the water but I could not see any better than I could from above. If the water proves to have rejuvenating properties, I may have to update my passport photo. I took samples of the water (prior to anyone disturbing the surface) and hope to have them analysed by a friend of a friend (got to keep the costs down).
A conversation with a local farmer revealed that the local fire department are aware of the pool as an Emergency Water Supply and have used it to tackle small forest fires. On one occasion they seemingly emptied it.
The farmer’s opinion, based on information from local miners, is that the pool was something to do with the local coal mine — possibly an airshaft.
The local pit was Herbertshire Colliery number 3 Pit (the Station Pit) just south of Denny Cross. I recalled my 83 year old uncle mentioning his father, who worked in that pit in the 1920’s and early 1930’s, saying they would soon be at Larbert Cross. The farmer had heard of that particular road (tunnel) and said it ran into problems and was closed. A new road was cut underneath Denovan and seemingly the miners joked that after descending the shaft, they travelled ‘almost to Plean’ before starting work. My uncle had not heard of that.
My problem with the Airshaft theory is that our pool was full of water in the 1930’s and looked then just as it does now. The Station Pit was operational until the 1950’s when it was closed because of excessive amounts of methane gas — they just opened the new Denny High School on that same site.
For about 30 years, that mine had an ‘airshaft’ full of water? — maybe I am missing something. I am still favouring the Water Supply Tank theory but it’s early days.
Yesterday the Blue Pool was full to overflowing. Some bricks, from the top level, are missing. About three on the south east side where there was a fairly vigorous wee flow into the surrounding landscape and a long section on the south west side which had overflowed but the water was just sitting there, seemingly unable to flow anywhere. If it was flowing, it must have been very slow.