I have not yet had any response from Carron Phoenix or the Forestry Commission but many thanks to Scottish Water for their speedy response and the research by their legal department.
We have nothing in the immediate area either by way of land holdings or assets. I would have to say that Scottish Water’s predecessors are unlikely to have been involved.
There is, in fact, no pipe-work or assets anywhere in the vicinity of the Blue Pool.
I suspect that the pool was built in support of an industrial process and, as such, it looks if it was unlikely to form part of the public water supply.
My recent discovery of the second 6 inch pipe and the larger than expected brick arch opening (on the wrong side for my theory) had already left me thinking that this was a very strange design for a water tank and I have abandoned, at least for the time being, my Water Tank Theory.
What industrial process would anyone locate in such a hard to reach location with little or no access to roads for transporting raw materials and finished goods?
After much brain storming with Andy, we came up with a Charcoal Kiln. There are plenty of images of charcoal Kilns on Google Image. Some have vertical sides, some have a beehive shape and many have a brick arch opening at the base to remove the charcoal.
Write it up and stamp it SOLVED said Andy — let’s get on to the next investigation!
I was not that confident, though I had mentally converted the 4 foot manhole into an isolation valve for a gas supply from Glenbervie gas works.
To get the charcoal out of the brick arch that is 5 metres below ground level would have involved an angled access trench through very boggy ground. The trench would probably have flooded faster than you could dig it. Another problem was that the internal brickwork looks brand new with no sign of blackening or tar residue. I have abandoned the Charcoal Kiln theory.
I find myself coming back to the most popular theory — something to do with a mine, possibly an air shaft. I had discounted this as the blue pool has been in its present condition since the 1930’s and the Denny Pit (Herbertshire number 3), south of Torwood, did not close till the 1950’s.
There was however an older pit to the west of Torwood, Quarter Pit in Dunipace. There was Plean Pit with workings somewhere under Torwood. There were Clay Mines but these are fairly modern. There was a very old Lime Mine.
I need drawings of the area and my next port of call will be the Scottish Archives in Edinburgh. I hope to get there before the end of January.
I have just received some information from a local person, Richard Barton, who has now moved to Bannockburn. Richard refers to the Blue Pool as The Well because that was his best guess the first time he saw it.
I’ve been riding my (mountain) bike in this area for almost 20 years so I’m familiar with the paths. I’d found the well about 13 years ago and it would always be a place we would stop off to have a nosey at whilst out on the bikes.
I have the same recollection as Neil Jardine about the brick archway.
We discovered the pool in the 90’s during the summer and the trees were growing but the pool wasn’t quite as covered as it is now. We had a look at it and spent a good half hour just nosey around — didn’t disturb anything, but it was incredibly clear, some debris in the bottom (mainly bricks from memory, but also some wood) but the walls were pretty clear. We spotted the brick archway and then spent the rest of the time pondering what it could be used for.
One particular day we met the guy who was working on Torwood Castle — a retired doctor, I believe. He was carrying 2 large plastic jerry cans full of water. We offered to help him as they looked seriously heavy and he looked rather frail but he refused our help but we walked him back to the castle. Apparently he used the pool to get his water whilst in the castle — I’m not sure how accurate that was but he kept asking us not to throw anything in the pool as it was his drinking water — he got a fresh supply from the well twice a week and he had noticed a bit more debris in there so was asking people who knew about it to try and keep it clean — could have been his attempt at making sure it didn’t get vandalised.
We would visit it in all seasons and I can only recall once more when it was covered in ice completely — 1995/96, we had some severely cold weather for about 3 weeks — minus 15°c and the pool was totally covered — ice looked to be a couple of inches thick.
Last night [4th January 2010] was the first time in about 6 years since I visited it. It was minus 2°c and only about 60% of the pool was covered with a 3mm thick ice sheet, the water appeared to be warm (but we weren’t brave enough to remove our gloves to test the theory!) I’ve never noticed the ‘inlet’ pipes before so that is interesting info for me.