Duddingston Loch

Duddingston Loch and the Thomson Tower
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Duddingston Loch and the Thomson Tower

Duddingston is a loch and bird sanctuary lying immediately to the south of Holyrood Park and the southwest of Duddingston village in Edinburgh. It extends to about 8 ha (20 acres), but with a maximum depth of only 3m (10 feet). The loch has been a sanctuary since 1925 and incorporates sizeable reed-beds, the most extensive in the Lothians, and offers excellent bird-watching opportunities including wintering wildfowl, heron and great crested grebe. On its southern shore is the Bawsinch Nature Reserve.

Fed from a spring at the Wells o' Wearie, below Samson's Ribs, the loch was once much larger. While dredging the bottom of the loch in 1775, to extract calcareous marl for use as fertiliser, a hoard of fifty-three Late Bronze Age weapons were recovered and are now held by the National Museum of Scotland.

For hundreds of years Duddingston Loch has been a popular location for skating and was the cradle of the sport of Curling in the 18th C., although rarely now is the ice thick enough for either. Various paintings exist illustrating the loch, perhaps best known is The Rev. Walker skating on Duddingston Loch by Sir Henry Raeburn (1756 - 1823), held by the National Gallery of Scotland. This records the minister of the Canongate Kirk in 1784, although actually shows little of the loch and its environs.

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