Hopetoun Fishery

(Paddy Higgins Quarry)

A recreational fishery located in Swineburn Wood, just to the north of the M9 motorway, a mile (1.5 km) northeast of Winchburgh, Hopetoun Fishery occupies a former sandstone quarry on the Hopetoun Estate. This commercial fishery is stocked with rainbow trout and provides both fly and bait fishing. The quarry once provided the estate with fine quality building stone, known as Freestone due to its uniform nature.

Known locally as Paddy Higgins Quarry, it has a sinister past. In 1911 a drunken labourer named Patrick Higgins drowned his two young sons here to avoid the responsibility of supporting for them. The bodies were found were tied together two years later and led to a sensational trial. Higgins was found guilty of murder and hanged at Calton Jail in Edinburgh. The evidence for conviction was provided by forensic scientists Professor Harvey Littlejohn (1862 - 1927) and Sydney Smith (1883 - 1969), of the University of Edinburgh. Higgins' body still lies where it was buried in the grounds of the jail, now occupied by a car park for St Andrew's House.

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