Airdrie & District Angling Club
An attractive and mature reservoir of some 345 acres of prime trout fishing, located near Caldercruix in Central Scotland.
Hillend Loch lies just to the East of Caldercruix, near Airdrie, in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. Its position at the heart of Central Scotland makes it easily accessible to anglers from Glasgow and Edinburgh, as it is just a short distance off the M8 motorway. Hillend Loch is fed by six feeder streams that collect water from a large catchment area of surrounding hills and moorland. It is of some 345 acres (140 Ha) and sits 650 feet (198 m) above sea level.
Airdrie & District Angling Club have managed the loch since 1949. The Loch is stocked on a weekly basis throughout the season with Rainbow, Brown & Blue trout. The loch was originally stocked with Brown Trout only and was renowned as being one of the best Brown Trout waters in Scotland. In 1997 it was decided to introduce Rainbow Trout and they have been stocked on a weekly basis ever since. Brown Trout are still stocked annually and with the natural fish hatching from the feeder streams, there are still high levels of Browns being caught especially mid to late season. The loch offers varied, top-quality fishing from shore or boat, permits are available from the A&DAC Fishing Lodge.
Hillend Loch is an attractive and mature reservoir constructed between 1797 and 1799 through the damming of the North Calder Water. At the time, it was the largest man-made reservoir in the world. It still supplies water to the Forth & Clyde Canal and what's left of the Monklands Canal, as it was originally constructed to do. The railway which runs along the south side of the reservoir was built in 1862 to serve the iron and steel industry in Monklands. It closed to passengers in 1956, and freight in the 1980's. Since closure, a cycle path has been constructed on the trackbed linking Bathgate to Airdrie and beyond, but the railway looks set to re-open in the near future. There is a rich industrial heritage in the area, now reflected in museums, industrial relics and sculptures beside the cycle path.
Hillend Loch provides rich, varied habitat for wildlife, including a wide range of upland and moorland plants around its fringes. The loch margins include mature mixed woodland, meadow, peat bog, reed beds and moorland. Hillend Loch attracts a wide range of migratory ducks, geese and swans, and has breeding groups of coot, moorhen and duck. Regular visitors include Canada geese, great crested grebe and osprey. Wading birds including oystercatcher, lapwing and curlew are frequently seen and heard, along with heron, kingfisher and dipper in the feeder streams. Hillend Loch also provides nesting sites for reed bunting and reed warblers, woodpeckers and owls. Roe deer, otter, hare and other mammals are also regulars, and the loch provides an ideal varied habitat for a great selection of moths and butterflies, including some quite rare species.
Apart from top-quality trout fishing, Hillend Loch forms an integral part of the Hillend Loch Railway Path for walking and cycling. Recreation uses include nature walks among the superb scenery, birdwatching, photography and entomology among many others.
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