Volunteers have their latest punt at bringing Keptie Pond back to former glory

© DC Thomson
Keptie Friends.

A once-neglected Angus beauty spot has had a boat back on its waters for the first time in almost two decades.

Keptie Pond, once a tourist attraction that drew families from across Scotland to Arbroath to skate and row on its clear waters, now suffers from an annual build-up of blue green algae.

On Sunday the group which took over the pond’s upkeep sailed the first boat on the water since around 2001.

Organiser of the Friends of Keptie Pond, George Park, admits the vessel is more workmanlike than a gondola.

George Park, Morag Lindsay and 11-year-old Skye Beaton (11) during the clean-up© DC Thomson
George Park, Morag Lindsay and 11-year-old Skye Beaton (11) during the clean-up

“It’s a wee nippy thing with an electric outboard motor that won’t pollute the water. It was built as a project but we are going to use it to get across to the island, which is very overgrown.

“The council can’t get to the other side but have said they will take away the weeds we get out the water.

“The pondie looks good when the sun’s out and there are patches of clear water where you can even see freshwater mussels.

“And there can now be a comprehensive survey of the weed, which grows and decomposes and provides nutrients for toxic algae. If you cut that out at the start of the year, the pond will be clear.”

Builder Ian Smith has volunteered transport for the boat, which will be used to help rake the pond.

The town’s burgeoning population was kept watered in the Victorian era by a well in Nolt Loan beside the pond, which was piped to surrounding houses.

To secure the purity of the water supply, a lease was taken of the land between Nolt Loan and Keptie Hill from the Colvill Trust (Mortification) around 1880, and the land was laid out as a skating pond, now known as Keptie Pond, or simply The Pondie.

“We’d like to get to the stage where boats are on the pond all the time, but we’d need facilities so that’s one for the future,” he said.

During the summer months, tourists flocked to the pond to hire rowing boats, but the plug was pulled by Angus Council in 2001 in the face of rising costs costs and growing legal requirements.