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Keeping Yourself Safe at Gartmorn Dam Country Park

Keeping Yourself Safe at Gartmorn Dam Country Park

Danger! – Deep Water

Just being able to swim does not make you or your children safe!

The deep water of the Dam is very cold, even in summer and can sap energy from the strongest swimmer. It can hide dangerous currents which are difficult to swim against, or submerged obstacles, such as dead branches which may trap or injure you. People, especially small children, can get into difficulty in water of any depth. Be on your guard at all times.

  • Look for the dangers.
  • Take safety advice.
  • Don’t go alone or let children do so.

Danger – Thin Ice

Ice at the Dam is never strong enough to walk on. If you try, you may fall through into the freezing water or become stranded and drown.

  • The only way to keep safe near ice is to keep off!
  • Do not throw objects for your dog near or onto frozen water.
  • Do not go on the ice to attempt a rescue! (Most deaths involve people trying to rescue other people or their dogs).

Danger – Hypothermia

During water-based activities, the body can become cold very quickly. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, stumbling and confusion.

  • Take extra, warm clothing to change into.
  • Eat and drink enough to fuel your body.
  • Look out for the early signs, especially in children and the elderly.

Danger – Blue-Green Algae

Algae are tiny water plants and are important to the wildlife of the Dam. During warm, calm weather they can multiply very fast and the result is an ‘algal bloom’ which looks like blue-green paint, spilt at the water’s edge. Blooms can sometimes release poisonous substances into the water which can cause sickness in both humans and animals. This can include skin rashes, stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhoea and blistering of the mouth. Warning signs will be put up when algal blooms are causing concern.

  • Avoid touching algal scum or the water close to it and keep your children and your pets away.
  • Wash as soon as possible after taking part water based activities.

Danger - Weil’s Disease

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection carried by rats. It can be present in rivers and lochs and can cause a flu-like illness which can develop into Weil’s disease, which can be fatal. The disease can enter the body through the eyes, nose, mouth or through cuts and grazes.

  • Cover any cuts or grazes with waterproof dressings before you take part in water based activities.
  • Wash as soon as possible after touching the water.
  • Always keep feet covered to avoid cuts.

Safety Signs at Gartmorn

Deep Water signThese have been put where there is a risk of falling into deep water or where it gets deep very suddenly.

Unsafe to Dive signThe bottom of the Dam has both deep and shallow areas quite close to each other. If you dive, you might strike the bottom or be injured on submerged objects.

Thin Ice signThese signs are placed at main car parks when there is a risk of people or pets falling through the ice. Please keep off the ice, however strong it may seem, and keep children and dogs away.

Algal Blooms signThese signs will be put up when blue-green algae appears at the waters edge. This scum can cause illness. Please avoid it!

Other Ways to Stay Safe

It is sensible to keep to the paths as these are checked regularly by the ranger service for trip hazards and obstacles.

Structures such as benches, picnic tables, steps and bridges are also checked on regular patrols but vandalism can cause unexpected problems. Please do not use these if they are broken.

Bad weather can make paths muddy or icy and high winds can cause dead branches to fall, so please take extra care at these times.

There are a number of old mine sites around the dam. At Sheriffyards for example you can see the remains of old walls of brick and stone. This masonry can be loose so please keep clear.

Problems are dealt with by the rangers as soon as possible but it is wise to be on the look out for hazards yourself!

In An Emergency

  • Call 999.
  • Life Buoys are located near the visitor centre and car parks.
  • Never put yourself at risk!

For Further Information Contact

Countryside Rangers
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000