This reservoir less than an hour from Edinburgh is a great place to go paddleboarding

Whiteadder Reservoir

Published by Finn Hayden

Paddleboarding has become one of my favourite things to do when the sun is out, and I jump at any chance I get to head out on my board. During a recent trip to Edinburgh, the sun decided to come out (very un-Scottish weather), so we decided to find somewhere near the city to paddleboard. There are a few areas within Edinburgh, but we knew they'd be pretty busy, and to be honest they're not that good. I've also been paddleboarding at Loch Lomond many times, but it's a little far away from Edinburgh (around 2 hours), so I wanted to find somewhere a bit closer.

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We read about a place called Whiteadder Reservoir and decided to head there. Based in East Lothian, just at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills, this man-made reservoir is home to a watersports centre, and you'll almost always see people from the centre out paddleboarding on the water. But you don't need to access the water via the watersports centre or anything like that - if you've already got a paddleboard (and, of course, a decent life jacket or buoyancy aid), then you're good to go.


You can access the reservoir from almost anywhere around the perimeter, but we found a good parking space about 30 seconds along from the entrance to the watersports centre. There is a little fence that you can open which leads down to a flat, quiet area near the water.


I have to say, I wasn't expecting this place to be so great for paddleboarding, but it really was. Firstly, it was quiet - even on a beautiful sunny Sunday. There were a few other paddleboarders out on the water, but only a handful. And crucially - no motorboats! We did see a sailboat at one point, but the reservoir is big enough that it didn't get anywhere near us.
You can see how quiet it is. Just me in the distance!
You can see how quiet it is. Just me in the distance!
Secondly, and importantly for paddleboarding, it had really good wind coverage. The Lammermuir Hills surrounding the reservoir mean you're not met with gusts of wind, and there are lots of trees closer to the water's edge too. The water felt really calm when we were out on the paddleboard.


And best of all, it took us about 50 minutes to get to Whiteadder Reservoir from Edinburgh city centre (in the car). No time at all given how excellent it was. We've put a map embed below if you need directions.


We'll definitely be back!

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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