Monday, May 16, 2022
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Fishermen die in reservoir tragedy

THE WIFE of one of two fisherman who died in a Scottish reservoir last night paid tribute to her “devoted” husband.

Heather Archibald spoke of the agony of losing her “loving” David, 59, who went out on Sunday for a fishing trip and did not return.

David, from Dalkeith, Midlothian, went fishing at nearby Gladhouse Reservoir with his friend Andrew Conlon, 56.


David Archibald (pictured) died while fishing with friend Drew Conlon



After the pair failed to return home that night , a rescue operation was mounted and their bodies were discovered in the water shortly before 4am on Monday.

In a statement  released by the police, Mrs Archibald said: “For more than 35-years David was a devoted and loving husband and father.

“He was always there for his family and friends and you would struggle to find anyone with a bad word to say about him.”

She added: “When not working as a technician at the University of Edinburgh, David would often indulge his passion for fishing, regularly heading out with his friends on their various excursions.

“He also loved communicating with his friends and colleagues within the scientific community across the world regarding his interest in alternative energy sources.

“His death has left a massive hole in the lives of all of those who knew and loved him and we must now come to terms with the full extent of our grief.

“We are immensely grateful for the kind words of support the local community has already offered us and we now ask to be allowed to mourn for David in private.”

Police believe the men died in a tragic accident on the 460-acre body of water near Gorebridge.

Gladhouse Reservoir where the tragedy happened


It emerged today that Mr Conlon, also from Dalkeith, was the fishing manager at the 50ft-deep reservoir and had the right to cancel trips he considered unsafe.

But Police said that neither Mr Conlon – known as Drew – nor Mr Archibald had been wearing lifejackets when they took to the waters for a regular fishing trip on Sunday.

Specialist sonar equipment is being brought in to try to locate the boat that was used by the men, who lived in nearby Dalkeith.

The sign that refers to Drew Conlon as the Fishing Manager


A sign at the reservoir warns that it is “a large inland water and if not treated with respect it can be a hazardous environment”.

Fishermen are advised to check the weather forecast as “fishing on the reservoir is very difficult at Force 4 wind or above”.

With tragic irony, the signs states: “If in doubt about the weather, please consult the fishing manager (Drew Conlon). It is at the discretion of the fishing manager to cancel…if he considers it is not safe to fish.”

It adds: “It is mandatory for all anglers to wear a buoyancy aid at all times.”

But Inspector Neil Simpson, of Lothian and Borders Police, said today: “They were not wearing lifejackets.”

Lothian and Borders Police Inspector Neil Simpson next to sign that warns of potential dangers while fishing on the water


He added: “They were found in the outlet of the reservoir that leads to the  overspill Roseberry Reservoir.

“The boat has not yet been recovered.

“A specialist marine unit will be coming with sonar equipment to try and locate the boat to establish if there was a leak.

“Their equipment has not been recovered and their cars were also found in the car park.

“The two men were frequent fishers of the reservoir coming here two or three times per week.

“It is unknown how long they were on the water – but according to the families they tended to come home before it got dark.”

At Mr Conlon’s home, his son, Andrew, said: “We don’t want to talk about it right now – it’s a bit of a hard time as I’m sure you’ll understand.”

Friends and neighbours described the dead man – known as Drew – as a “great guy”.

Neighbour Jim Johnstone, a friend of Mr Conlon for 50 years, said: “He was a great guy who had time for everyone.

“I knew him from way back in the school days, although he went to St David’s catholic school and I was at another one.

“He loved a few things – his family, tinkering on cars and of course, fishing.

“He went out with the rod nearly every single weekend – I think for a lot of these trips it was him and Davie together.

“Drew would also come over and help me fix my car or other jobs around the house.

“His wife Iris and his son and daughter, Christopher and Claire, will no doubt be heartbroken.”



Fishing can only be done by boat because of the heavy undergrowth that surrounds that loch.

The reservoir is leased to syndicates by land agents Smith Gore on behalf of Rosebery Estate.

Andrew Kirk, retired head gamekeeper from the Roseberry estate, told of a wind that can hit the reservoir, which is located at a height of 900ft.

“The wind howls down the valley from the Moorfoot Hills and things can become quite dodgy all of a sudden.

“It has the potential to become quite dangerous, with calm water on one side changing in a matter of minutes to something quite wild. Over the years I’ve had boats which had to be abandoned.”

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