New Cumnock’s revamped open air pool attracts record numbers


One of Scotland’s last remaining open air swimming pools has attracted a record number of visitors after undergoing a major refurbishment.

The New Cumnock lido in Ayrshire – the only heated freshwater pool north of the border – welcomed a total of 4,295 visitors in July and another 4,898 in August.

The population of the town is only around 2,000.

Last year, the old pool enjoyed a record year, with 6000 visiting across the whole five-month season.

The refurbished pool opened in mid-June and this year’s guestbook includes visitors from Tottenham, Manchester, Norway, Northern Ireland, and West Calder.

Visitors now stop at the town rather than passing through to reach other parts of Ayrshire, and the knock-on effect of the pool is evident in feedback from local hotels and B&Bs, such as Cumnock’s Dumfries Arms Hotel and New Cumnock’s Lochside Hotel and Spa which does not have a pool.

Gordon Neil, development and facilities manager for Dumfries House Trust, said: “The heritage-led regeneration of both the town hall and swimming pool in New Cumnock really has been transformational for the community.

“Being so involved, overseeing two tired and under-used buildings be transformed into high quality, modern, fit for purpose facilities has been a real privilege.

“But what has been most impressive is the real community spirit that has been harnessed and has been at the heart of all the work.

“Without the support and enthusiasm of the local people this development would not have been nearly as successful as it is.

“It is their drive and commitment to work alongside us that will ensure the continuing success.”

The new-look pool, designed in a lido style, has been made more energy efficient and given a facelift by a construction project which started in September last year and was completed this month.

The pool is 25m long and, for increased efficiency, the depth was reduced from 2.9 meters to 1.5 metres in the deep end and from 1.1 metres to 0.8metre in the shallow end.

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Since Dumfries House was saved for the nation in 2007 by a consortium led by Prince Charles, known in Scotland as The Duke of Rothesay, it has led the way in providing ‘heritage-led regeneration’ for the local community.

Through The Dumfries House Outreach Programme, the charity has led a number of charitable projects including the rejuvenation of New Cumnock Town Hall, as well the creation of The Rothesay Rooms, a restaurant and Highgrove shop in flood-hit Ballater.

The Dumfries House Trust raised £30,000 and other funding of over £150,000 came from East Ayrshire Council, the Scottish Government and the UK Government.