A beauty spot water supply created by a pioneering duke is under threat of sell-off.
Secret meetings have taken place to off-load Troon’s historic reservoir at Collenan.
Thousands of tons of water have already been drained from it.
Furious anglers have stalled progress by custodians South Ayrshire Council but the water has been dropped by more than six feet, rendering fishing useless and leaving angling platforms high and dry.
The draining has also exposed a rare bed of fresh water mussels, which all appear to be dead.
Now former councillor and Troon historian Nan McFarlane has called for the Collenan Reservoir to be preserved.
The popular Smugglers Trail flanks the eight acre basin, seen below in all its full-capacity glory.
South Ayrshire Council have been in contact with the Vernon family, owners of the neighouring Hillhouse Quarry.
The council is desperate to save cash by not having to maintain and inspect the reservoir.
But Nan McFarlane said: “There is a danger the quarry’s future extension would close the Smugglers Trail if the reservoir became part of the quarry operations. I believe the council want to fill in the dam to be passed to Hillhouse Quarry and my guess is it would be a great place for the quarry to get shot of the spoils.
“This would be a serious loss to the anglers and another piece of local history obliterated.”
Collenan was constructed in the late 1800s by the 6th Duke of Portland, enabling Troon to became the first town in Ayrshire to have running water in every house. It can hold 128,000 cubic metres of water.
Troon Angling Club have hooked trout there for the past 83 years and own the land below the dam.
Secretary Jim Cunningham said: “We got word South Ayrshire Council was in discussion with Hillhouse Quary to take over the asset but I am happy to say everything has been put on hold.
“We have now had a meeting with Richard Vernon of Hillhouse.He confirmed they would not take on the reservoir as a liability so in effect it would be drained.
“We met with South Ayrshire Council on Thursday to try and resolve the situation so we can get back to fishing.
“A two metre drop means the margins have changed dramatically but we are fairly positive it can be filled back up.
“If we lost Collenan Reservoir it would have a huge impact on the environment and the tourist industry.
“Thousands of people walk the Smugglers Trail and it is a beautiful area.”
David Chalmers, chairman of Loans Community Council, said: “My first thoughts are of concern and sadness at the potential loss of the Collenan Reservoir as an attractive and historical treasure, a wildlife sanctuary, a sporting paradise for Troon Angling club and an amazing backdrop for the Smugglers’ Trail.
“I would like to find out why this possible sale has suddenly come to light.”
After a safety inspection the council reduced the level from the scour valve to the upper valve. At its deepest it is now only 21 feet.
South Ayrshire Council said “Collenan Reservoir was declared surplus to the council’s requirements in 2017. We are in talks with an interested party and the angling club regarding the future of the reservoir.”