Hamilton to Strathclyde Park - Getting to The Clyde Walkway

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The Clyde Walkway from Hamilton to Strathclyde Park.

This has taken an age to publish. It's gone through many versions and many edits. From sections to one massive post to finally this. Broken down into parts that make sense to me. I'll link each part together as and when I publish them.

The Clyde Walkway had been on my list for a while. Well parts of it had been. With a full day to myself I decided to get the bus to Hamilton and walk the  home. To say I should have checked the time-table earlier is an understatement because in my rush to pack my rucksack and get out the door in time I forgot the map sheets I had printed off. To be honest I was hoping not to use them but I had never walked the path before so I wasn't sure how well it was sign posted. I just wanted a little of insurance, just in case.

There was a fair few stops before I reached Hamilton bus station. Larkhall, Ferniegair and few others. I used that time to plot out a route on ViewRanger on my phone and to download the map tiles should I have needed them.

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Hamilton to Strathclyde Loch.

After arriving at the bus station instead of heading straight down to Strathclyde Loch I took a little detour and headed to the Parish Church to have a look at the Netherton Cross. An ancient 10th Century carved stone cross. Which used to stand in the Low Parks near to the old palace grounds on the other side of the motorway. I never got very close to it as the gates were locked and I couldn't see another obvious way in.

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Despite the disappointment of the gates being locked I headed on down to the old Palace grounds past the Hamilton Library and the Hamilton Low parks Museum. Both of which are definitely worth a visit in their own right. I continued on to what is now a public park to get the path the goes under the M74 motorway and the footbridge that crosses the Clyde. Now the massive palace no longer stands doesn't mean that there isn't any remnants of its grand past. You only have to walk a short way in the old palace grounds when you see the ice cream cone like dome of the Hamilton Mausoleum. I was built by the 10th Duke of Hamilton. It was started in 1842 and completed 5 years after the death of the 10th Duke in 1858. It also holds the record for the longest echo. The Duke and is ancestors are no longer interred there having been moved due to flooding and subsidence. 

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Strange standing stone

Not far from the mausoleum. Is a strange mound and standing stone or a stone just protruding from the mound. I don't remember seeing any information board or anything to give it context. It's there and you can't miss it. It took me an age to find out what it is. Originally I thought it was the site of the early medieval castle or the old collegiate church but it wasn't. They are both close by but situated in two completely different areas within the park. This apparently is part of a long forgotten civic art project, an art installation. It took place at some point during the 1990s.  Other than that I haven't came across any more details. It certainly puzzled me that day. I'm very intrigued to find out what it's purpose was and is. 

Collegiate Church

There is nothing left to see of the Collegiate Church or what is left is under the Palace Sports ground five aside parks which I passed on the way in. The medieval church was still in use after the reformation when it was used as the local parish church for Hamilton. However it stood far too close to the palace and the Duke decide to build the townspeople a new church. It was largely demolished in 1732 except for the crypt and aisle that was used for the Hamilton burials after the new parish church was completed. It was then completely demolished in 1842. All the Hamilton burials were moved to the new mausoleum before being moved again as mentioned above. 

Mote Hill

Another site in the area of interest is a medieval Motte and Bailey site. This what I had thought the standing stone and mound was for. If you are heading to Strathclyde park like I was it's over in the near distance on your left hand side. Tucked away next to the motorway, hidden in a stand of trees. Not much is actually known about this site other than it's substantial earth work and buried archeology. It's scheduled and hopefully in the future we'll find out more about it. 

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Under the M74 and over the bridge

After taking in all the sites of the Palace park I followed the path under the M74 motorway and over the footbridge for my first view of the Clyde and the main subject of the walk. I crossed the bridge, thinking how cool and lazy and slow the water looked. I then took a right and joined the Clyde Walkway properly and started my journey home. 


Footnotes

My route on OS maps

Hamilton Bus station to Strathclyde Park

More photographs from the Clyde Walkway

My flickr album

Amazon Affiliate Links

The Upper Nethan Gorge Woodland Walk

Sometimes it's not all about big hills or long distances sometimes it's about taking your time and looking at what's on your own doorstep. It would appear on the face of things I have an area which is abundant in local signposted walks and ways. One of which brought me to the Upper Nethan Gorge. Literally right on my doorstep. Not 10 minutes from my door. It's one of two, The Upper Nethan Gorge up at Blackwood and the Lower Nethan Gorge down towards Nethanfoot and Crossford on the River Clyde. Both of the areas are looked after and managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. They are also within the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership project boundary.

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Dalzell Park

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Dalzell Park, the good, the bad and the beautiful.

I recently had the chance to go on a guided walk around Dalzell Park in Motherwell. The walk was run by The Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) as part of their spring walks festival. It was an excellent morning out with two very knowledgable guides from North Lanarkshire's Countryside Rangers. I really do wish I had taken better notes or recorded the information and stories told. I also wish I had taken more photographs but found it hard as I was too intent on listening and following someone else lead. However it did not take away from such a great time. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Below are some of my highlights from around the park and hopefully I've got most of right. Dalzell_Park_DSC4301

Dalzell House.

Now a private residence after being sold on by the council a few years ago so we didn't access to get a closer look at the court yard and the splendid terraced gardens. It's an A listed building and has had most if not all it's important heritage preserved. A castle or defensive structure has apparently been on the site since the 9th Century. What you see today is mix of construction phases. The oldest being the tower in the centre, this dates from the 14th/15th century. The next phase is to the right and was added in the late 17th century and the the final phase on left was added in the 18th century. It's been around and has seen many a distinguished guest, most notably Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as well as William Gladstone.

No proper castle is complete without a ghost story well Dalzell House is a bit spoiled for choice as it can boast no fewer than 3 ghosts. A green lady, a white lady and a grey lady. Hopefully I remember the right details for each ghost. The grey lady is supposed a nurse from when the house was a hospital during to after the First World War. The green lady is  of oriental origins or descent as there whiff of oriental perfume when she's about. Finally the white ghost was a maid servant who got herself into trouble and rather than face the consequences threw herself off the tower. All that might make you think twice about living in one of the luxury apartments. Dalzell_Park_DSC4305

The Covenanter's Oak.

Possibly the oldest living thing in North Lanarkshire. Supposedly planted by David I around 1450 and around the same time as the Cadzow oaks across the Clyde. It has seen better days and despite appearances is still going strong. It's been braced and supported to keep it going hopefully for another 500 years. There's a couple of different stories about the Covenanters, they either carried out sermons under great tree or sheltered below it. Either way the Hamiltons of Dalzell at that time were supporters of the cause and ended up losing a lot of their lands because of it. Probably one of my favourite things in Dalzell Park just for it's sheer majesty.

The Arboretum.

I'll admit to being a big ignorant here. I thought and arboretum was a fancy greenhouse of sorts, oh how wrong was I. However as they say, you learn something new everyday. Well this was my new thing. An arboretum is basically a collection of trees. Yep, you're not going to fit them in a greenhouse. This on in Dalzell Park has North American Sequoias, including one that they have managed to germinate from a cone using an oven. As Sequoias need raging forest fire to let their seeds drop. It also has many Yew trees more than I've seen in one garden. Maybe they were planting with zombie apocalypse in mind. Not just Scottish Yews either, they have specimens from all over the world. This is where it gets fuzzy with the tree stuff as the only other one I can remember is the Weeping Willow but there is lots of other trees. I promise. If trees are your thing go have a look.

The Phoenix Project.

Again I hope I get this correct on part of Dalzell Park, the Countryside Rangers and Phoenix Futures have been working on a project called Recovery through Nature. It's all about helping people get rehabilitated and back on a even keel by helping out on nature projects. At Dalzell Park they've been working on clearing away rhododendron bushes and restoring some of the vistas the park had originally when the gardens were laid out. They also been involved in planting through out the park. Replacing trees and the like. Really worthwhile and great to hear about. Dalzell_Park_DSC4315

The Listening Cave.

At the back of the house opposite the terraced gardens and across the Dalzell burn, I think it's called that. There are a few that run through the park. You find just through the old bowling green, yes they had their own bowling green as well as a curling pond down by the Clyde and I'm sure one of the Rangers said a cricket pitch however I could be making that up. Anyway if you follow the path you'll find the Listening Cave. Built to amplify the sound of the nearby waterfall and burn. I loved this. It was pretty cool. If you stood in a certain spot it felt like you were actually standing right next to the water. Step a little forward, backwards or either side and it was gone. Brilliant Dalzell_Park_DSC4328

St Patrick's Kirk.

The first christian site in Motherwell and home to the Hamiltons of Dalzell pet cemetery and mausoleum. The church no longer stands having fell into disrepair and ruin after being abandoned in the late 1700s. The graveyard however was used for many years after the church was left. The Hamiltons used the stone work from the ruined church for the mausoleum. Compared to the one down at the old palace grounds and Lord Belhaven's just south along the Clyde this one is really understated. Bordering on the modest.

There's been a lot of work carried out here by North Lanarkshire Council, CAVLP and the Phoenix Futures group to stabilise and rebuild the cemetery walls as well as protecting the mausoleum from vandalism. Next on the list is the graves and the yard themselves. Cleaning it up and fixing any headstones that can be. Also recording the names of those interred there for a local history project. Dalzell_Park_DSC4337

Lord Gavin's Temple.

Built for Lord Gavin Hamilton as a summer house it used to have a brilliant bright copper dome to crown it off. It allowed him to spend his time reading and smoking his cigars while watch over his wife's grave down at the family mausoleum. He was either being very romantic or very scared that she would come back from the dead. Personally I hope he was being romantic.

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The Japanese Garden.

This has been moved two or three times. One of the original places was down between St Patrick's well and Lord Gavin's Temple. You can still see some of the traces there. The current Japanese garden has new pagodas. Not sure that's the proper term. It's been laid out to match the Buddha temple at Nagasaki. Well one of them was, not sure if it's the current one or the original one. It's full of oriental planting, Japanese Maples and rock gardens. It's a really tranquil and beautiful place to wander round. In full bloom I think it will be stunning.

All in all it was a great morning's walk. Full of information and wonder. If I get the chance and have the time I would definitely go on another guided walk and take better notes and more photographs!

You can look at the full set of photographs here on Flickr, Dalzell Park Photo Album.

If you have any questions, as always leave a comment below. Get me over on Twitter or you can send me an email through the contact me page.

Clyde and Avon Valleys Spring Walks Festival

Clyde and Avon Valleys Spring Walks Festival

Clyde and Avon Valleys Spring Walks Festival.

The Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership are putting on a Spring walking festival from Friday 22nd to Tuesday 26th May 2015. There's loads of walks to do and something for every one.

Friday 22nd May

  • Discovering Castlebank Park, Lanark – 1pm
  • Bluebell Walk, Cleghorn Glen National Nature Reserve - 1pm and 3:30pm
  • A Walk in the Woods at New Lanark - 2pm

Saturday 23rd May

  • Restoring the Historic Landscape at Chatelherault - 10am
  • Ranger Guided Walk to the Falls of Clyde, Peregrine Watch Site – 1pm

Sunday 24th May

  • The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful at Dalzell Estate – 10am and 1:30pm
  • Kirkfieldbank Orchard Open Day – 2pm - 4pm

Monday 25th May

  • Lanark Health Walks – 1pm and 3pm

Tuesday 26th May

  • Spring Evening Walk at RSPB Baron’s Haugh – 7pm

The walks are free but booking is recommended. Click on the gallery below for more details.

You can read their official news release on there website or on go straight there with this link. Step Out for Clyde and Avon Valleys Spring Walks Festival. There you can click through and book yourself on one of the walks or you can use this link to go through to the booking page and sign right up.

I've booked myself on one of the walks on the Sunday so hopefully I'll see you there.

Maps, maps and Beer also known as planning a route, sort of

Well where to start. I'm never good at this. This being writing a post, not the planning of a walk. It is the first time I've planned a walk that's not on an established route, like the West Highland Way or a real favourite of mine, climbing the M...

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