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

3 Trips Thursday #64

Last of Merrick's snow

3 Trips Thursday #64

It's been a while. A very long while. I'm not making any promises but we'll see how this goes. I got caught up with other stuff and life in general. Anyway let’s get onto the most important part, the trips. 

The first is a cracking overnighter in the Tunskeen Bothy down in Galloway. I’ve had some belters of nights in there myself. The second is a good wee walk up the Lundie Craigs in Perthshire and last  but my no means least. A cold few days in the Cheviots. Just shows if you pack right and have the correct gear you can still have fun this time of year.

The Links.

  1. Tunskeen Bothy. Galloway and Carrick Forest Trip.
  2. Lundie Craigs.
  3. Cold Camping in the Cheviots.

As always you can hit me up on Twitter. Send me an email through the contact page. You can even go old school and just leave a comment in the comments box.

Thanks for reading. Have a very Merry Christmas, a cool Yule or whatever you celebrate at this time of year.

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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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.

Blackhill

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Blackhill

I've moved to pastures new a while ago, further into South Lanarkshire. Deepest darkest Lanarkshire, back to the countryside. Or almost so, if it wasn't for the rather large M74 next to the village. However saying that it's all green fields, hills, woods and little glens nestled down next to the Nethan and a stones throw from the Clyde valley and all that it offers. A happier pig in mud could not be found and to my great delight was some pretty good hills not so far away. Tinto and Culter Fell being a couple of big ones within easy driving distance but also some hills virtually on my doorstep. One of those hills being Blackhill. It dominates the sky line because it's so close. I see it everyday. Not the biggest by any stretch of your imagination. It stands at 951 of your good Scottish feet or 290 metres in the new money. A Scheduled Ancient Monument as well as being owned by the National Trust for Scotland. It's not big and it's not pretty but Blackhill is my local hill and at times I have it to myself. What's not to like? Blackhill000016051214

Why's it so special?

That's easy. It's has over 4000 years of history seeping up through the very grass and rocks of it's sides. On the top under the OS trip pillar lies a Bronze age burial cairn. I'm not sure of it's size but it's pretty big. 20 metres across. Next it's has an Iron Age fort and settlement attached with a number of platforms that could have been wooden round house. The fort and adjoining settlement take up the entire hill top. There's ditches and protective walls running round the whole summit. There's possibly a Roman road that runs across the foot of the hill that may have been part of a road that ran from Peebles to Castledykes on the other side of Lanark over to the Irvine valley down to Loudoun Hill. There's archaeological records of standing stones. Apparently at one point it had a couple of standing stones, possibly three. One stone to the south at Clarkston Farm and definitely one but maybe two on the north side at Blackhill Farm. As well as evidence of Medieval occupation and field systems. It's all going on. The National Trust have had it in their possession since 1936 when Messrs Robert Howie and Sons donated it to them and because of all the history it was designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 1969. 20150216000003Blackhill

The View

For this particular visit I had a bit of spare time and it was a crackingly clear afternoon and I fancied catching a sunset. I grabbed my camera and jumped in my walking gear. It's only roughly a couple of miles from my house but to maximise my hill time I got in the car and set off for the little layby at the bottom of the hill. Once parked up I promptly marched to the top off the hill which started with a hop over a fence and stile. Then it was just a case of heading upwards following a farm track. There's a big gate to pass through then your in the enclosure from this side you enter the settlement first and it's pretty obvious from the trig pillar where you're heading. Like it's not the biggest or most challenging but once up it pays you back in spadefuls for the little effort you put in. Blackhill000065051214

The sunset was still probably a good hour off so I dumped by bag at the pillar and take out my down jacket and hat as it's a bit baltic on top. There's a good breeze going and it is December. What is lovely winter sunshine down by the road isn't warm enough to heat up even at the top of this modest hill. Wrapped up I set of an wonder over the lumps and bumps wondering what it looked like before loads of the stone were robbed and the walls collapsed. Where the standings were. Were they lined up with something. Did they have anything to do with the fort or settlement. Trying to guess the path of the Roman through the much plowed fields. I've got my camera and I'm snapping away. The view's are 360.

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I still don't really have my bearings when it come to the hills I can see from here. Tinto is the obvious one, due south or there abouts. Apparently the massive cairn there and here are in alignment. It could be something or nothing or just a giant coincidence. With the trig pillar to my back, Lanark in a south easterly direction, I can only think it's the big peaks of Mount Law, Bleak Law, Byrehope Mount and the rest I can see but I'm not sure. Over towards the west and to the south I can see Nutberry Hill, again I think it is. It's all a bit alien to me. Supposedly further over to the west you can see Goatfell on a really clear day. That is one view I would love to catch.

By far the best view is to the north and west. It's an amazing view and one my camera skills can't quite do it justice, yet, I hope I will learn to. The Clyde valley opens up before you. All the big towns are there. Hamilton, Motherwell and Wishaw. As well as the famous big city of Glasgow. It's beyond them that really takes your breath away. I have in one big swathe, the Arrochar Alps, The Cobbler and Beinn Ime and Narnian. Ben Lomond and it's distinctive table like top, at ease standing proud. Then the full length of the Campsies. However it doesn't stop there, the hills of the Trossachs and all the way to Ben Lawers. I'm pretty sure it's Lawers. There is nothing taller then me in that direction. I have that feeling of being on the top of the world. I'm the only person here and the only one seeing this. I'm in deepest Lanarkshire and I can see all the way to the Southern Highlands. An absolutely stunning view for such a small bump. It's special. I don't think I will tire of this outlook. Yes, there's turbines, towns and city in the road but brain filters those out. Maybe they actually help the view be better, making the hills and the natural stand out against the concrete and the man-made.

The Clyde herself is not to be out done. Up close she's brown, fast flowing and a little bit tumultuous but from up here she's serine, a silver blue steel metal ribbon winding a path to the sea

Best for last

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After my wanderings and musing I start to try and take some selfies. Not so easy with a dSLR or so I find. I'm a proponent of the @DavyWA, @petesy, @MThomson, @Rye1966 school of the outdoor selfie. Maybe they'll run classes in the new year. However they do it so much better but it's a good bit of fun. The sun is on it's final leg to setting. Tinto has a crowning of grey cloud and little jacket of snow on his shoulders. It's catching the sun beautifully and try to catch it the camera. Again I don't do it justice but I'm happy that I'm there to see. Lanark too is looking pretty on the other side of the Clyde. Rooftops, church spires and glinting windows catching the last rays of the sun. Glasgow and the towns to the north are the same. The light is great. It's crisp like the air. I can see mist gathering over towards the Stonehouse and Larkhall. It may over the Avon water. The river and the woods catching it and holding onto it. I'm looking north again and sure it's Ben Lawers catching the sun, way, way, way north. Has to be. I turn west and watch the Nethan gorge turn dark as the sun hits the hills. The street lights of home start to light up and burn orange. By pure luck I turn right instead of left to circle round and look at Lanark again. I catch a sight that drops my jaw. The moon is rising over the hills. I have the top of the moon peeking above one set of hills and the sun disappearing over another set of hills. It's almost perfectly aligned. Where I'm standing I'm the only person that can see this. I don't know if I should take photographs or just watch. In the end I just watch and try to take photographs at the same time. Then it's over. That special moment. The sun has gone and the moon is up. I linger on a bit in disbelief. I've never seen a sunset/moonrise as good as that ever. Even now I can't adequately describe it. The photographs don't either but I was there. The Blackhill really is a bit special in my opinion and any chance I get I walk up it. It never disappoints.

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You can find a full set of photographs on flickr, Blackhill.

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