Walking around Lanarkshire
Summer is almost upon us and this is the time to shake off the winter blues and head for the great outdoors.
Walking is one of the best – many say THE best – ways to maintain a good level of fitness without putting your joints and muscles under too much strain.
But even better than that, it is an excellent way to jettison workday worries and cheer yourself up.
Lanarkshire is blessed with a huge variety of beautiful landscapes to wander through. Why not explore woodland and riverside walks in the Clyde valley and more open walks through fields and along farm tracks around communities such as Biggar.
If you prefer to walk on the wild side, there’s the bracing ascent to one of the highest points of South Lanarkshire, the 2320ft summit of Tinto Hill. Here you are rewarded with a fantastic view taking in the upper Clyde valley and stretching, on a clear day, all the way south to the Lake District, Arran to the west and Glasgow to the north.
Lanarkshire is also home to two of Scotland’s most outstanding and popular country parks – Chatelherault in Hamilton and Calderglen in East Kilbride.
The parks are especially popular with walkers and they offer free, well-designed walking guide pamphlets containing maps, route descriptions and information about plants, trees and wildlife you may see along the way.
Chatelherault and Calderglen are jewels in the crown of Lanarkshire’s architectural and natural heritage. Each park offers a selection of walks and excellent visitor facilities, including a café and wildlife and history displays.
Chatelherault itself was the grand 18th century hunting lodge of the 5th Duke of Hamilton. The building now houses the park’s visitor centre and is the base for the countryside ranger service.
Chatelherault is the starting point for the extremely popular 8km circuit of the densely wooded Avon Gorge, crossing the Avon Water itself by a footbridge. The walk passes the ruins of Cadzow Castle, the medieval stronghold of the Hamiltons and the wonderfully gnarled and twisted Cadzow oaks, believed to have been planted as long as 800 years ago.
Calderglen Country Park also features riverside walks, in this case nature trails that lead you by the Kelvin Burn and the Rotten Calder – rotten refers to the colour of the stone that the sparklingly clear water flows over. Torrance House, which dates from the 1600s, is the focal point of Calderglen Country Park.
The longest walk is the linear Calderwood Trail, which is 4km each way between Torrance House and the site of the former Calderwood Castle.
The path, steep in places, dips down several times to the bank of the Rotten Calder and then sweeps up on to vantage points overlooking the waterfalls of Trough Linn, Black Linn and Castle Falls.
The slopes are protected by fences but parents of young children should take care at the point where the trail crosses the narrow bridge at Newhousemill Road.
No reference to Lanarkshire walks could omit the famous Falls of Clyde, reached from New Lanark World Heritage Site. To see the falls at their best, wait for a long, rainy spell to turn the river into a roaring torrent.
A short walk packed with interest follows the path that runs for little over a mile from Crossford to Craignethan Castle.
The path overlooks the Lower Nethan Gorge, in the care of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The gorge is part of the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve, home to varied birdlife, including warblers and flycatchers, and beautiful in the spring when the ground is carpeted by bluebells and primroses, and in the autumn when the leaves are on the turn.
There is no doubt, that a walk around Lanarkshire will allow you to get up-close with nature whilst experiencing some of the country’s most scenic landscapes. Enjoy!
Dopn't forget to download your Walking in Lanarkshire guide.