Carnwath is at the heart of Scotland's central belt and is reputed to be the town furthest away from the sea anywhere in Scotland!
Carnwath is an unusual place with a distinctive and attractive character. The village itself comprises a single street, set in open moorland. Little remains of the castle, but the impressive motte on which it was built can still be seen at Carnwath Golf Club, founded in 1907 at the west end of the village.
Carnwath also hosts the oldest foot race in Scotland - and probably Europe - The Red Hose Race, dating back to March 13th 1508! It has seen many changes over almost 500 years but the running of The Red Hose is still a strong tradition in Carnwath. Just incase you are wondering, hose was the Scots word for stockings or long socks, and each year a foot race is run at Carnwath and the local Laird must provide a pair of red stockings as the prize.
On the main street you will find traditional stores and craft shops, including a jewellers, but as the shops don't have modern frontages it feels like you're taking a step back in time.
If you fancy a bite to eat stop in at the Robertson Arms Hotel or the Wee Bush Inn. Until a recent fire, the Wee Bush was the only pub in Scotland to have a thatched roof. For insurance reasons it has unfortunately had to be replaced with slates. The Inn's other claim to fame is that actor Oliver Reed was a regular visitor.
Although Carnwath is predominately agricultural the village also provides an excellent base for commuters, being so close to both Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Carnwath is only a short drive from the historic town and royal burgh of Lanark. Lanark is home to the world-famous New Lanark World Heritage Site and Castlebank Park, which has a childrens play area, and is a great day out for the whole family.
Castlebank park also provides access to the Clyde Walkway.
A Brief History of Carnwath
At the centre of Carnwath is Carnwath Cross, the mercat cross, set back a little where the Main Street widens to form the Market Square. This was erected by the 5th Lord of Somerville in 1516 to celebrate the granting of burgh status to the village in 1514.
On the opposite side of the main road from the golf club and motte is Carnwath Parish Church. At first sight this looks like a fairly standard 1800s church with spire. But a stroll round the west side reveals a surprise, an almost separate tiny chapel, of a very much earlier date. This is actually St Mary's Aisle, a surviving part of the collegiate church founded here in 1425 by Thomas, First Lord Somerville and incorporating a church established in 1386.
St Mary's Aisle is the only remaining part of the Collegiate Church built in Carnwath in 1386. It stands at the west entrance to Carnwath alongside the parish church and is recognised as a Category A listed building. St Mary's Aisle is the mausoleum of the Lockhart family and previously of the Earls of Carnwath and the Lords Somerville.