Larkhall to Blantyre
Start: Larkhall Station
Finish: David Livingstone Memorial (Blantyre Station)
Refreshment: Chatelherault Visitor Centre; Waterfront cafe; Watersports centre - Strathclyde Country Park; David Livingstone Centre
Distance: 9 1/2 miles
Time: 2-4 hours
Difficulty: Larkhall to Strathclyde Park – easy. SP to Bothwell Bridge – hard. Bothwell Bridge to Blantyre – moderate.
Terrain: excellent traffic-free cycle paths, quiet residential roads – short section in Blantyre on main road
A recently opened section along Bothwell Road in Hamilton extends the NCN 74 to Blantyre and it is only in Blantyre where it is necessary to share the road with the traffic and then only for short distances. Convenient and efficient though the new cycle routes are, you should not forget to stop off and visit Chatelherault and Hamilton Mausoleum. Also make sure you visit the David Livingstone Centrein this the 200th anniversary year of his birth.
Points of Interest
1. Chatelherault Hunting Lodge
was built in 1732 for the Duke of Hamilton. It is the centrepiece of the 500-acre woodland country park
2. Hamilton Mausoleum
A massive sandstone-domed mausoleum built in 1842 as the burial place of the Dukes of Hamilton. It is all that remains of the grand palace complex that once stood nearby. It is renowned for its echo.
3. Bothwell Bridge
In 1679, 6000 Covenanters and 5000 government troops met here in battle. The Covenanters, poorly equipped and untrained, were quickly defeated. More than 600 died and 1200 were taken prisoner.
4. David Livingstone Centre
Livingstone –marks the birthplace of the renowned missionary. The museum recalls his upbringing and time in Africa. This year is the 200th anniversary of his birth and many special events have been planned. www.davidlivingstone200.org
From Larkhall station go up the ramp and continue to the left along Caledonian Road past the Coalyard café to the T-junction with Raploch Street. Turn right, continue to traffic lights and turn left. Follow Hamilton Road for a short distance to a play park on left where you can join the shared pedestrian/cycle path.
Follow the cycle path (NCN 74) downhill out of Larkhall. In Ferniegair the path narrows and it is necessary to cross and cycle for a short distance before crossing again to enter Chatelherault Country Park. Join the avenue and follow uphill towards the hunting lodge (now a visitor centre). When the avenue turns steeply uphill, go off to the right through a gate to rejoin the cycle path signed for Hamilton, Motherwell and Strathclyde Park. Turn immediately to the right.
Follow tarred cycle path steeply downhill through sets of staggered gates to a set of white gates. Continue through the gates and turn left downhill to cross the old cobbled bridge of Avon. Turn right, rejoin the cycle path and follow the River Avon downstream. Go under the M74 and then under the Clyde Bridge, which can be very muddy, and follow the cycle path though pines to the junction with a path from the Strathclyde Park watersports centre.
Turn left and enter the tunnel under the M74, then follow the cycle path straight ahead past the Hamilton Mausoleum. Join the quiet park road and continue straight on towards a very steep hill (with no through traffic). Climb Mote Hill. At the top, join the cycle path on the right, staying on the right-hand side of Bothwell Road. At an ornate white wall at Hamilton College, cross to the left-hand side of Bothwell Road.
Continue along past the park and downhill past Strathclyde Fire Service HQ. Once over the East Kilbride expressway but before you cross the Clyde, turn left on to a path (the Battle of Bothwell Bridge monument will be on the far side of Clyde on the other side of road). Follow the path past the Lido gardens by the Clyde, where the path narrows and climbs moderately steeply.
At the junction with the motorway, turn right and follow the cycle path across the entrance to Ireland Alloys. At the Scottish Water offices cyclists are required to rejoin the motorway. Follow the road around to the left, signed for the David Livingstone Centre. At the Tjunction with Whistleberry Road turn right. Continue up and over the railway bridge and down to roundabout, where you should take the third exit for Blantyre and go under the expressway. At the next roundabout continue straight on. The shared path resumes on the left and right-hand sides of the road.
Join the one on the right. At the next roundabout turn right down Devlin Grove and join John Street. At David Dale House, turn left and continue past the skate park. Follow the path to right and after a short distance turn left. Continue through a barrier to Station Road and turn right downhill. Blantyre station will be on your right. Continue downhill for David Livingstone Centre.