Category Archives: Walking Links

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Baby Geese

This morning when I was out playing a round of golf with the ‘girls’, we spotted a family of Canada geese on one of the fairways.Fortunately, they were quite near the tee, so were not in too much danger of being hit by a ball.

After my golf round, I went home and came back with my scope and camera to take some photographs of this lovely family. The  weather forecast had been for rain, but it turned out to be a lovely sunny day.   

Here are some photographs of the birds.  

Canada Geese on the fairway looking towards the tee
Under the watchful eye of mum
Dad looking out for any danger
Dad having a snack

 After being on the fairway, the family made their way to the pond for a relaxing swim, but stopped off in the undergrowth for another snack. This gave me a chance to get some good close-up images of the young ones.

Baby Canada Goose
Another baby
Another baby
Swimming in the pond
Safely between mum and dad for safety

Looking over the pond, I also saw some Greylag Geese with their young. They were a bit far away, but the photograph came out okay.

Greylag Geese

A Moorhen was in the distance with her young but was too far away to photograph well.

All the photographs were taken by digiscope and they turned out well. What a great way to spend an afternoon!

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Filed under Bird Watching, Lanarkshire, Scotland, Short Walks, strathclyde, Wildlife

Carpet of Bluebells

While playing golf this morning I noticed bluebells through the boundary fence. I decided to go back in the afternoon and photograph them. I used my camera phone, which does give some good results.

Bluebells

Thanks to horse racing at Hamilton Park, which is just beside the golf course, I went up to the boundary fence to watch a race and saw an abundance of bluebells in the woods. In England they are called common bluebells and are associated with ancient woodland. Bluebells only grow in ancient woodland.

In the United Kingdom, an ancient woodland is a woodland that has existed continuously since 1600 or before in England and Wales and 1750 in Scotland.

Bluebells
Bluebells

  As the photographs above show, the bluebells look lovely and, being in quite a remote area, have not been trampled on.

Close-up of bluebells

Sadly, bluebells only flower in April and May but they do a spectacular display.

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Filed under Scotland, Short Walks, strathclyde

Lunchtime Walk – Linn Park 2

The weather on Friday was bright and sunny and quite mild for early February. We decided to walk again in Linn Park, but this time on the opposite side of White Cart, from the walk we had done a few days before.

As it would have taken a good 40 minutes to walk to the entrance of the park, we took a no. 6 bus along Clarkston Road to the entrance, which reduced the time to 7 minutes. We were starting and finishing at different points so could not take the car.

Commonwealth Games 2014

Arriving at the park we saw that it was a designated hub park for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. 

Hub Park

The entrance into the park is by a tarmac path so our shoes did not get as muddy as they had on the walk a few days previously. 

Entrance to Linn Park

I was familiar with this part of the park, as I had been there in 2012.  

Path in Linn Park

It was a lovely early Spring day, as the photographs above show. 

Path in Linn Park

The advantage of walking early in the year is that there are better views of the river as they are not restricted by foliage. 

Small footbridge

 A small footbridge takes visitors over the White Cart Water to the other side. Some dog walkers were there with a number of dogs, which were all very friendly.  

View of the Park

Linn House

In the photograph above a mansion house can be seen in the top right. This is Linn House, which was built around 1811 for Rev. James Hall. A short time later he became bankrupt, resulting in the house and estate being put up for auction on behalf of the creditors. 

Linn Waterfall

We were able to view the waterfall from the other side of the river and get closer than we had been on the other side of the river. 

Signpost

The park is well signposted and the above photograph shows lovely blue sky. 

Countryside in Glasgow

In the photograph above, it is difficult to believe it was taken in one of the largest cities in Europe! It looks like it was taken in the Scottish countryside and not in an industrial city. 

White Cart Water

Our walk through the park was coming to an end and we soon arrived at Snuffmill Bridge where we had started from on our walk a few days previously. It had been a great walk. We arrived back at the office for our last few hours of the working week before the weekend arrived.

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Filed under Glasgow City, Lanarkshire, Scotland, Short Walks, strathclyde

Lunchtime Walk – Linn Park, Glasgow

One of the advantages of working in the South Side of Glasgow is the number of lovely parks within a short distance from my office. Last week I had walked with a colleague through Queens Park and this week we went to Linn Park.

I had been on a walk in the Linn Park in August 2012 (which can be viewed here ) so I was familiar with many of the paths in the park. 

Holmwood House

One of the first places we visited on the walk was Holmwood House which was designed by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson’s and is regarded as his finest domestic design. It was built in 1857-8 for James Couper, a local businessman. The house is managed by the National Trust for Scotland and is only open from April to September. We were able to walk round the house and its grounds.

Holmwood House 

Snuffmill

After walking round the grounds of Holmwood House, we found a walk beside White Cart Water and arrived at Snuffmill Bridge. The original mill was built in the18th century as Cathcart Meal Mill and became a cardboard mill in 1812 for Solomon Lindsay of Penicuik. In 1814 a snuff mill was added. The River Cart was an important river for industrial use.  

Snuffmill Bridge

The view from the bridge was very pleasant as the photographs below show.

View from Snuffmill Bridge
View from Snuffmill Bridge

The path along the river was quite muddy, but we had walking shoes on and not office ones!   

 In some places there were steep steps, but they were easy to climb.

White Cart Water

Linn Park Waterfall
We came to a waterfall, which is the most popular feature in the park. When I were last in this area in August 2012 the waterfall was disappointing, but today it had plenty of water cascading over it. Linn is the Scottish word for waterfall.

Waterfall in Linn Park February, 2014

In August 2012 the waterfall was less spectacular.

Waterfall August 2012

We had time to admire the waterfall before making our way back to the office. It has been a pleasant walk.

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Filed under Buildings, General, Glasgow City, Scotland, Short Walks, strathclyde

Flooding on Rivers Clyde and Avon, Lanarkshire

With the weather being so bad we decided to stay in the local area rather than risk getting caught up in any travel chaos and went for a walk along the Rivers Avon and Clyde. 

Normally this is a fairly pleasant walk or cycle, but today involved jumping over large puddles, climbing over high fences and running across a main dual carriageway. The reason for this was the flooding in the area. 

This was quite extensive with the water level reaching three feet in some places and required fishing waders to walk through. As neither of us possess fishing waders, it was easier to find an alternative route. 

Flooding on cycle path at Smithycroft

Flooding is quite common during the winter and usually you can wade through it wearing normal walking boots, but not at the moment!

Where Rivers Clyde and Avon meet

At one point in the walk, where the Rivers Clyde and Avon meet  – the water level was very high and the path under the Clyde Bridge, joining the main towns of Motherwell and Hamilton, was flooded.

Flooding on path under the Clyde Bridge

Taking a short detour to the main Motherwell Road and crossing the dual carriageway seemed the best option, so we had to run across to the central reservation, climb over the barrier and run to the other side. Fortunately, no police cars were in the area!

Fashionable Dog!

Fashionable dog!

In Strathclyde Park we saw a small Long-haired Chihuahua wearing an Adidas hoodie! According to his owners, these are very fashionable and are known by the brand name, Adidog! I managed to get a photo of the wee fella modelling his red hoodie as shown above. What a wee cutie!

Flooding on motorway underpass between Motherwell and Hamilton

Flooded Underpass Again!

The underpass between Motherwell and Hamilton is always flooded when there is a period of prolonged rain. From the photo above, it can be seen that the path is not level and this is the cause of water gathering on one side, as well as there being no drainage. The water was waist high, so a dingy would have come in handy!

Commonwealth Games

With the Commonwealth games only a few months away, one wonders if the local council is going to fix this, as the path will be used by a large number of people. I suppose we will have to wait and see. The triathlon will be held in Strathclyde Park so we will go down to watch the action as it unfolds.

Goosander on the River Clyde

On the River Clyde, adjacent to the footbridge between Motherwell and Hamilton, we saw a pair of Goosander. Goosander are usually shy birds and keep well away from areas where many people pass through. As the underpass above was flooded and the footbridge  was the only access to it, the area was quiet and so the Goosander probably thought it was safe to swim in the area.

Male Goosander
Male and female Goosander

Goosander are the largest of the sawbills. I took some photographs with my video camera as I can zoom in close, although the resulting photographs are never the best quality. The top photograph above shows a close-up of the male and the hooked end to his bill. This is used for catching fish as the bill has sharp serrations.

The bottom photograph shows the male and female. The female has brown markings as opposed to the black of the male.

It had been another eventful day.

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Filed under Bird Watching, Lanarkshire, Scotland, Short Walks, strathclyde, Wildlife

Historic Walk Around New Lanark

Last weekend I went on a tour of sites of the historic mills around the River Clyde to learn more about the significance of water power in the area which was organised by Ken and Jim from the Clydesdale Mills Society. The walk started from the Scottish Wildlife Visitor Centre and was along the banks of the River Clyde to Cora Linn before a short climb to Bonnington to see the Walled Garden of the former Bonnington House, Bonnington Pavilion and the remains of Bonnington Saw Mill.

The water level on the River Clyde was very high, due to very heavy rain on the Friday evening, and this added to the enjoyment of the day, as the falls were looking quite spectacular.

Using Water to Power Machinery

Before the availability of affordable electricity, water was used to power large wheels for milling flour,  grinding wood into pulp for papermaking and crushing fibers for use in the manufacture of cloth.

A dam holds a large volume of water (Dundaff Linn)

To ensure a large volume of water is available to power the water wheel, a dam is built to create a ‘head’ of water to build up. This is channelled to the wheel by a ‘race’  which can range in distance from a few feet to many miles from the dam to the mill site. The same race may serve one mill or many mills. At the mouth of the race there is often a gate which stops debris from damaging the water wheel.

View of the above dam from a distance (Dundaff Linn)

The race can either be a head or tail race are have gates which allow the mill operator to control how much water is in the race to enter the water wheel. These two types of gates are called head gate and sluice gate. A flume, or sluice carries the water at an elevated level above ground to the water wheel. The above photographs are of Dundaff Linn, which at 10 feet, is the smallest fall.

When the water is released, it is directed to the top of the water wheel. The wheel spins faster due to the falling water and pushed the wheel round at a higher speed. After the water flows through the water wheel it is then returned to the stream below the mill. It flows through a tail race.

Retort House Chimney at Dundaff Linn

In the photograph above, a chimney can be seen on the left of the photograph. This is Retort House Chimney which dates from1825. It is a tapered octagonal sandstone chimney on square plinth with plain cope. It is a remnant of an earlier 19th century gas-making plant. Most Scottish chimneys were constructed from brick, and this octagonal stone chimney is a rare survival from the 19th Century and therefore particularly significant.

It is the last remaining part of the village gasworks where coal gas was used to provide lighting for cotton production in the mills, as well as for lighting in the village. Two small gasholders once stood next to a small U-plan Retort House which was sited where the present viewing area is now located.

The chimney is also an important visual element of the mills complex providing a vertical accent at the termination of the view. In 1873 another large stack, this time in brick, was built for the steam boilers and appears in late19th century views of the village but this has since been demolished.

Origins of New Lanark

The mills at New Lanark were in operation from 1786 to 1968 and built to exploit the water power offered by the Falls of Clyde. The mill village has industrial, residential and community buildings which date from between 1786 and the 1820s. The village was founded by David Dale and expanded by Robert Owen, who took over management of the mill village in partnership from 1799.

Owen created an environment where child labour and corporal punishment were abolished, and provided workers with good homes, education and free health care as well as affordable food. He had a profound influence on social developments such as factory reform throughout the 19th century.

Bonnington Power Station

While the mills have all but disappeared at New Lanark, ScottishPower still make use of the water on the Clyde to generate electricity. The Bonnington Power Station is situated between Corra Linn and Dundaff Linn, with a water inlet at Bonnington Linn. It was built in 1927 and was the first hydro-electric power station in Scotland. It generates approximately 11 MW from a total head of 51 metres (167 ft).

Pipes transporting water to Bonnington Power Station

 Corra Linn

Falls of Clyde at Corra Linn

The falls at Corra Linn (“linn” is the Scottish word for waterfall) are a spectacular sight most of the time but at the weekend they were looking fantastic. We stopped for a while to admire the view before continuing on. Near the top of the above photograph can be see a rocky area. The photograph below shows this in closer detail.

The rocky area which starts from the  top left and sweeps to the bottom right was the site of a mill, but little remains of it. Looking closely through my binoculars, I could see a Dipper in the river.

Corra Linn

 Walled Garden of Bonnington House

The walk at this point moved away from the river to higher ground in the Bonnington area. We were informed that the higher ground was created after the melting of the ice after the Ice Age which left gravel and sand behind. On this part of the walk we came across the remains of the Walled Garden of Bonnington House. Much of the wall is intact which gives some indication of the quality of the workers who built it.

Walled Garden of Bonnington House
Bonnington Pavillion

The pavilion is a square structure of two stories with its principal façade towards the first Bonnington House, now demolished. The Bonnington Pavilion is said to have been built for Sir James Carmichael as it has the monogram IC and the date 1708 carved on the stair newels. His exact date of his birth is unknown but as his parents married in 1684 he may have come of age in 1707/8. 

The Bonnington Pavilion is a remarkable and fortunate survival. It was used as a hunting tower, tea room and viewing platform for the surrounding landscape and Corra Linn falls. It was one of the earliest such structure in British architecture and on the Continent. It is now a ruin with only its four walls and a stone fire surround remaining.

The walls on the first floor  had centrally placed windows, with external carved stone architraves and decorative sills. That window overlooking the Clyde was later enlarged and given an iron balcony in the nineteenth century. Mirrors were also introduced at that time to create surprising views of the waterfalls from the upper room.

Bonnington Pavillion

We walked along a narrow path before turning right into a field. I was familiar with this field as I had gone on a bird-watching walk in Spring with the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Field at Bonnington

When I was last in the field we had stopped for lunch and the two horses had come over to get some food. On the day we were there again the horses ignored us and spent their time munching grass. I was told that there was also a Shetland Pony in the field which used to kick the white horses until one day one of them kicked the little Shetland Pony so hard it has to be put to sleep by a vet.

After leaving the field, we walked down a small road to the site of the Bonnington Sawmill. The site was covered in soil and has this is being removed by members and friends from the Clydesdale Mills Society.

Remains of Bonnington Mills

The site has to be carefully excavated to avoid damaging any objects which are found. This means that the work will take months rather than weeks to excavate but it has resulted in some interesting objects being found.

Some objects found at Bonnington Mills

When the site excavation is completed, it will be opened for visitors to investigate. More photographs of the site can be seen here.

The day finished with the walk back to the visitor centre. On the way back, a pair of Peregrine were spotted in the sky in pursuit of some Sand Martins. It was the perfect conclusion to a great afternoon out.

Further Information

The Clydesdale Mills Society website has detailed information about the mills in South Lanarkshire (link below). 

Clydesdale Mills Society.

New Lanark

Scottish Wildlife Trust

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Filed under General, Lanarkshire, New Lanark, Scotland, Short Walks

Hamilton – South Lanarkshire

During the month of August my friends and I take a trip to the Edinburgh Festival to sample the atmosphere at this great event. However, today it was very wet so the visit was postponed until next Saturday when the forecast is for much brighter weather.

However, a bit of rain does not deter me from going out so I went to Chatelherault Country Park in Hamilton where the ‘Scotland’s Festival of History’ event was being held. The rain was very heavy when I arrived and the park was very quiet. While I was walking over to have a look at the history event I met a neighbour who had lost her dog in the park due to it being spooked by a loud noise. I felt obliged into helping her find the dog which we eventually succeeded in doing.

By this time the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. I looked round the event and took a photograph from the top of the hill in front of Chatelherault House. It looked poorly attended, which was probably due to the earlier wet weather and the charging of an entrance fee.

Scotland’s Festival of History

 Cadzow White Cattle

Walking back to Hamilton, I saw some of the Cadzow White Cattle in a field. These cattle used to freely roam on the Duke of Hamilton’s Estate. There are only two herds of these cattle left in the UK. The other herd is in Chillingham in Northumberland.

Cadzow White Cattle

 Avon Bridges

Further along I came to the Old Avon Bridge which was built before the 16th century and enlarged about the beginning of the 18th century. The bridge has been extensively restored and is said to have been built by the monks from Lesmahagow Priory.

This bridge has three segmental arches and the roadway averages 9ft in width. It has a cobbled surface which can be quite slippery when riding over it on a mountain bike. The bridge was once used by travellers to London.

Old Avon Bridge

From the Old Avon Bridge can be seen the new Avon Bridge which was built in the 19th Century and became the main bridge for travelling south.

Avon Bridge on the A72

Railway Bridge

From the other side of the Old Avon Bridge can be seen the railway bridge from Hamilton to Motherwell. The railway line was constructed in the 1840′s and contributed to the growth of Motherwell to becoming one of the major steel producing areas in the world.

Railway Bridge over the River Avon  

Avon Mill

In front on the railway bridge can be seen a small dam. This was to provide large quantities of water to power a mill which was situated near the present road bridge. Although a ruin at present, there is potential for this to be developed in the future.

Avon Lodge

On one side of Old Avon Bridge is a very old building which is still in use today both as a dwelling house and dog kennels. This was probably used in the past by weary travellers on their way south. The present owners have retained the character of the building, but this is probably due to it being a listed building. (A listed building in the United Kingdom is a building that has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest).

Avon Water

 River Avon

The remainder of my walk was through woodland paths. A closer look at the water on the River Avon showed how clear it was – the brown colour is from the peat particles in the riverbed.

Butterfly

 Wild Flowers and Insects

There were plenty of butterflies and some Honey bees to be seen. The Honey bees were attracted to the Creeping Thistle plants which were growing in abundance along the riverbed.

Creeping Thistle

Although regarded as a nuisance by gardeners, the Creeping Thistle is important to many insects including Honey bees and their seeds form an important part of the diet of many farmland birds.

 Friendly Dogs

Just before  completing my walk I met two Labrador dogs – Weston and Quiver. Weston had been trained as a guide dog for the blind, but just before completing his training failed when he started eating food from the pavement.

Quiver was only 4 months old and was starting his training to become a guide dog. Both dogs were lovely and friendly. Hopefully Quiver makes it as a guide dog and allows a blind person to have some independence.

It had been a good day after all, considering the wet start.

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Filed under Chatelherault, General, Lanarkshire, Scotland, Short Walks, strathclyde, Wildlife