Recently I walked from Strathclyde Park to Crossford, near Lanark, with a few friends. We were looking for the wildlife around the Clyde and any unusual birds in the area. The distance is 13.5 miles.
The Clyde Walkway is a 40 mile path which runs from Glasgow Science Centre to New Lanark. It passes some lovely scenery on its journey from the City to the World Heritage Centre at New Lanark.
Many people have walked part of the route in Glasgow City Centre, as the walkway from the Science Centre to the City Centre is a very pleasant walk. Today we will walk from Strathclyde Park to Crossford.
The first part of the walk was through familiar territory as it follows the route I take when I go bird watching at Baron’s Haugh. It was not familiar to my friends, so I was able to point out areas of interest to them.
I never get tired of this walk, as there is always something interesting to see. It follows the River Clyde and passes Baron’s Haugh, a haven for birdwatchers.
On the right-side of the path is the River Clyde and I am always on the look-out for kingfishers and any other birds on the river.
Arriving at Baron’s Haugh we make a quick detour to look at the birds on the Haugh before walking to Adders Gill. We have been told Jays have been spotted there so I keep my small binoculars handy.
Adders’ Gill is where a pumping station was once located to pump water from the Clyde to Ravenscraig Steelworks. It is no longer there, but the remains of it can be seen.
A number of Jays can be seen and heard in the trees here and we stop to look at these colourful birds.
Local bird expert, Jimmy Maxwell, was also there observing the bird life on the Clyde. We stop and have a chat with Jimmy before continuing through a field and along the river.
At this point I start to feel quite nervous because there are cattle grazing in the field. It’s not the first time someone has been trampled by a herd of cows, but they seem unaware that we are there. This is a nice part of the walk and we enjoy the scenery as we walk along to Lower Carbarns.
The walkway then continues along a farm road until it once again turns onto a dirt path along the Clyde. We are now walking towards Upper Carbarns. On the other side of the River can be seen the busy A72 Lanark Road, a contrast to the quiet path we are on.
We are Being Invaded!
The edge of the path has some pink wild flowers growing along it and we stop to look at these small flowers. However, on closer inspection they turn out to be Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera), which was introduced into Britain in 1839 and is regarded as a nuisance. Like rhododendron and Japanese Knotweed, they compete with native species and monopolise the local environment.
In the distance can be seen a magnificant building. This is Cambusnethan Priory, built in the 1800’s by Major-General Sir Graeme and Lady Emily Lockhart. It was unfortunately destroyed by fire in the 1970’s. We see the remains of the building in the distance.
Approaching Highmainshead Wood, the garden centres and nurseries of the Clydeside can be seen on the other side of the river. This part of the Clydeside was famous for growing tomatoes and other Mediterranean food until it became more economical to import these from abroad.
Some food is still grown there but not as much as it was in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
We soon arrive at a small green iron footbridge which is used by anglers to cross the river. This may be an option to leave the walkway for walkers who are unable to continue through illness or fatigue.
The path then leaves the riverbank and turns left through some woods to a farm track. In the distance can be seen the Horsley Brae, which is the road which runs between Garrion Bridge and Overtown. As we approach Cardies Bridge, a buzzard flies overhead and lands on a tree.
The road is busy and we wonder how long it will take to cross it. A cyclist can be seen making good progress up the hill despite the steep climb. He is making better progress than I ever could on a racing bike, that’s for sure.
Crossing the road is much easier that we thought, as there is a break in the traffic. We continue down a minor road and pick up the walkway again.
We are now in Maudslie Woods and it reminds us of Dalzell Estate and New Lanark. The path soon leads us back to the river and we continue on towards Maudslie Bridge. However, somewhere along the way we take a wrong turning and again arrive back in the woods.
The path we are on takes us to a small road and we walk
along this road instead of the riverbank path to reach Maudslie Bridge. This is popular with anglers and there is a beautiful house at the end of the it.
Milton Lockhart Farm
We again join the walkway and continue along the river. The village of Rosebank can be seen on the other side of the river. The path continues along the river again, before taking us through woods and past Milton Lockhart Farm. This part of the walkway has a few steep slopes and some steps and is the hardest part of the walk today.
After walking 11 miles, we take our time climbing the steps because tiredness is creeping into our legs. This part of the walk is very pleasant and very enjoyable, despite the difficulties we experience with the climbs.
I point out a banking with a number of holes in it and explain that this was the home to sandmartins earlier in the summer.
The path then once again takes us back to the river and makes for easier walking once again. At the start of the walk my GPS said we were walking at 3.9mph but this had now fallen to 3.2mph. We have walked 12 miles now and there are only about 1.5 miles to walk.
The rest of the walk towards Crossford is along the riverbank on open ground until we arrive at the minor Braidwood Road. We cross this road and continue onto ‘The Valley’ a small activity area with shops, a cafe and a miniature railway.
We stop at the cafe for a rest and a snack before getting the 317 bus back to Hamilton.
Review of the Walk
The walk was 13.7 miles. The wildlife seen was Canada geese, Tufted Ducks, Wigeon, Swifts, Buzzard, Sanderling, Magpie, Crows and Grey squirrels.
The path is very under-used which is unfortunate, as it is a very good walk.
There was a lack of signposts at some places and I was glad I had taken an OS map with me as I had to refer to it a few times to keep in the right direction.
However, this is an excellent walk and is not too difficult.