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|
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|
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|
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.