Easter Sunday 2015

Easter Sunday started early as I was going to a sunrise service outside Chatelherault House in Fernigair, Hamilton at 06.30. I was going with my friend Susan. I cycled over to meet Susan who was going to travel the short distance to Chatelherault on her kick scooter. It was Susan who got me into scootering and I enjoy it. Susan is very fast on her scooter as she uses it nearly every day. 

It was still quite dark at 06.10 when we set off for Chatelherault so I had brought a small silicon light for Susan to strap onto her handlebars for safety. I was on my bicycle.

Sunrise Service outside Chatelherault House

As we approached the house, we could see a crowd of people has already arrived and were waiting for the service to begin. The minister who was going to conduct the service was the Rev George MacDonald of Hamilton South Parish Church. 

Even although it was early, the crowd was quite large, as many people had managed to get up early for this very important day in the Christian calendar.

The Easter Service

The service itself was a mixture of singing, praying and bible readings and was very enjoyable. 

Breakfast in the Hamilton Old Parish Church

After it ended just at 07.00, Susan and I travelled back to the Old Parish Church on our preferred modes of transport for breakfast rolls. The Church members had laid on an excellent menu with rolls and sausage, marmalade or jam. We decided to have the home made jam on our rolls, which was very enjoyable. This was washed down with a few cups of tea. At 08.30 we left the church to get ready for the next service.

Early in the Garden – St John’s Church, Hamilton

The next service was at 09.30 in the garden of St John’s Church in Hamilton which was conducted by the Rev Joanne Hood and her assistant. The theme was ‘The stone had been rolled away and the grave was empty’. 

There was the opportunity to rejoice in the risen Saviour and to celebrate the Last Supper with bread and wine. In the Church of Scotland the ‘wine’ is grape juice which is more in line with what was drunk in Jesus time.  

The sun was shining throughout the service. This added to the enjoyment of this special day.

Wooden cross with daffodils

After the short service in the garden, the members of the congregation were invited to each take a daffodil and walk into the church and place it on the cross which had been made from last year’s Christmas tree.  

Wooden cross and magnificent church organ

St John’s Church itself is a very modern building and was only renovated a few years ago. The seats are very comfortable, unlike the hard wooden seats which many churches had years ago.

St John’s Church

It had been an eventful morning and it was only 10.10. The morning church service had yet to begin at 10.45. There was still a lot of things to look forward to.

Further Information:

Hamilton South Parish Church
Hamilton Old Parish Church   
St John’s Church, Hamilton 
Church of Scotland
Chatelherault House


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.


 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.

Ancient Woodland Flowers

Today I had my first glimpse of a small number of Bluebell growing in Strathclyde Park in Motherwell. These are beautiful blue flowers which are found in damp woodland areas. Other areas in Lanarkshire where Bluebells are found are at Chatelherault Country Park in Hamilton and Baron’s Haugh in Motherwell.

Bluebells Very Common in the UK

Over 50% of the world’s Bluebells are native to the UK.They tend to bloom in Scotland in May and provide a carpet of blue flowers which is quite spectacular.

The Bluebells I saw today covered a small area so I will wait for more Bluebells to come into bloom in the next few weeks to get a more spectacular view of them.

Bluebells grow in ancient woodland which is defined as woodland which has been in existence since 1750 in Scotland and 1600 in England.

Close-up of Bluebells
Small area with Bluebells

Ancient Woodland

Bluebells are a good indication that the area is ancient woodland. Since 1998, bluebells have been protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA). It is illegal to collect wild bluebells and sell them for profit. 

Wild Garlic (Ramsons)

Wild Garlic is another common plant found at this time of year, also in damp woodland. It can be identified by the strong smell of garlic and has been popular as an ingredient in cooking since Richard Mabey first wrote about it in his book “Food for Free” in the 1972. 

I have the Collins Gem version of the book and have collected a few ingredients on my walks to use in cooking without poisoning myself!

Wild Garlic
Wild Garlic
Cuckoo Flower

The Cuckoo Flower

The Cuckoo Flower (also called Lady’s Smock in reference to the Virgin Mary) is so called because its flowers come out at the same time of year as the cuckoo calls. Both the flowers and leaves are edible and contain large amounts of vitamin C. It is also a flower found in ancient woodland.


While looking at the Cuckoo Flowers we caught sight of two types of butterflies – Red Admiral and Orange-tipped. Unfortunately, they were flying too fast to get a photograph of them.

Our walk around Strathclyde Park and along the banks of the River Clyde did not produce any other interesting flowers.

Greylag Geese and Goslings

On the way back, there an open-air pop concert being held in the Park and the loud music did not deter the youngsters below from exploring the area. 

Greylag Geese and Goslings

The goslings above were swimming about in the water under the watchful eyes of both parents. They seem to nest in the small island which houses the observation tower used in sailing and rowing events on Strathclyde Loch.

The geese did attract a lot of attention from adults and children and they did not seem afraid of people.

It had been a good day out. 

Further Information

Strathclyde Park:
366 Hamilton Road


Grid Reference: NS728567