In an attempt to walk more (plus also do some training for the Kiltwalk 2015 which I have signed up to!) I decided we should be getting out and about. There are plenty of great places to walk not far from Edinburgh and also some that make a nice wee daytrip. I dusted of a copy of the The AA’s 100 Walks in Scotland book and came across this walk along the Falls of Clyde. The walk starts at New Lanark World Heritage site, and according to my book is only 6 miles and will take 3 hours to complete, which should leave plenty of time and energy to have a wander round New Lanark itself. (Note: True distance and time can be seen below!)
Falls of Clyde
Start Point: New Lanark Car Park
Distance: 7 miles
Time: 3 hours 15 minutes (inc. time for photo stops)
Difficulty: You have got to like steep hills for this one, mostly flat but steep climbs out of the valley on a number of occasion
From the car park you walk down towards New Lanark and follow the blue Beaver Scottish Wildlife Trust signs until you reach the start of the path up the side of the Clyde. The first part of the walk is on the Red Path, the actual pathway is quite good, a little muddy in some parts but reasonably wide as well. You start on a path and then you are taken off onto a boardwalk down at River level, if this is flooded there is a high level path you can take. You walk past a lovely house with colourful flowers and then you reach the Bonnington Power Station which dates back to about 1926 and is believed to be one of the oldest Hydro Power Stations in the UK (geek factoid there for you!). Its pretty enough but the massive pipes running up the hillside take away from the prettiness of it!
As you start to climb uphill past the station you may start to see a number of photographers, this will be because you are near the Corra Linn, a massive Waterfall which has a view point and is a good photo stop (or rest point!). As you continue on there will be cliff faces on the bank opposite you, here during Spring time you may be able to see Peregrines nest in the rock. Continuing along here you will cross the Bonnington Weir and then you will see the Bonnington Linn – another pretty Waterfall and good photo opportunity judging by the number of people with tripods and big cameras! As you walk past the Bonnington Linn there is a view point where you can look back on the waterfalls. The day we walked this there was a brave soul paddling in the water!
This part of the walk is now on the purple route, which is a loop and takes you back to the Bonnington Linn. We walked down to Corra Castle, which is a ruin of a 14th / 15th Century Castle. The cellars of the castle are used by a population of breeding Daubentons Bats! We didn’t see any thankfully! The Castle is really only marked by some stone walls and the old door.
At Corra Castle you can either loop back round on the purple path or join the yellow path, another loop. We continued along on the yellow path, which runs high on the banks of the River to Mill Weir. This is where the yellow path loops back. We however were following my book and it said to walk on! So we did. This part of the walk was not particularly interesting to be honest and in hindsight we probably should have looped back the way we came. The path takes you past New Lanark Mill and to the village of Kirkfieldbank, and the next crossing over the Clyde. Here as you go over the bridge there is a sign to the Clyde Walkway, which does look like someone’s house, it is but you just walk on through the gate and down the hill to the edge of the water.
And then this is where your fitness / stamina / will to live is tested! You walk along the river and then up a very steep hill to come out a some houses. You take a path sign posted the Clyde Walkway, which looks as if you are walking through someone’s garden. The path is a steep hairpin path all the way back down to the river! Then basically this is repeated until eventually you reappear just beside New Lanark… except you have to walk down the hill to get to it…. and then back up the hill to the car park!
It is a lovely walk, and is great to do part of it or all of it, but I would probably recommend turning back at Mill Weir and going back the way you came, as the rest of the walk really was not the most interesting and was obviously quite tiring! Afterwards we had a nice cup of tea and sandwiches in the New Lanark Cafe.