The Clyde Valley should be a must visit for visitors to the South of Scotland, unfortunately most visitors are drawn to Edinburgh or Glasgow, the names that spring easily to mind and of course the major cities, but, within 45 minutes drive of those places the visitor can find the treasures that lie in the Clyde Valley.
History? There is lots of it, and some bits are very old, 2000 years old enough? Roman remains and a Roman footbridge can be found at Strathclyde Country Park, Motherwell. Castle’s? Yes, and here are just four of them that could be visited in one day. 13th century Bothwell at Uddingston, 16th century Craignethan at Crossford, 16th century Cadzow in the grounds of Chatelherault Country Park and, 14th century Avendale in the small village of Strathaven.
At the western end of the Valley the town of East Kilbride, Calderglen Country Park, for a real family day out with a children's zoo, visitor centre, miles of woodland and riverside walks, ornamental gardens, cafe and many different animals and plants can be seen in the conservatory. The visitor may also have time to visit the museum of rural life also in East Kilbride with a 1950s working farm and permanent displays of the history of the Scottish countryside.
At the Eastern end of the Valley the visitor will discover New Lanark, a world heritage site. The mills were built over 200 years ago along side the River Clyde from where the energy came to power the looms. Social pioneer Robert Owen, the son-in-law of the owner David Dale, provided for the employees, many from the worst areas of Glasgow, free health care, decent homes, fair wages and education that included the first nursery school in the world.
A boardwalk that commences in the grounds of New Lanark Mill leads, through wonderful scenery and beside the River Clyde, past the art deco style building at the hydro electric power station to the Falls of Clyde. There is a fine extract from the diary of Dorothy Wordsworth, sister to William, who toured the area in 1803 along with William and the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge that can be found on the internet. The artist Turner’s painting of “The Falls of Clyde” that is on show at Liverpool art gallery can also be found.
Many large towns in lanarkshire such as Motherwell are known from their past history of exporting steel to the world but now boast Strathclyde Country Park where the aforementioned Roman footbridge and the remains of a bath house can be visited. With the man made loch that is used for many boating and sailing events, woodland walks and a camping site this is a place of interest for the whole family and you would have to prise the kids away from the theme park that is within the country park.
Garden Centres abound throughout the Clyde Valley. Once, and for many years, named “The Garden of Scotland” with the ideal climate that produced tomatoes and fruit that fed the UK. Call in to any of these, have a look around, and then take time for the home baking that is offered in the restaurant.
Small pretty villages like Strathaven, pronounced by the locals as “Straven”, the home of the one time highest paid entertainer in the world, Harry Lauder. Antiques and collectables? Yes, just past Garrion Bridge, churches of great age and so much more, and not forgetting friendly local folk, What else could you ask for?
If you are unable to get to Scotland right now my website with more information and photographs from my collection can be visited, a link can be found on my profile page.
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