Thank goodness for autumn. The cloud was as low as the treetops, and below that there was a fine drizzle. So the prospect of enjoying a walk seemed slim – if it wasn’t for the delightful show of vivid oranges, browns and reds on the trees, like lights in the gloom.
It was with this positive thought that I set off from New Lanark, one of the most interesting industrial landmarks in Scotland. This World Heritage Site has preserved the cotton mills that once thundered in the town during the 18th century, a local industry run with more than passing glance to the welfare of its workers and their families.
Beyond New Lanark are the Falls of Clyde, always made more impressive after a big dollop of wet weather – no problem there then. Despite the crashing water, you can still hear the chirping of little birds, and my mood was lifted further when a path of blue became visible in the sky.
It didn’t last long, but the walk definitely proved that it is good to get outdoors in almost any weather. •
DISTANCE 6 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 820ft.
TIME 3½ to 4½ hours.
MAP OS Landranger 71.
PARKING Follow brown signs from the A73 in the centre of Lanark to reach the main car park for New Lanark World Heritage Site.
IN SUMMARY To the right of the car park as you drive in is a surfaced path that leads down to New Lanark. At the bottom, go left and then, after a red phone box, go right, through metal gates. At the bottom of steps, go left to follow a road out of the village and past the Scottish Wildlife Trust visitor centre – visit for a map.
After the centre, go left up steps. At the top, go right, following a sign for the Falls of Clyde. The path passes the first of the falls – Dundaff Linn – then continues by the river. There are a number of fenced viewpoints just off the path, along the first part of the route – use these rather than putting safety at risk on the clifftops. On the return section, there are less fenced areas so more care is needed, especially if you are walking with children.
At a fork, keep right, by the river, to follow a boardwalk. At the end of this, join a track and go right to pass a house. At a power station, go right at a fork, past two large pipes, and up a path. At the top of steps you are rewarded with a great view of the falls of Corra Linn. Just before the viewing area, go left, up steps, then go right, following a sign for Bonnington Linn. The path takes you high above Corra Linn, then through woodland to a peregrine watching site – only used in spring, when the chicks are fledging.
Continue up the river, past a dilapidated iron bridge at Bonnington Linn and on to a more modern bridge over a weir. On the other side, go right and right again at a fork about 100 yards on. After a great view of Bonnington Linn, continue on the path, ignoring steps to the left. The path reaches fields and bears right to pass the ruins of the 14th-century Corra Castle.
Continue above the river, passing Corra Linn and some spectacular viewpoints, then follow the path as it drops to the riverside. As it rises again, follow a brown marker and a path going right, signed for Kirkfieldbank and by the river.
On reaching a track next to a field, go right and follow it all the way to the end, where you go right. Drop downhill and cross an old bridge over the Clyde, then go through a gate with a CCTV sign. At the bottom of a track, go through a gate and follow a path by the river to a road. Cross and follow a path uphill on the other side. This joins a road, which you follow until a sign for the Clyde Walkway points you right.
After about 80 yards, go right, down a zig-zag path to reach the river again. Follow this up until you reach a road. Go left and follow it up to the top, where you go right to return to the car park.
REFRESHMEMTS The Mill Pantry Cafeteria in New Lanark is good, in Mill number three.
WHILE IN THE AREA You can spend more than a few hours exploring the 18th-century cotton village of New Lanark (www.newlanark.org), with a range of exhibitions and activities.