The River Clyde is Scotland’s second-longest river and has played a vital role in shaping both the country’s destiny and its economic fortunes for many centuries.
From source to sea it travels a winding course for 109 miles, taking in the landmarks of New Lanark and central Glasgow and some of the most stunning natural scenery the British Isles has to offer.
We’ve compiled a list of seven of the best walking routes along the famous River Clyde, beginning at the Lowther Hills and ending at the Firth of Clyde.
Leadhills and Wanlockhead
The picturesque Leadhills and Wanlockhead district is close to the source of the Clyde. Situated on the Lowther Hills, the two villages here are the highest in Scotland and are famous for the mining of lead which began in the 12th century and continued into the 1950s. A trip to the Museum of Lead Mining at Wanlockhead is a must. Work has also started on restoring the old railway line - the highest in Scotland - which should be completed by 2020.
Falls of Clyde and New Lanark
One of Scotland’s most spectacular river walks, this route will take you through New Lanark Mills. The preserved 18th century village fully merits its UNESCO World Heritage status. A short distance from here you’ll come across the magnificent Falls of Clyde, a series of four waterfalls that are truly a sight to behold.
Chatelherault and the Avon Gorge
Leaving from the exotic-sounding Chatelherault, a handsome 18th century hunting lodge designed by William Adam, this walk takes in several kilometres of lush South Lanarkshire woodland on its way to the precipitous Avon Gorge. The path that leads down to the gorge and the White Bridge that spans Avon Water is well worth a detour.
Strathclyde Loch and Roman Bath House
Situated near the Clyde between Hamilton and Motherwell, peaceful Strathclyde Loch was created in the 1970s and involved the flooding of an old mining village at Bothwellhaugh. This walk includes a visit to the fascinating ruins of Bothwellhaugh Roman Fort. An arched Roman bridge spans the South Calder close by.
Kelvingrove to Glasgow Green
An article on the best Clyde walks would not be complete without a trip to the city that was ‘built’ by that very river.
Walking through the centre of Glasgow you will see some of Scotland’s most treasured architectural gems as well as key landmarks from Glasgow’s shipbuilding past.
Starting at Kelvingrove Art Gallery, walk down Argyle Street and make your way towards the footbridge at Clydeside Expressway. Key landmarks along this route towards the verdant Glasgow Green include the many bridges over the Clyde, the Museum of Transport, the Clyde Auditorium and industrial icon the Finnieston Crane.
Overlooking the Clyde is the dramatic Dumbarton Rock, the in-filled crater of an ancient volcano. A must visit is historic Dumbarton Castle, which boasts the longest recorded history of any stronghold in the country. Archaeological digs in the area have proved the existence of a defensive structure on the site as far back as the Iron Age.
Where the mighty river meets the sea, we are greeted by Greenock Cut aqueduct high above Loch Thom in the hills of Inverclyde. Built in the early 19th century, Greenock Cut is a registered ancient monument and boasts some of the most breathtaking views to be found in southern Scotland.
READ MORE: Scottish history timeline from 1054 to 2014