Ike explores Chatelherault and Barncluith, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire.

Ike is delighted to be back with his good friend Jane. She has been a great friend to Geography Cat since he first began Project Postcard and the Paw Print Map, and she even took Ike on one of his very first adventures. Now she’s looking after our intrepid stunt double again, and taking him out and about in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. As you’ll see, they might cover even more ground than usual as Jane is a keen cyclist, so Ike’s got wheels!

Ike was impressed with the Old Avon Bridge which dates from the 16th century and has three unequal arches. It was the main bridge over the River Avon and was the main route from Glasgow to London until the new Avon Bridge on the A72 which was designed by Thomas Telford was opened in 1825. It is only open to pedestrians and cyclists and leads to Chatelherault Country Park. It retains a cobbled surface which Ike found a bit bumpy.

After crossing the Old Avon Bridge, Ike and Jane turned right onto the Mineral Railway Path. This path follows the River Avon and was originally used to transport coal from the Avon Valley to the town of Hamilton.

This path leads to the Visitor Centre but involves climbing some steep steps which are made more difficult when trying to carry a bicycle up them. Ike and Jane carried on along the Mineral Railway Path This part of the area was formed during the ice age and Ike was interested by the rock formations on this part of the journey.

The path continues and eventually passes under the Duke’s Bridge. This is an 80 foot (24.38m) high bridge over the Avon Gorge which was commissioned by William, 11th Duke of Hamilton and dates from between 1852 and 1863. Ike and Jane got a good look at the size of the bridge from the Mineral Railway Path.

Ike and Jane continued on Mineral Railway Path which joined up with the Hoolet Row Path and arrived at a sign saying ‘Hoolet Row’.

Hoolet Row was the location of miners’ cottages which were built in the 19th century to house miners who worked in the Duke of Hamilton’s mine at Chatelherault, which was situated near the current entrance. It was named after the owls which nested there. The cottages were pulled down in the 1950’s after the mine was closed. The remains of the cottages can be seen under some of the undergrowth.

Ike and Jane continued on to the Visitor Centre for a look around but the building was closed due to Covid-19. Ike did have a look around the area and was impressed with a wooden structure near the Visitor Centre and house.

Ike was a bit confused with the steep slope in front of Chatelherault House, but Jane explained that it was because there was a sand quarry located there at the start of the 20th century. This part of the landscape is underlain by a thick deposit of sand which was left behind after the Avon Water drained into Lake Clydesdale. This is thought to be the last major lake to form in the Clyde Valley during deglaciation around 20,000 years ago and lay 6km from Chatelherault, near modern day Blantyre.

Ike and Jane walked to the iron display, depicting David Livingstone, William Wallace and Robert Owen before they walked back to the Visitor Centre and crossed the River Avon over the Duke’s Bridge.

Ike and Jane then went to look at the Ancient Oaks which date from the 13th century. Some of these are being carefully looked after and one was severely damaged by fire a few years ago. It was being supported with scaffolding, reminding Ike of what GC has told him about the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest. Hopefully, these trees will be around for a long time.

Ike wanted to see the bridge from the top and look down to the River Avon and the Mineral Railway Path which can be seen from the top of the bridge.

Ike and Jane then passed the remains of Cadzow Castle and walked along the Monument Trail to the Duke’s Monument and the Barncluith area of Hamilton.

The Duke’s Monument was built in 1863 by William, 11th Duke of Hamilton. The two pillars in front of the monument have the crests of Hamilton and Chatelherault on them. The monument is obscured by trees which South Lanarkshire Council are planning to cut down in the near future.

Barncluith is a part of Hamilton adjacent to Carlisle Road. The name ’Baron’s Cleugh’ derives from the word ‘cleugh’ meaning a ravine. There are a few houses at the top of Barncluith Road including Barncluith tower house and Barncluith House. Ike had a look at the driveway to Barncluith House and the well-trimmed trees lining the road to the house.

The latter part of Barncluith Road is private but pedestrians and cyclists are permitted to travel on it on their way to Chatelherault.

South Lanarkshire Council have a map of the trails in Chatelherault Country Park if you’d like to have a look, just click here.

Ike will be staying with Jane for a while, so check back soon for some more excellent days out. And Ike still has to go back to finish off his exploration of south Lincolnshire too.