Inspired by my trip to Finnich Glen and its icy beauty my next outing during the holiday period between Christmas and New Year was another solo effort, Alex being tied up again.I was keen to sample another steep sided gorge with waterfalls and the best and biggest I could think of in the central belt was the Falls of Clyde walk that starts from New Lanark.
The big freeze was still on when I left the house and last night had went down to minus 12 below.Everything had ice crystals growing on it.This is my fuchsia bush in the garden.
Good blue sky morning though and only minus 4 below in the sunshine! Anyone who has not been to the delight that is New Lanark is in for a treat.It really is one of the best and most interesting tourist attractions in Scotland.Well worth the price of a full ticket which includes all the best buildings and a gentle sweeping ride though a darkened warehouse full of little talking and running holograms which you meet sliding along on your travelling chair.This full ticket allows access to everything worth seeing in the village and costs about a tenner each adult last time I was there.Cons and kids cheaper rate.
As I`d been inside several times now with family,friends, kids and strangers. the town was not the main attraction this time.
Although gritted the night before the access road down hill to the car park seemed rather icy as a light coating of snow lay on it.I parked instead on top of the drop beside the primary school.
If anyone is disabled or frail or if its quiet in wintertime you can go right down into the village to park usually.This access road down was clear.
I didn`t however as I always like the first views over the chimneys and spires as it sits deep in its valley setting.
I discovered this whole Clyde Valley region only about 15 years ago but it has drawn me back ever since.
This used to be the fruit basket of Central Scotland with red and black current fields ,apple and ,plum orchards,strawberry and gooseberry patches covering the sheltered slopes above the river.Clyde means warm valley but it certainly wasn't today.Well.... maybe minus 3.
A trip along here,the A72 from the roundabout at Garrion bridge past Crossford to New Lanark is still a great scenic drive.Sadly the wonderful fruit orchards hanging over the twisting road are largely a thing of the past due to cheap imports and the increasing stranglehold of the supermarkets forcing growers to think ever bigger.
I was lucky enough to catch the last few summers of ripe apples and plums in full autumnal splendor hanging above the tarmac.Admittedly they were more expensive than the supermarket ones.Such is life.
Never mind ,this was the sight that awaited me when I walked along the riverside and reached the first of the
falls.More ice than I`d ever seen before here,every normally dripping overhang festooned with natures needles.There was even an ice cave.How could I resist its charms.On went the crampons.Sigh!Wheres Alex when I need him for a people picture...never mind.....
I soon reached the falls and set about capturing the views.As I still had the crampons on I thought the best ones might be had by climbing down a side stream also frozen to get right above the drop.I worry myself at times by what I`ll do to get a picture though.
It was like a river in Iceland with mini icebergs floating in the falls I thought I`d move round until I was right over the top of the falls themselves.
Smashing stuff then a big chunk crashed off below and I remembered my normal position in life as a self appointed coward and took off the temporary brave shirt.
I was really enjoying myself so decided to carry on all the way up to Bonnington Linn, cross that bridge then go right down the opposite bank to the only other bridge, crossing the river at Kirkfieldbank.This would take me out beyond New Lanark but I would double back via the steep main road.Seeing all this ice though at the next falls I was tempted to cross over here on the frozen ramp but then decided against it.If you fell in on your own the outcome was not too promising.
It was a fair old way and it was starting to get dark by the time I reached the car.On impulse I walked straight past it and wandered back across to peer down on New Lanark again Curious to see it with its Christmas lights on.I`d never been here at Christmas.
It was worth the effort.So much so that I walked all the way back down again, captivated by this magical fairytale setting I now found myself in.It had been a memorable day so far but this was the highlight.Smoke rose slowly from the chimneys,the only signs of life in the place,everyone tucked up inside due to the cold. Through the deserted streets I roamed at will in my own private faerie dream,no humans just twinkling lights and yellow squares in a ghostly landscape.What a day.
The drive back was equally good then a first view of the new Upstairs Downstairs on tv which was better than expected.Late that same night I sat out in the garden for a while looking at a darker than usual canopy of stars above Glasgow,the clear cold air giving them a depth and luminosity seldom seen in the city.
A fox prowled by and helped himself to my leftover mini pork and pickle pie.Between the ducks, swans, voles, assorted wild birds and rabbits I`ve sustained over the current hard spell I`ve thrown food into more mouths than a bowery soup kitchen.
Can`t neglect myself though eh?Yum yum. Veggies always taste amazing done in tinfoil.