Sunday, 24 November 2013
Upper Clyde Valley. Crossford. Rosebank. The warm,sheltered Kingdom.
Bugger that I thought. Let's run to the sun instead and visit the warm valley.
This is the garden valley. An area of wooded slopes and fertile meadows carved out by the mighty River Clyde in its upper reaches where its waters in the distant past have been broad and fierce enough to bite deep into the surrounding landscape creating a sheltered, warm, oasis. A deep winding, trench running for many miles through the soft geology of this part of Lanarkshire.
Monks were the first to realise the potential of this area, growing apples, plums, soft fruits and berries on the warm, usually frost free banks during the short Scottish summer. Orchards were planted and thrived. Later arrivals grew strawberries and tomatoes here on a large commercial scale, and it earned several new names. The 'Glass Gorge', the 'Fruit Basket of the Central Belt, The Garden Valley.
http://food.list.co.uk/article/54556-the-clyde-valley-is-home-to-leading-firm-of-scotlands-tomato-industry/ A good link here with a brief history of the produce and new blood continuing the tradition.
One of the most remarkable facts about this fruit growing trench is that it lies at the same latitude as Hudson Bay in Canada and is further north than Newfoundland, and the frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia. In summer it can get hot and humid down here with lush vegetation, including bizarre meadows of wild course rhubarb coating the riverbanks and in winter the gulf stream ensures its temperate climate.
Taking the M74 out of Glasgow, then the scenic A70 as it follows the river along the floor of the trench I soon arrived and parked the car in the village of Crossford, where there is a medium sized car park, public toilets and a handy information board/map of walking paths in the area.
The Clyde walkway runs through here and follows the far (left )bank of the River back towards Motherwell and Glasgow, though they both seem very distant from here. From the car park walk up the main street until you can cross the bridge seen above ( B7056 Braidwood Road ) From here a pleasant walk takes you along the flat embankment in a north westerly direction then climbs gently to offer superb views over the district.
In the hard world of adulthood anyone who still holds onto a flicker of that inner child when they grow up is lucky indeed as the world will always seem a wonderful, unexpected place viewed through their eyes.
'In a hole in the ground there lived a.....
No doubt growing up on the edge of this deep trench with a birds eye view of the sliced landscape below him cut by the river and its numerous tributaries running off the surrounding uplands inspired him to take an interest in geology and the formation of natural features from an early age.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carluke and famous for its jam. Great tale in here under another notable resident Thomas Weir, the Warlock of West Bow, reputed to be one of the inspirations for Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde after his self confessed spectacular fall from grace.
Just watched 'Nina Conti- A Ventriloquist's Story: Her Master's voice' on BBC4. I already knew Nina was talented with bags of sparkle as I've seen her act a few times over the years but this was a different level again. A worthy winner of best documentary as it explores the strange love/hate partnership that exists between ventriloquist and dummy/creation at a deep level. Heart warming, moving and watchable it gets better and more bizarre the longer it goes on. Well worth catching on i player in this link or whatever medium you can see it on and should do her career no harm at all in an age when ventriloquists are not seen as 'cool or radical' enough. After this unusual insight into the realms of the psyche she could get a side job as a director. Never thought I'd have a lump in my throat over a puppet's fate.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01jv1yr The two minute video in here with granny swimming underwater( The OAP nightdress clad dummy) should give you a taste of it. The i player repeat has now ended but the five minute video 'N.C at the Edinburgh fringe' is still there.
There's only one music video that's a perfect fit for this post. I've been a fan of Kate Bush since 1978 but my favourite song of hers is this highly personal offering which I don't think she'd write nowadays as you become more guarded in your outlook due to the intrusive nature of fame. Perfectly combined with a poignantly sweet video that should remind adults everywhere of that inner child buried deep but still alive in their soul, squashed down under the painful realities and practical struggles of everyday life. A garden( song) for a garden( film) for a garden (blog post). Perfect ending.