Thursday, 20 July 2017

New Lanark. Falls of Clyde. Corra Linn. Bonnington Linn. A UK Wonder.

                                                ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN
I heard recently (from Alex, thank you) that the Falls of Clyde had been restored to full power for ten weeks only while repairs were undertaken at the nearby Power Station. For many decades now this chain of waterfalls on the upper reaches of the River Clyde  has been diverted for green energy use with the result that the numerous falls here are a pale shadow of their former glory- reduced to a trickle even after heavy rainfall most of the time.
During the Romantic, Victorian and Edwardian eras however well heeled folk  from all over Britain, Europe and even some from further afield like the USA and Canada made the pilgrimage here to visit/collect two of the wonders of that age. Number one attraction was the self contained mill town of New Lanark, a forward looking cotton mill complex built beside the river in the late 1700s to take advantage of the powerful falls using the water to drive the machinery inside. Many ground breaking advances in social reform and education for the workers developed here in this fairly remote spot in a deep river gorge 40 km from Glasgow. These advances were soon noticed in the wider industrial community and many were  adopted by other mills and factories later on. Things like school and education for mill workers children... better working conditions for those employed etc, insuring a loyal and happier workforce.
Although the falls are restored to full power during bank holidays and special occasions I've always missed them at full capacity for one reason or another so ten weeks roaring at full tilt was too good an opportunity to miss. Unfortunately, Alex was not available for the weekends I was free so it was just myself and Alan and his dog. There are four major separate falls near the mills or a few km upstream and at one time they were lauded as some of the finest displays in Britain contained in one place. The UK as a whole is a small narrow country with main rivers rarely exceeding 100 miles in length so although we get plenty of rain huge dramatic falls of impressive scale are a rarity.
I have to say both Alan and myself were impressed and we have seen loads of highland waterfalls, many of them very remote and hard to reach and ultimately a slight disappointment after miles of hard walking and rough ground to get there.
Although it had been raining the night before it was not a deluge but the falls here were still the best I've ever seen in this country. (Scotland that is) Only the waterfall and waterslide in upper Glen Nevis in full spate compares for scale. Although nothing like the same magnitude you do get a little taste of what the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe must be like... transported here to humble Britain... in the way the upper falls around Bonnington Linn spread out with small wooded islands marooned between the thundering cataracts.
A grey wagtail. A water specialist and constant up and down merchant like the equally bobbing dipper so hard to get it in focus as it is always on the move. Either side to side or more commonly up and down.There is also a yellow wagtail which is quite confusing at times as they are both fairly yellow and similar looking.
No problem with this one. I have a way with animals. We seem to like each other. My wee pal.
A question. There are a few horse whisperers around, plenty of dog whisperers driving around every city and town in vans these days, even a ghost whisperer on TV ... but I've never seen a 'pussy whisperer' advertised anywhere. Why so? A minor mystery that :o)
Iris Blue.
Another question... if there are plenty of fish in the sea to eat why am I seeing sea birds like cormorants further and further inland, fishing in rivers and canals many miles from their usual habitat?
Beetles getting jiggy on flower.
The Corra Linn. The largest waterfall on the River Clyde.
And another with peat staining the water here.
Spectators on one of the viewing platforms above the various falls. William Wordsworth came here to marvel, Turner painted them, royalty visited several times... they were a big deal before easy international travel sucked visitors overseas.
They are still popular today, mainly thanks to the nearby New Lanark which is now an internationally renowned visitor attraction and world heritage site.
I don't remember this roof garden on one of the mills the last time I visited a few years ago but it was mid-winter then.
We had a good wander around the place but didn't go in to any of the buildings as I'd already been, prices have jumped up no doubt , post Brexit vote, like every other item, whether shipped from abroad or not, and we had other plans.
After Bonnington Linn most folk turn back but we did the full circle route up one bank then down the other all the way along the gorge to meet up with the A72 just to the west of Lanark itself, an elevated market town on a rising slope situated above New Lanark. On the OS landranger map Upper Clyde Valley Sheet 72 a dotted line showed our Clyde Valley path. This crosses the River Clyde again over an old pedestrian bridge ( just before the road bridge A72 to Lanark) and although it looks private go through a small gate beside houses at a CCTV sign to reach a pleasant riverside path.
Another gate further on leads to a narrow tarmac road with beautiful surroundings ( a Lanark upmarket suburbia) where we found other surprises waiting ( A secret public park) then zig zag steps back down to the river again. It felt a long way by this point but a fantastic five star circular walk. About 10 km but felt much longer due to its up and down nature. Much shorter just visiting New Lanark and Falls. Allow 4 to 6 hours total trip depending on speed and stops.
The slopes of the Clyde Valley... once the central belt's soft fruit growing mecca with apples, plums, various eating berries and jam a thriving industry before cheaper exports from abroad halted production. Now mainly garden centres here but still a pretty area and a great scenic drive along the winding A72 beside the river.
The hanging gardens of New Lanark. Raised back allotments.
A view over the Clyde Valley.
And a couple of sunsets to end.

I try to make my photos and blog special in my own modest way as I like to think I have some artistic talent for capturing views on walks. I also try to pick videos that reflect this outlook. Although I looked at various clips of this particular Via Ferrata  this one was head and shoulders above the rest for quality, camera work and editing, variety of subject matter and artistic merit. So good in fact it made me really nostalgic for the special atmosphere of the European Alps and backpacking trips abroad. Wah!!!! too old and skint now for this stuff but 20 years ago I'd have loved a go at this extreme route through tunnels, up vertical walls, over wires and into caverns. Enjoy. A delight to watch full screen for anyone, not just climbers. Professional standard 7 minute classic mini film.


Linda said...

The falls are magnificent! And the insects and cat are beautiful! I enjoyed this tour very much, thank you so much for sharing! And I smiled about the pussy whisperer...I am a cat lover and have a cat of my own, and everywhere I go cats seem to be at ease around me. :)

Linda W. said...

Love the waterfalls! Glad you were able to see them in their full glory.

Sue Hayton said...

We recently visited the hydro station at Bonnington and New Lanark and appreciated the Falls!

Carol said...

Those falls are great aren't they. I can't grumble about the green hydro diversion though as I'm into renewables.

I'm pretty much an any animal whisperer really but specialise in cows!

Rosemary said...

I enjoyed the Antique Roadshow programmes recently from New Lanark, and thought that it would be somewhere that I would like to visit one day. However, my husband informed me that we did visit many, many years ago whilst living in Scotland - I just cannot believe that I could have forgotten a trip to such a dramatic setting. The waterfalls are especially lovely, and how nice that you were able to see them in full flood.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Linda W,
Not a patch on yours over there but sizable for Britain.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Sue, it's a nice area.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
never heard of a cow whisperer either unless it's Jennifer Love Hewitt in a bad mood. Sorry, couldn't resist that :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary.
The cotton mills only closed in 1968 then had many years of decline and decay until restoration started in the late 1970s so there might not have been much to see when you visited years ago. They only really improved into their current look and tourist magnet in the 1990s early 2000s.

Carol said...

Went over my head anyway - as I don't really see TV or films (I'm assuming she's on one of those?). Watched your via ferrata vid and you've completely put me off now! The tunnels looked okay and I love the Steall Bridge but not at that height! Can't see me ever doing that over there. I think I'll try the Honister Slate Mine via ferrata and then I've done one!

Anabel Marsh said...

I do love this walk!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Main star of The Ghost Whisperer. It used to be on TV here years ago briefly but very popular in Australia for some reason. I suppose we have Katie Price here to fill a similar role. Some weird TV in Oz. One TV prog I remember was Inspector Rex- about a large Alsatian dog teamed up with a human who solve crimes together- in German. I suppose they still miss Skippy- The Bush Kangaroo- similar idea. Another was a seven foot Japanese ghost with scary pointed teeth who gave advice to a household. I think that was in Japanese but I'd had a few beers when I watched that one.
That video is an example of how extreme Via Ferrata can get. Amazing feat of engineering to get all that metal up there. Not a wise place to be during a lightning storm though.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
I think I gave the same walk 3 stars in my River Clyde Guide book when I did it years ago in winter. Much better in summer with the leaves and flowers out plus full power over the falls.

Neil said...

Wow! impressive waterfalls. Like you, I've been disappointed any time I've visited in recent years.

I've seen the Via Ferratas but as I don't have a head for heights I have never ventured on to one. And it's too late now to start! Must be great to be able to do that sort of stuff though. The mind boggles at how they were built in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Yet another "I had no idea that was there" posts from what I'd always consider the central lowland part of Scotland. I love waterfalls and that walk looks a cracker. Loved the vid as well, sensational exposure!

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Neil,
It was impressive this time and would be even better after really heavy rain. Worth a visit while they are full and if you go across Bonnington Linn bridge then down the other side for a very short distance you get even better views of Bonnington Linn from the lookouts there. No need to do the full gorge circuit though which did feel long.
You have probably done it already but Stonebyres Hill(or blackhill?) at 290 metres is a great viewpoint over the valley and gorge.( Small layby on minor road SW of hilltop)

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Andy,
Apart from the petrol costs to get there I have to admit I find the Highlands much busier than they used to be and any sunny weekend the car parks and hills are mobbed. I'm ruined for that now as I'm so used to quieter spots in the central belt and low fuel costs. We were well over an hour stuck in traffic last year coming down Loch Lomond side and we were only up at Ardlui for the day. Not even a bank holiday just a normal sunny Sunday.