Walking on the Clyde Walkway today felt like we were on a completely different trail compared to the last few days. Immediately crossing the A71 the trail was cleaner, quieter, more picturesque and we both felt so much more at ease. Today was a great day and we both throughly enjoyed it.
This was most evident in Eve behaviour as she didn’t hold my hand except for crossing a few roads. Eve sang, danced, talked and skipped all day. Eve was back to her usual happy self. At times I even struggled to keep up with her.
It was wonderful, as I was starting to, maybe unnecessarily, worry that Eve would not want to continue or she would use her veto and stop wanting to walk. I have no worries now about her motivation to continue. I think it helps having Sarah about as she was really looking forward to staying in the campervan and eating the dinner Sarah had planned for this evening. We had chilli con carne with bread and it was absolutely delicious. There is nothing like a hot cup of tea and a good hearty evening meal after a day spent hiking, especially on a beautiful cold day.
Anyway back to this morning. We got to the start on the A71 and began walking quickly. This was because we stopped in the gateway that led down to the house I mentioned in my last hiking past who clearly didn’t want any visitors. Also it was absolutely freezing with a cutting windchill. I knew we would warm up soon after we got going, but we knew it was cold as Eve asked for her gloves, Buff and ear warmers straight away! Last night I recorded a podcast with a wonderful lady who lives in Alaska and was telling me how cold it was there when we spoke, and I did feel a bit weak thinking about what they have to deal with 😂.
The walking today was not hard. It was all flat, mainly along tracks and trails that hugged the river Clyde. There were a few sections that took us temporarily away from the river or some short sharp ascents but most of these had steps. In any case they were no worse than you would find in an urban country park.
The Clyde River, as we walked, got more beautiful and rugged cumulating at New Lanark. Sections of the river Clyde looked and sounded like a living beast that roared as the water crashed over rocks and waterfalls and smashed into boulders and huge slabs of rock.
As hard as I tried I don’t have a single photograph that captures how amazing the river looked today. It was spectacular and mesmerising to watch. We stood and just watched it a lot! Nature is the best television.
Today we also saw hundreds of signposts and way markers for the Clyde Walkway. Many of the way markers were in places where they were not needed such as on a straight path between the river and a farmers fence. The only option was to continue along the path, but a signpost pointed the way nonetheless. After the lack of signage for the first two days it was lovely to see and was reassuring. I got plenty of photographs with Eve standing or walking past them.
We had only been walking a couple of miles when we saw Sarah walking towards us for the first time today. Eve went running and I had to pinch myself to remember we were not walking JOGLE as the images of Sarah with her arms out ready to catch Eve in an embrace was one of the main memories I have from last year (I have lots of others obviously)
After saying goodbye to Sarah we walked on and at about 3.5 miles we stopped for our first break, eating a sausage roll we baked yesterday. We felt a few spots of rain as we sat on some rocks looking over the Clyde River, but luckily it was the only rain we had all day.
After some food we walked on looking and talking about all the green shots and catkins on the trees and bushes. It felt like spring.
We walked through an area of total devastation caused by a flood when the Clyde had clearly broken its banks and destroyed a huge section of boardwalk. It looked like something out of an Armageddon movie. The worst thing however was somebody had tried to create a fire and burn it and a tree down! I simply don’t understand what motivates people to behave in such ways and I don’t want to understand.
A bit further on we met up with Sarah again and this time we had a cup of tea sat in the back of the van. It was the best cup of tea we have had in a long time.
After saying goodbye to Sarah for the third time we walked past a children’s farm park with a chicken up against the fence. Eve obviously and unsuccessfully tired to stroke the chicken. She was quite disappointed she didn’t get to stroke it. I think it’s because she enjoyed petting the chickens the other week when we were on the Isle of Mull staying at a farm.
The Clyde Walkway shortly afterwards lead temporarily away from the river and we met some sheep on the path. This is where I struggled to keep up with Eve as she power walked ahead of me to try again at petting an animal that clearly didn’t want to be petted. We followed (chased) them all the way back to the River Clyde close to a huge round concrete structure that I think was a power station.
The next section of the river Clyde started to turn a lot more rocky and you could start to see the boulders and hear mini waterfalls. It felt like we were walking into the wild although in actual fact we were getting closer to the small town of Lanark.
We passed the huge and seriously impressive dam at Stonebyres Wier with massive steel gates holding back the river. We took loads of pictures and even some videos that I might try and do something with over the next few days if I have time.
We were then in Kirkfieldbank walking down the Main Street but with Sarah who had come to meet us again. We had a quick break in the van but not for along as we were all keen to reach New Lanark.
We walked on crossing the old Cludesholm Bridge, climbing a short section before walking through Castlebank Park. Castlebank Park looks lovely with a fairy area and some awesome looking sculptures. If we were local I would come back to have a look around and see what else we could find.
We dropped back down to walk the final section through a woodland that’s flanks the river Clyde into the UNESCO World Heritage site of New Lanark.
As I have mentioned before, we used to live a few miles from Lanark in the Lowther Hills so we have visited New Lanark many times before. If you are ever in the area a visit to New Lanark for a walk around, to see the old buildings, and to be able to appreciate the scale of the place, should be high on your itinerary. It’s a place that can’t help but to inspire wonder and curiosity of the Industrial Revolution.
We met up with Sarah who had driven the van down from the main car park as collecting and dropping people off is allowed.
Once in the van we popped to Tesco before finding a quiet place to park up for the night.
Tomorrow is a huge day for us as we complete the Clyde Walkway.
Not only that but we have a TV crew coming to film us for a mini documentary. I am again absolutely bricking it! I don’t think I will be getting much sleep tonight!
Anyway, today was amazing and the Clyde Walkway from the A71 I can wholeheartedly recommend to anybody. It’s delightful, easy and simple with a awe inspiring finale at New Lanark. What’s not to like!
Sleep well and we will see you tomorrow.