Total distance – 9.0 kilometres
Ascent – 440 metres
Walking conditions – Grassy footpaths with a steady, gentle gradient. Can be boggy in places. No difficulties.
Time required – Around 2.5 to 4 hours
Nearest Town – Lennoxtown
Cort-ma Law was one of the first hills we took the children up. It’s a very popular and busy hill. It’s also busy with sheep, as I’ve learned form past experience. Keeping dogs on the lead would be advisable, otherwise you might have to go up and down the hill twice in one day.
Start from the car park next to the shops at Clachan of Campsie (or if you prefer you can cut a bit off the walk by starting from the large car park at the Crow Road just up the hill from Lennoxtown). Make your way along the clearly signposted path going northwards for about 500 metres until you reach the car park on the Crow Road. There’s often an ice cream van here during the summer so it’s a great morale booster. From there, cross the road then make your way up the broad grassy shoulder going east. The ascent of Cort-ma Law is fairly relentless but the gradient eases off as you reach the high ground which is more or less a plateau. You will immediately notice the fantastic views over the Clyde Valley and beyond, and now it’s just a matter of continuing along for a couple of kilometres until you reach the summit of Cort-ma Law. The summit’s even got a trig point! It can however, be quite a long walk for the very young. As such, there have been times when we have turned back at one of the little high points marked with cairns along the way. Either way, it’s an excellent high level walk along the top of the Campsies. Return via the same route.
Total distance – 7.9 kilometres
Ascent – 280 metres
Walking conditions – Footpaths and tracks. Can be muddy in many places especially after prolonged rainfall. Please be aware that there are some very steep drops along the Avon Gorge which are close to the path in places. It can be quite dangerous for children to veer off the path.
Time required – Around 3 to 4.5 hours
Nearest Town – Hamilton
Chatelherault Country Park is an extremely popular destination for locals and far-travelled visitors alike. Most will head straight to the visitor centre which has been built onto the back of Chatelherault Hunting Lodge. The visitor centre hosts a 12 feet long tunnel featuring a badger and fox which flash when you crawl past them (this information is largely irrelevant unless you are under 7 years old). The lodge itself was built in 1732 and undoubtedly remains one of Lanarkshire most prestigious buildings (my sister got her wedding photographs taken there) and is well worth taking some time to look around. There are also fantastic paths and nature trails which take in several interesting features. In particular, the ‘Green Bridge’ and ‘White Bridge’ circuits are excellent walks. Currently, the ‘White Bridge’ circuit can not be completed due to a landslide so we opted for the longer Green Bridge route.
From the car park head to the Visitor Centre. From the Visitor Centre (if going clockwise) take the footpath pointing to ‘White Bridge’ . This path follows the Avon gorge and steadily drops towards the river’s edge. The path then skirts along the river’s edge for about 800 metres until a wooden stairway takes you back up to the higher ground. The path then weaves its way along until it eventually drops down to the Green Bridge. After crossing the bridge you’ll find yourself on the other side of the Avon. Simply turn right and follow the path. This takes you back along the Avon gorge and through the fields, forest tracks, Cadzow Oaks, Cadzow Castle and then across the Duke’s Bridge to the Visitor Centre.