Total distance – 4.8 kilometres
Ascent – 270 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 which are close to the path in places. It can be very dangerous for children to veer off the path.
Time required – Around 2 to 3 hours
Nearest Town – Lanark
New Lanark World Heritage Site is the location of a large cotton mill once owned by Robert Owen. He was an early 19th Century celebrated philanthropist (his exploitation of poor people wasn’t as extreme as his peers) who has been credited with many social reforms including being the founder of infant childcare in Scotland. New Lanark Mill is a fantastic centre and apart from all the interesting and spectacular historical stuff, there’s loads to do with children. Attractions include a playpark, café, an old fashioned sweet shop, roof garden and the Annie McLeod Experience. Unsurprisingly, there are also a number of fantastic walks. In fact , there are no less than 5 official walks form this site alone. On any of these walks the one thing that needs to be stressed is that there will be places where the footpaths are perilously close to high vertical drops into the Clyde. So please keep young children beside you at all times.
From the heritage centre walk in a southerly direction along the footpath which skirts along the edge of the Clyde. After about 800 metres you’ll pass the hydro-electric station and a few hundred metres later you’ll see the falls at the Cora Linn. Continue your walk along the Clyde which in places is very close to sheer cliffs and soon you’ll pass the peregrine watch-site. After another few hundred metres you’ll then reach the falls at the Bonnington Linn where you can cross the Clyde if you so wish. Return via the same route.
Christmas time at M & D’s
Total distance – 7.1 kilometres
Ascent – 50 metres
Walking conditions – Tarmac footpaths. No difficulties
Time required – Around 2 to 3.5 hours
Nearest Town – Hamilton/ Motherwell
Strathclyde Loch could never be described as a Mecca for hill-walking enthusiasts. However, it’s a good, healthy circular walk with an excellent view of Tinto Hill. It’s both buggy and pram-friendly. Indeed, it’s the place where I used to jog with the pram to accompany my wife when she took up running. Strathclyde Park is also home to M & D’s as well as a state of the art water sports centre which was used for the Commonwealth Games. There’s also play-parks at various points around the route. In a nutshell, there’s loads to do and most of the the population of Lanarkshire know this. So go early to avoid them because it can get really busy. Oh, and make sure you scare the children with ghost stories about the abandoned mining village of Bothwellhaugh, which can be found, still in tact at the bottom of Strathclyde Loch.
The route could not be simpler. Park close to M & D’s and make your way to the loch-side. Then walk around the loch (we prefer anti-clockwise) on the tarmac path which goes around the edge of the entire the loch. The one deviation we would suggest is a quick visit to the Mausoleum. To get there cross the footbridge over the River Clyde which you will find just to the rear of the water sports centre. From there walk through the M74 underpass and you’ll see the Mausoleum in all its splendour just ahead of you on the right hand side of the path. Then about-turn back to the loch-side to finish off the circuit.
Total distance – 2.4 kilometres
Ascent – 110 metres
Walking conditions – Good, well-defined footpaths. Can be muddy by the river in wet weather. Some walking on tarmac roads within park.
Time required – Around 1.5 to 2.5 hours
Nearest Town – East Kilbride
Calderglen Country Park is a great place to take children. There’s the Children’s Zoo (avec meerkats), the Conservatory which is adjacent to ornamental gardens, an impressive playpark, and the Courtyard Coffee Shop. There’s also some great walks and nature trails. And just along the road there’s East Kilbride shopping centre. So it’s a varied and full day out.
Park in the Calderglen Country Park overflow car park which is on the road to the left just as you enter the from the A726 Strathaven Road. From there make your way onto the footpath and turn left. Keep following this path for about 400 metres then it turns right taking you down a small incline and then along the side of the Rotten Calder River which is a tributary of the River Clyde. Keep walking for another few hundred metres until you come to a footbridge over the Rotten Calder. Cross the bridge and continue in the same direction you were walking. After about another 400 metres you will see a footbridge going back over the Rotten Calder. Cross it but this time walk in the direction you have come from. This path continues to skirt along the Rotten Calder, gaining a few metres in height as you go. You will soon reach a sign pointing to the ‘Visitor Centre’. You can either ignore the sign and return to the path from where you came. Alternatively, you can take advantage of this welcome diversion as it takes you to the park attractions. Return via the tarmac road. Please watch out for cars (speed limit here is 5 mph so there shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s best to keep a tight reign on the children just in case).
Great Scottish Run/ Toddler Dash at George Square
Total distance – 5.2 kilometres
Ascent – 30 metres
Walking conditions – Entirely roads, pavements and good paths. No difficulties.
Time required – Approximately 2 hour’s walking time plus however long you wish spend at the numerous attractions
Glaswegians like a long lie at the weekend; apart from those who haven’t been to bed yet. This provides the fantastic opportunity of going for a morning walk around some of the Scotland’s busiest and most interesting streets whilst it’s still quiet.
Park at Templeton Street on Glasgow Green. Walk along this road and you will quickly reach the Doulton Fountain, which is the world’s largest Terracotta fountain and lies next to the People’s Palace. The People’s Palace is also a great tourist attraction. Apart from the museum (free entry) which charts the history of Glasgow there is a magnificent large glasshouse at the back which is home to a delightful café and features a variety of trees and shrubbery and leads out into beautiful gardens. From there, walk to the other side of Glasgow Green and cross the road at the High Court. Follow the path next to the Clyde for a few hundred metres then turn right just past the St. Enoch’s Centre. This will take you directly to the pedestrianized zone of Buchanan Street which my wife reliably informs me is one of Europe’s great retail centres. Walk as far as the Buchanan Galleries then walk down to George Square. There is always something going here including any manner of street performers and organised displays.
By now you will probably experience the dilemma of choosing somewhere to go for lunch. If you walk from George Square down Queen Street you will find a number of well-reputed places to eat at Royal Exchange Square. Then make your way back to Glasgow Green via Argyll Street.
There are some really good play-parks in Glasgow Green particularly the one on Templeton Street which should be close to where you’ve parked.
Total distance – 4 kilometres
Ascent – 80 metres
Walking conditions – Good footpath but can be muddy in places. No difficulties.
Time required – Around 2 to 3 hours
Nearest town – Blantyre/Bothwell
Blantyre has been at some point Scotland’s second largest village, or so I was told when I was being brought up there. David Livingstone was also brought up in Blantyre. Unlike me, David did not spend his time writing blogs but instead became one of the world’s great explorers who discovered large parts of Africa. Consequently, his birthplace has been preserved within the aptly named David Livingstone Memorial Centre. My birthplace however, was more akin to something out of the Five Yorkshire Men Monty Python sketch. I do not expect it to be turned a shrine when I pass through this mortal coil.
The David Livingstone Memorial Centre is a great day out on its own, With extensive grounds, playpark café and museum, there’s loads to do. We decided to combine this outing with a visit to Bothwell Castle simply because there’s a very pleasant 2Km walk between these two tourist attractions via the David Livingstone Memorial Footbridge over the River Clyde.
Leave the car at the Bothwell Castle car park. Walk towards the left hand side of the castle. Just as you walk past the castle you will see a gate. This will take you to the footpath that skirts along the River Clyde. Walk along this (or keep to the higher path if it is particularly wet or muddy). After about 1.5 Km the David Livingstone Memorial Bridge will come into view. Simply continue to follow the path and it will lead you over the bridge. At the other side of the bridge you are right outside the David Livingstone Memorial Centre. Entry is free although there is a cost to visit the museum. Return by the same route.