Clydesdale is a region in the southwest of Scotland. It's the catchment and upper course of the River Clyde, historically with many water mills powering local industry, and the Lanarkshire coal mines. This industry was densest in the lower valley, towards Motherwell and Glasgow; but even here there are reaches of sparsely populated unspoilt moorland. The upper valley was never much industrialised. The main railway from Carlisle to Glasgow snakes along the valley, while A74(M) strides over the moors west of it. The main visitor attraction is New Lanark Mills.
Towns and villagesEdit
Most visitors arrive from the south, crossing Beattock Summit (315 m) by train or A74(M) to descend towards Abington. However it's simpler to consider it from north to south, from urban to rural:
- 1 Carluke is the first town of any size. It's ten miles west of Carstairs, where trains from Carlisle divide for Edinburgh and Glasgow, and notable for its state mental hospital.
- 2 New Lanark is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with fine early 19th century mills, and near the Falls of the Clyde. Although it has accommodation and other facilities, a better place to stay is 3 Lanark a mile north.
- 4 Lesmahagow has the scrappy remains of a priory. It's by the motorway so you might change buses here.
- 5 Biggar is a small market town with a rare combination: a gasworks museum and a puppet theatre. Nearby 6 Symington has a fine collection of old churches and other buildings.
- 7 Douglas has the ruin known as "Castle Dangerous", and other ancient buildings.
- 8 Abington is the last or first village north of Beattock summit. A side road climbs west to the old lead mining area of 9 Leadhills and Wanlockhead (Scotland's highest village) over the border into Dumfries & Galloway.
By plane then renting a car, Edinburgh Airport has the edge over Glasgow, as it has more flights, and is west of the city so you reach Clydesdale within the hour.
Trains run from Glasgow Central (lower level) every 30 mins M-Sat, hourly Sun, via Motherwell, Wishaw and Carluke to Lanark. From Edinburgh or England change at Motherwell.
By bus: Stuarts Coaches Bus 240X / 241X runs from Glasgow via Wishaw and Carluke to Lanark. It runs hourly M-Sat.
Stagecoach Bus X74 runs from Glasgow via Hamilton, Lesmahagow and Moffat to Dumfries; hourly M-Sat and every two hours Sunday.
Stuarts Coaches Bus 30 / 31 runs M-Sat 3 or 4 times a day from Lanark via Thankerton, Symington, Abington, Crawford and Leadhills to Wanlockhead.
Stuarts Coaches Bus 91 runs hourly M-Sat from Lanark via Symington to Biggar. Whitelaws Coaches Bus 258 runs every couple of hours M-Sat from Lanark via Kirkmuirhill to Lesmahagow.
Stagecoach West Scotland Bus 101 / 102 runs from Edinburgh to Biggar via Penicuik, hourly M-Sat, only four on Sunday. Mon-Sat four buses, and Sunday two, continue to Dumfries via Abington, Moffat and Beattock.
You'll need a car. The valley roads are busy and not much fun for cycling.
The standout attraction is New Lanark Mills.
- Clyde Walkway and cycle track runs along the Clyde for 40 miles from Glasgow (Partick) via Cambuslang, Strathclyde Country Park, Cardies Bridge and Crossford to New Lanark.
- Tinto is a prominent 711 m (2333 ft) hill on the west bank of the Clyde near Biggar. From the north there's an easy, well-worn path from the A73 near Thankerton; from the south it's a steep scramble from Wiston.
- Horse riding: there's a centre at Lanark, and others.
For a place with character, it's either New Lanark Mill, or Cornhill Castle near Biggar.
Northwest, you can feel the gravitational pull of Glasgow, the Jupiter of Scotland.
Roads south cross Beattock towards Carlisle and the Lake District, or branch southwest to Dumfries.