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One for the Purists

One for the Purists

Postby AndyRitchie » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:07 pm

Route description: Clyde Walkway

Date walked: 03/04/2017

Time taken: 12 days

Distance: 34.9 km

Ascent: 475m

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We had originally planned to do the Clyde Walkway over three days, split as follows:
Day 1 - Glasgow to Strathclyde Loch
Day 2 - Strathclyde Loch to New Lanark
Day 3 - New Lanark to Clyde Falls (and back, obviously)
We based ourselves at the hotel at New Lanark with the intention of travelling by train to Partick on the morning of Day 1 and then returning from Motherwell at the end of that day, and then using the train again on Day 2 to return to Motherwell. (We actually ended up getting off at Exhibition Centre rather than Partick).
As it turned out, we ended up doing Day 1, but then missed out Day 2, and completed the Day 3 walking as planned.
Well, to be brutally honest, the walk from Glasgow to Strathclyde was pretty boring - of course, we were prepared for certain elements of an 'urban walk' (though the vast quantities of litter along almost the entirety of the Day 1 route was pretty shocking!) but, once the walk had moved away from the architecturally interesting first couple of miles, it became an uninspiring trudge between a dull river (whose banks were adorned with all manner of plastic bag detritus and fly-tipped white goods) and the backs of various industrial estates, with the odd housing development thrown in in an attempt to create a bit of variety. There are very few points of interest - there is a castle, but no information about it available beside the walkway.
Underfoot, the going is hard - constant tarmac paths can be pretty punishing and even where the tarmac disappears, the paths along the riverbank are rock-hard (though thankfully clear of vast patches of mud). We found ourselves pining for a grassy field to walk across, which you can take as an alternative to the busy road between Newton and Uddingston!!
One hazard to be aware of, particularly around Glasgow, are the cyclists with whom much of the first 12 miles of the walk is shared. Whilst some are fairly courteous (a gentle call or the ring of a bell as they approach from behind you), there are some who seem to think they are competing in the Tour de France and that its the responsibility of other path users to get the hell out of their way!!
Large amounts of dog dirt, alas, also mean that vigilance needs to be eternal, though the tedium of having to pick your way past the numerous canine presents on the pathways can be tempered a little by counting how many dog faeces bags have been left by the side of the path or hanging from trees/fences for the evidently absent 'Dog Poo Fairy' to deal with.
One thing to be aware of for those intending to do this walk in the near future (say the next five years) - the never-ending work at the infamous Raith Interchange (M74 J5) means that the walkway is closed for about half a mile and a shuttle bus needs to be called for - so make sure you have a mobile handy!
Given the punishing tedium of Day 1, my wife and I decided to give Day 2 a miss and instead relax (after all, it was meant to be a holiday!!) But we did do the walk up from New Lanark to the Clyde Falls on Day 3 as planned, which was a welcome contrast to the tedium of Day 1 - we were lucky enough to spot an otter in the gorge and a couple of crazy, courting dippers skimming over the river. Oh, if only Day 1 had had in its 18 miles the same amount of interest as there was over the 4 miles or so of Day 3!

Will we ever return to complete Day 2?
Probably, though only because it would be an excuse to stay at the marvellous New Lanark Hotel again (food excellent, rooms clean and tidy, staff very attentive) - after all, what better way to recover from a long hard walking day than to have a swim and sauna, followed by a massage of your tired limbs :lol:
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