Bob Law’s outdoor blog Scotland: Corra Linn Waterfalls and New Lanark
I’ve been to the world heritage preserved cotton mills complex of New Lanark several times before, however, another trip was long overdue. In particular I wanted to see the nearby falls on the River Clyde while they were in spate.
Normally the adjacent power station drains much of the volume of water away from the falls to produce green energy. This has been the case for many decades so this was a rare opportunity to see the four major waterfalls upriver from the village in spate conditions.
In Victorian times these were widely regarded as some of the best waterfalls in the UK. Folk came from many different countries to see them with visitors also attracted to the nearby mills complex; famous for Robert Owen’s pioneering social reforms. The mill workers would graft hard in the tall buildings beside the Clyde, one of Scotland’s great rivers.
The falls are opened fully during certain public holidays but most of the time, even during heavy rainfall, they are just a shadow of their former glory. This time was different though- with the falls thundering down into the impressive wooded gorge. As this year’s summer (2017) has officially been rated very poor (aren’t they always in Scotland?) with heavy rain forecast most days visiting waterfalls seemed a logical option. We were not disappointed with the low lying shelter and majestic scenery.near the town of Lanark, just south east of Glasgow.
After exploring the industrial village- a gem in itself- we followed the well trodden path slightly uphill to the falls. They sit a few km upriver with well placed viewing platforms along the way. It is an easy walk and should only take an hour or two – even if you cross the bridge above and view the falls from the other bank. The latter is recommended for the extra views and it’s not a great deal more of an effort. You can take the same route back to return to the village.
We chose to do the complete circuit, which is also a classic walk but much longer. Up past the falls then down the other bank all the way into Kirkfieldbank village to access the next bridge. Then across the gorge on the A72 and back upriver. We passed through scenic fields beside the Clyde until we reached New Lanark again. Allow 5 to 6 hours for this full circular walk. It is a long walk but worthwhile.
Highlights of this longer walk included a lovely rural lane, a stunning small town park and the winding scenic drive along the A72 from the motorway. We walked through the green and lush valley following the river most of the way.
Before cheaper imports from sunnier countries took over this was the fruit growing region of the Central Belt. From here apples, plums and a whole range of soft fruits were supplied to Scottish towns and cities throughout the district.
Bob Law, September, 2017
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