Chatelherault, Hamilton. December 2013

Helen Rose Outdoors Diary

Chatelherault One of the advantages of not hill walking regularly is that I am discovering places near Glasgow that I can visit to have walks. My Wednesday Wanderers walking group are a lovely bunch of people who go out every second Wednesday on a planned walk starting with coffee and ending with lunch. In between we walk about six miles at a reasonable pace. The Gang of Four do a wonderful job of organising these walks and checking out the coffee and lunch places. Full marks to them!

Recently, we did a walk from Hamilton, a town near Glasgow and travelled there by train. The walk was to Chatelherault, the country hunting estate of the Dukes of Hamilton. Its name is derived from the French town of Châtellerault, the title Duc de Châtellerault being held by the Duke of Hamilton. The country park is centred on the former hunting lodge of the now demolished Hamilton Palace. The lodge was designed by William Adam and completed in 1734. It comprises two pavilions linked by a gateway. The north facade was visible from the palace and forms the front of the building. To the rear are formal parterre gardens. The buildings provided kennels, stables and accommodation for hunting parties returning from the woodlands to the south. Adam jokingly referred to his creation as ‘The Dogg Kennel’. An avenue of lime trees linked the lodge and the palace, formerly located in Hamilton.

Cadzow CastleWe walked from Hamilton Station to Cadzow Park which is a hidden gem of woodland with a river running thought it near the centre of the town. We emerged from this part of the walk at the Hamilton Low Parks Museum for our coffee and scone stop. In this complex is the Hamilton Mausoleum, the building stands to an overall height of about 123 feet (37m) and occupies a site some 650 feet (200m) north of the former Hamilton Palace. The building was begun in 1842 by architect David Hamilton and was completed 5 years after the death of the 10th Duke by architects David Bryce and Alexander Richie in 1858. The Duke was interred in the mausoleum alongside many of his family. Hamilton Mausoleum is now the solitary remaining testament to the colossal scale and grandeur of the buildings which once stood in the Hamilton Low Parks.

River Avon at ChatelSuitably refreshed, we continued to walk to the Avon Water where the autumn colours could still be seen in the woodland. We were now in the grounds of Chatelhearault which are very fine with woodland walks. We crossed the Avon Water again to see the derelict Cadzow Castle which is now being made safe by Historic Scotland but a few walls still remain. It is a beautiful setting overlooking the river.

The final part of the walk was to Chatelherault Lodge and lunch at the visitor centre. After lunch we walked to the Train Station near the park and caught the train back to Glasgow. This was a park I have heard a lot about over the years but never visited. As always with the Wanderers, it was a lovely day out in congenial company and I am always happy for the sake of the environment to use public transport and leave the cars at home.

Coming attractions; More Wednesday Wanderers walks and Hogmanay in Scotland.

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Hogmanay in the Cairngorms January 2014
Languedoc, France October 2013

This section: Helen Rose Hillwalking Diary

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Avatar of HelenRose Scottish hill walker and writer for Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End.

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