Day 54: 16 May 2014; Abington to Lanark

Day 54: 16 May 2014; Abington to Lanark
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 54
Date Fri 16 May 2014 Start to end time 07h 55m
Start point Abington End point Lanark
Miles today 20.48 Cu miles 1,013.48
Ft today 2,346 Cu ft 136,968
Route miles left 474.61 Route ft left 61,103
Today’s weather Dull, cool and overcast in morning. Bright sun by early afternoon. Moderate westerly wind. About 15C
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Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

“Even if today had been raining and scenically dull, it would still have been a very significant one for the LEJOG hike. Because 7 miles out from Abington this morning, I passed the “1,000 miles walked” line so yes, from now on there are fewer digits in the number of miles left than there are in the number of miles walked. I allowed myself to feel smug, briefly, before reminding myself that there are still 450 miles left, which is nearly twice as far as I’d ever walked prior to this jaunt.

As it happened the day was interesting too. At over 20 miles, it was quite a haul, but there was lots to see. The morning climb out of Abington round the back of Tinto Hill was hard work, and quite chilly, with low cloud and a strong westerly wind. But along the way, I spotted oystercatchers darting around – clearly unhappy with my presence, and a curiously long way from the sea, I thought.   After narrowly avoiding stepping on a frog,  I followed a narrow lane which became a forest path over the hills then back down into the Clyde valley a little further downstream. It was an easy walk, and once I’d passed behind the hill, mostly downhill.

I re-joined the Clyde on the south bank, close to the intake dam for the Lanark hydroelectric power scheme (this was the first hydroelectric power station in Scotland, built in 1927). I wasn’t certain whether I would be able to cross the river to join the Clyde Walkway on the north bank, but path over the dam was open and I was able cross easily.

To my embarrassment, I have to admit I didn’t even know that the Falls of Clyde existed until yesterday, so walking down the side of this spectacular section of the river was a real unexpected bonus. The only downside was that the power station was obviously generating at full pelt, so the river had been reduced to a trickle rather than a torrent. It’s a beautiful gorge: sure, I felt, to be populated with kingfishers and otters. Unfortunately I still failed to see either, but I did see a peregrine falcon, being keenly watched over from a hide by a group of RSPB volunteers. The bird was just visible through the warden’s telescope, but was hiding behind a fern and it took a bit of a leap of faith to convince myself that it was really there. Apparently the male is guarding the nest rather more than normal this year, while the female is out searching for food. Nobody seems to be quite sure why.

From the peregrine outlook, the Clyde Walkway follows the river downstream through New Lanark cotton mills – an impressive piece of industrial architecture, built by philanthropist David Dale in 1786. Now it’s a World Heritage Site and has numerous tourist attractions including, thankfully, a café.. The mills closed in 1968.

The rest of the short walk into Lanark proper, where I am camping, was easy, along the excellent Clyde Walkway. It runs through attractive forests and over bridges and boardwalks, a bit like Center Parcs. It was a bit difficult to find where it left New Lanark, but very much worth making the effort to find it. Time to go and find something to eat, now. It’s fish night at Wetherspoons, apparently..”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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These are what I think you would call proper sheep. Complete with “lugs”, I expect.. I’m always puzzled why you find oystercatchers, like this one, on remote upland moors, miles from the sea
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The narcissi on the hill above Abington were at about the same flowering stage as those on the Lizard were, 8 weeks ago A significant point. This is the moment I crossed the “1000 miles walked” line
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View through a telescope looking at the peregrine falcon nesting above the Clyde Falls. The peregrine is the grey blob at the bottom right. Honestly. Wildlife at the campsite where I am staying in Lanark tonight.
Panorama of the Clyde Falls from New Lanark
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
Solid line blue
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