Glasgow/South Lanarkshire, Scotland
End: New Lanark
Distance: 40 miles (64 km)
Time: 5 days
Surface: Long-Distance Pathway
The Clyde Walkway is a fabulous cycling, mountain biking, and walking route that begins in Glasgow’s west end at the confluence of the Clyde and Kelvin rivers. For anyone with an interest in industrial history, the Clyde Walkway is a treat, with many examples of Britain’s industrial heritage showcased in its bridges, including Clydesholm Bridge (1695-99); Cartland Bridge (1822), one of Scotland’s most elegant bridges, and the delicate triumph in iron that is Carlin Footbridge, an iron suspension bridge built as part of the Carlin Estate, which once occupied the land on the river’s northern embankments at Crossford. Linked pathways from the Cartland Bridge can take you to Cleghorn Glen Woodlands, part of the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve.
Closely following the Clyde for almost its length, the Clyde Walkway ends in the superb eighteenth-century village of New Lanark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001, thanks to the vision of its founder David Dale, who in 1786 built its cotton mills on one of only three Clyde River waterfalls and powered them with the newly invented cotton spinning machines of Richard Arkwright. Dale also saw to the construction and design of the mill’s workers’ cottages in one of the earliest examples of a planned community.
The Clyde Walkway is partially waymarked and offers generally straightfoward walking. Paths can be muddy in places and many sections are unmarked, although the route is still being improved. In winter some sections can flood but an alternative is available.