Last orders at Carnwath’s Wee Bush after 260 years

The replacement thatched roof on the Wee Bush won a conservation award.
The replacement thatched roof on the Wee Bush won a conservation award.

Yet another of Clydesdale’s historic old pubs is set to call time on its past as a meeting place for revellers and be converted into a private home.

This time, it is the turn of the Wee Bush, in Carnwath Main Street, to call final orders, with a planning application to convert it into a dwelling having been submitted to South Lanarkshire Council.

If the bid by a local couple to convert the landmark building is approved by planners, it will mean the end for a public house originally opened around 1750.

Its location at Carnwath Cross was thought ideal to cater not only for villagers but for the many travellers reaching this important junction on what was then the main Ayr-to-Edinburgh road.

Almost inevitably, local legend has it that Robert Burns once stayed there overnight.

The Bush’s most famous feature was its thatched roof, concealed, as so many were after the Second World War under corrugated iron until, in the mid-1980s, it was removed and it became what was claimed to be the last thatched-roof pub in Scotland.

In 1999, the old thatch was removed and, at considerable cost, a new thatched roof installed.

Sadly, this proved to be short-lived as, just three years later, it caught fire, not only destoying the roof but causing extreme damage to the old building’s structure.

However, once again the then owner spent a great deal of money gettingthe premises repaired and reopened.

Sadly, she was forced to re-roof the building with slate, there apparently not being a single insurance company that would issue a policy for what would have been theBush’s third thatching.

Although it appears to have no future as a public house, at least the future of the structure seems assured by the house conversion scheme.

 In a reversal of trends of recent decades, an existing old building until recently used as a nursing home could soon re-open as a hotel.

The building in question is Abbeyfield House, in Biggar High Street, the applicant being a Kirkcaldy firm of architects.

 Another abandoned old building with a future appears to be the South Lodge of the Birkwood Estate on the fringes of Lesmahagow.

Here an application has been made to the council to convert it into a dwelling with an extension and to restore the once-grand gates to the estate standing next to the lodge house.