Trail celebrates William Wallace’s life in Lanark

Launch of the Wallace Trail in Castlebank Park, Lanark. (Picture Sarah Peters)
Launch of the Wallace Trail in Castlebank Park, Lanark. (Picture Sarah Peters)

For decades Lanark has been accused of failing to make the most of its links with William Wallace in attracting visitors - but that can’t be said now.

On Thursday the new trail through the town, In the Footsteps of William Wallace, was officially opened.

Signs detailing the Wallace connection have been set up at five key spots and trail information booklets produced.

Launching it, Sylvia Russell, chair of Lanark Community Development Trust, said that, as part of its Vision for Lanark, members had been working on various projects to bring more visitors to the town, promoting Lanark as a town where Heritage Blooms.

“We want to tell people about our amazing history and promote the strong connections that we have to the William Wallace story.

“We are also promoting Lanark as a great centre for walking, positioned as we are on the Clyde Walkway,” she said.

“These two projects have come together nicely with the development of the Wallace Trail and the erection of the Wallace Statue in the Wallace Memorial Rose Garden.”

The trail starts at the ruins of old St Kentigern’s Church where Wallace married Marion Braidfute; next is the site of their home in the Castlegate; Lanark Castle where Wallace slew the English governor in 1297; and the Wallace Memorial Rose Garden.

“This, in Wallace’s time, would have been part of the ancient Clyde Forest through which Wallace made his escape down to the river, and along to the Wallace Cave between the two falls of Clyde,” said Sylvia. The final stop is at the Corra Linn viewpoint; any closer to the cave would be too dangerous!

Sylvia thanked many people, including Eleanor McLean for her work on the booklet, Paul Archibald for the stories for the signs, Lanark architect Peter Magnus and Stallen Brand Architecture firm who designed the signs – which were paid for by the Town Centre Capital Fund, – the community council who sourced the grant for the booklets, Border Biscuits for the roses, South Lanarkshire Council, CCI, the Community Payback team who transformed a jungle into a garden, and the Castlebank volunteers under ‘gaffer’ Ernest Romer.

“Let’s sell ourselves as a town where people want to come, want to stay, want to walk and want to shop,” she said. “Hopefully this will kickstart a lot more interest.”