Groups in Lanark have joined forces to organise a weekend’s celebration of the Falls of Clyde.
A year after the Government’s decision to halt the proposed extension of Hyndford Quarry into the area, the organisers want to do more to promote the Falls of Clyde and their historic landscape setting.
The famous waterfalls are a favourite destination for families from across Lanarkshire – and tourists from around the world.
But the organisers believe that there should be greater public awareness about this attraction.
The gorge containing the Falls of Clyde was formed by the sudden release of meltwaters from an ice sheet at the end of the Ice Age, which also left behind the remarkable undulating fluvio-glacial landscape east of Lanark whose formations are so unusual that many people do not believe they are natural.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the Falls were enhanced by the owners of the adjacent country houses by blocks of tree planting and other features to create a “designed landscape”.
This in turn attracted early tourists and became the inspiration for famous writers and artists including the Wordsworths and Turner. They were opened up to ordinary families from across Lanarkshire when the cheap trains were introduced in the 1850s.
In the 1920s, the Falls were harnessed for the UK’s first commercial hydro-electric station providing electricity to the national grid. And most recently the area immediately adjacent to the gorge has become a reserve managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
The celebration, to be held on Sunday August 21, consists of a series of short talks and guided walks.
Talks will be held in the New Lanark Visitor Centre at 11am and 2pm and include: The Story of Lugless Will by local storyteller Allison Galbraith.
Famous Visitors to the Falls by author C.A. Hope Wildlife and the Falls by SWT Ranger Steve Blow
The guided Walks, starting at the New Lanark Visitor Centre, will run at 2.30pm and include: The Secrets of the Falls of Clyde – which will include Corra Linn, the View House and the Bonnington Parkland; In Search of Lugless Will – including a visit to the ruin at Boathaugh; The Ruins of Braxfield House – one time home to Robert Owen, and a notorious “hanging judge”.
The Big Walk – a six-mile hike round the gorge, and taking in Alistair Gray’s mural of the Falls of Clyde at the Kirkfieldbank Restaurant (This walk starts at 1pm).
Scottish Power has also agreed to open Bonnington Power Station providing groups of visitors with a rare opportunity to see inside this important piece of history.
The event is being organised on a “drop-in” basis so people can pick and choose what they are interested in.
Thanks to generous financial support from the Border Biscuit Trust and South Lanarkshire Council the event will be free.
Mark Stephens of Save Our Landscapes said: “The Falls of Clyde have so much to offer.
“This event provides an ideal opportunity to explore the area and to get to know more about it.”
Graham U’ren of the Friends of New Lanark said: “We are particularly keen to show how the Falls of Clyde fit into the wider history of the Royal Burgh of Lanark.”
The event is supported by the Clyde and Avon Valley Partnership.