The wheelchairs in the woods mystery

Wheelchairs in Braidwood House grounds
Wheelchairs in Braidwood House grounds

A woman is out walking her dog when she notices an eerie sight - ten empty wheelchairs in the woods surrounding an abandoned old mansion.

It sounds like the start of a horror film or even an episode of “Sherlock”.

However, it actually happened to Braidwood resident Heather Muir and, even after a bit of sleuthing herself, she still hasn’t managed to find the answer to the puzzling, if not creepy, sight.

She told the Gazette that she noticed the wheelchairs lying in the grounds of Braidwood House when walking her dog, around ten chairs strewn from near the main gates up to near Braidwood Loch.

She decided to try to find out who the wheelchairs belonged to and who had dumped them in the woods around the long-vacant Victorian mansion that was once the family seat of Lord Clydesmuir, a Lanarkshirre steel magnate and long-serving Lord Lieutenant of the county.

She contacted Police Scotland,NHS 24, NHS Lanarkshire and its property division.

No-one could help solve the mystery, the NHS denying the chairs were theirs, despite one of them bearing the name of Wishaw Gemeral Hospital.

She is now wondering if the chairs were brought to Braidwood House by someone in the private care sector just to dump them there.

The chairs appear too modern to be leftovers from the distant days when the mansion was used by the Capability Scotland charity which used it as a home for sufferers of cerebal palsy.

The mansion then had a controversial existence as the base for the Airborne Initiative, the ‘boot camp’ for young offenders.

It was briefly used as offices by the South of Scotland Forestry Commission.

Three years ago there was a major scheme to turn the mansion and grounds into a multi-million pound retirement village. This never became a reality.

Now, both Heather - and the Gazette - would like to discover if a dark tale lies behind the wheelchairs in the woods - or if it’s just the latest case of fly-tipping in our countryside.