Location: Lanarkshire

Grade: Moderate countryside walk

Distance: 5.5 miles/9km

Time: 3-4 hours

This walk takes in an attractive section of the Clyde Walkway and then climbs to the village of Braidwood before returning above a beautiful – and unexpected – wooded gorge. It is typical of many walks in lowland Scotland in that it takes a bit of seeking out but once you have found it, the rewards are plentiful. It is a good walk for a short day, and the climb up towards Braidwood will have you glowing with warmth.

The first part of the walk follows the Clyde Walkway from the village of Crossford – its name clearly indicating that there has been a crossing point on the river here for centuries. Today there is a fine bridge arching across the river, which can be quite turbulent at this point.

The path is easy to follow and at one point climbs higher above the river. The next turn-off needs a little care. After the higher section of path, look up to the right to see a small group of houses. At the end of a large field you need to turn right towards these houses (at the point where you leave the walkway there is a footbridge straight ahead).

The path leads up to a minor road and then you start climbing, quite steeply for a while. The next section runs along the slope, and you may catch a glimpse of the unmistakeable pyramid of Tinto, Lanarkshire’s highest hill, before turning up into Braidwood, where the beautiful pond makes an ideal lunch stop if you have timed it right. Ducks and perhaps swans might come close in the hope of a titbit or two.

After this the walk takes a path above the dramatic little Fiddler’s Gill, one of many such small ravines in the valleys of the Clyde and its main tributaries. As with most of them, this one is heavily wooded with some superb mature trees. The Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve includes half a dozen of these lovely spots.

The path wriggles down to cross a field, a slightly awkward bit, before crossing the Fiddler’s Burn and then using an old road to get back towards the start. Looking up to the left as you join the old road you may see the large mansionhouse called Lee Castle.

The final section leads down past Birkhill Farm and back across the Clyde, and I hope you will agree that it is a pleasant and occasionally surprising wee walk.

Roger Smith


Map: OS Landranger sheet 72 (Upper Clyde Valley)

Distance: 5.5m/9km

Approx Time:: 3-4 hours

Start/Finish: Car park at rear of village hall, Crossford (GR: NS827465)

Route: TL on main road. In 500m TL over R.Clyde. TL on Clyde Walkway. In about 1.5km TR on path heading up to houses, Follow road uphill. At fork keep L, steeply uphill. At T-junction TR. At next junction keep L up to Braidwood. At pond TR on Loch Avenue past primary school. Keep ahead on path between hedges. At junction TR with Fiddler’s Gill to L. At road end go R through two gates. Walk by fence. Cross stile into field and walk diagonally down to gate. TL on road. Go R of metal gate on path down to cross burn by footbridge. Climb to meet old road and TR. Continue with road past Birkhill Farm. At T-junction TR and then L on road to cross Clyde and go R back to car park.

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