by Glenda White
By a circuitous means, via Maureen Small and Linda Brown to name but two, copies of three walks undertaken, over a hundred years ago, by the ‘lads’ of the Wellington Rambling Club have been passed to me. Since, after 31 years, I’m just about to give up the leadership of the West End Christian Walking Club, these reminders of the delights of walking in good company couldn’t have come at a more propitious time! But walker or not, you can’t fail to appreciate the exhilaration and joy that comes through the writing – the fresh air and energy, football, fun and friendship, and the interest they took in everything around them. It’s a pleasure to share, across a century, their sheer zest for life. Of the three walks we have, I’ve chosen March 31st, 1913 just before the outbreak of the First World War in which, poignantly, one of them would be killed.
The walk they took from Uddingston to Blantyre, via Bothwell Castle, is still one of my favourites. It’s an easy, short walk alongside one of the loveliest stretches of the Clyde with a castle, a wobbly bridge and the Memorial to David Livingstone thrown in!
If you would like to follow in their footsteps I’ve put it on our website ‘www.wecwc.co.uk’ under ‘Walks within a radius of 10 miles’. If you’d like a longer, even-more-beautiful route taking in the Uddingston to Blantyre stretch walk but using a car and two trains (Simples! Honestly!) try ‘A Figure of Eight around Chatelherault under the same menu. If you don’t have access to the internet, phone me and I’ll get a copy of the walks to you!
In the meantime, if anyone has any more information about the ‘lads’ you might like to let me know and we’ll bring you up-to-date in a future edition of the ‘Wellie News’. And, maybe, you have a copy of the other walks they did!
Bothwell Castle and Blantyre via Uddingston.
Saturday, 29th of March, 1913
On 29th March we inaugurated the Wellington Church Rambling Club, with our first ramble, and luckily were favoured with the best weather we have had so far this year, in fact it was difficult to make one believe that Spring had hardly commenced, it was so summerlike.
Fourteen of us gathered at the Central Station where we took return tickets from the Low Level Uddingston. When we arrived at Uddingston some of us had not the courage to drag our coats it was so warm. We all went therefore in a body and deposited them in the ticket office. About half a mile from the station, we arrived at Bothwell Castle Estate magnificent grounds owned by the Earl of Home KJ. At the request of Mr Kerr he kindly granted us special permission to visit the castle, an ancient and historic building, hundreds of years old, the scene of much strife in our early national history. It has in its time been a huge and magnificent structure, several parts of the moat and entrance having been unearthed lately, almost fully 100 yards distant from the main court. While inside inspecting the walls et cetera, Mr Morrison joined us having travelled by a later train. It was indeed rather a pleasant surprise to us all.
Outside in the grounds we had a strenuous game of football for about twenty minutes, at the end of which most of us felt more like lying on the ground than walking another six or seven miles, it was so hot. Anyhow, we all managed to amble along and the view obtained from the grounds was indeed beautiful, looking up the Clyde with the Castle in the background. We soon came in sight of Blantyre, on the other side of the river looking very fresh and clean with its white washed houses in contrast to the Spring greenness all around. Coming into the town of Bothwell, Mr Morrison led us into Bothwell Parish Church, one of the oldest in Scotland dating back about eight hundred years, although of course it has been renewed. We passed into the church, the architectural work of which is most beautiful. We were also shown into a kind of crypt, which contains several slabs of stones, which at one time had adorned the head of a grave. The roof of the crypt, we were told, was eleven feet thick. Mr Morrison now had unfortunately to leave us, having to go back to town. Our only hope is therefore that he will be able to join us in several other rambles this season.
Before starting out on our way to Blantyre we had some refreshments, but we were soon on our way again and soon reached the Clyde, flowing majestically towards its duty in the commercial world. We passed over a suspension bridge, by no means safe in a storm, at the end of which we had to pay a toll, which goes towards the upkeep of the bridge. We were now in Blantyre, the birthplace of David Livingstone, whose history does not require to be repeated here, it’s being too well-known, this being the centenary this year of his birth. We first visited his old school room, on the walls of which is hung a copy of the writing on his tomb in Westminster Abbey. We then visited his house where he was born, a very old-fashioned yet well-kept building. We also saw the ruins of the factory where he worked not 100 yards from his home, rather a convenient distance which most of us would envy.
We now retraced our steps homewards, the football playing a prominent part in our “weary way home homeward”. At least if we counted the number of times we chased this over hedges and fences, we would be “weary” by the time we were finished. We soon reached Uddingston, having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and only hope we will be favoured with the same weather in our future rambles.
Jack M. Robertson
Names of those present:
Mr Morrison; Mr W L McKerrow; Mr Norman C Anderson; Mr Kerr;
Mr Smith; Mr J L Adamson; Mr GH Morrison, Jr; Mr Edwin Blair;
Mr Robert Laing; Mr Andrew Kirkland; Mr Frank Agnew;
Mr Fred Turner; Mr Harry Turner; Mr Ian Grant; Mr Jack M Robertson”