Wandering in Wonder

The Clyde

The Clyde in Winter


10th of January

 The snow is still lying, white and crisp, despite having been around for three weeks now. It is a beautiful day – the sky is clear and blue. The sunlight plays mischievously on the land’s icy  garb – bringing out the sparkle and glitter from the frosty surface.

We must make the most of this spectacle of nature– we must use this day to advantage. We decide to head down to the Falls of Clyde and New Lanark. As usual, en route, I recall my late father’s words on the place:

“I had never realised how beautiful the Falls of Clyde are. You should really go and see them.”

I had, of course, said that I would.  But it was only with his passing that I actively sought it out, with the knowledge that he found great peace in this place.

Of course, he had been right. Nevertheless, his words had not described the drama – the height of the gorge – the spate of the flood, the force of the water – the noise of the falls –the amount of wildlife.  None of it had been anticipated. However, having walked its route several times now, it had become like an old friend. I looked forward to the long climb past Cora Linn up to Bonnington Linn, where the water for the huge hydro electric plant was controlled by a series of sluice gates.

On this bright crisp day it seemed an ideal destination. With husband and dogs in tow, we set out on a magical journey through the heart of Lanarkshire.


The snow at New Lanark is deeper still; the paths icy. But with dogs and humans both keen on adventure, we soon leave the parking lot behind, and pass through the little archway that leads to the Clyde walkway.

And we are in awe.

From the grey, rugged face of the gorge were hanging massive icicles – twenty feet in length, tapering to the slightest of tips. About seventy five feet below us, the partially frozen river frothed and gurgled in its tortuous route between its freshly festooned walls.

The branches of the trees are pointing snow encrusted fingers hopefully at the blue sky. Occasionally, weighed down with snow, a strangely shaped tree has fallen into the river, giving the impression of contortions of agony.

Onwards and upwards we continue. The falls are partially frozen and resemble gigantic cauliflowers from science fiction stories. Everything was winter still. The waterfall is more a trickle-tumble through an icy fortress. The tap being slowed to a mere dribble.

There is very little noise.

Thus, silently, at the beginning of this New Year, we absorb the beauty.  There are words I could use to attempt to describe it – some we hear on the way from passers-by – “magnificent” “fabulous” “wonderful” – but all were merely reaching out in the vain aim of expressing such a kaleidoscopic event. Of walking through it – of touching and experiencing it.

We can only give thanks.

We became like little children.

We wandered in wonder again.

When all movement is stilled

The tumbling cascade is restricted.

©Linda Jane McLean

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