Lousie Wood Law and Dun Law.

A quick dash down the M74 today as I had to be back home by 1pm.Wasn`t really bothered where I went but was just glad to get out somewhere.After being cooped up in Italy with a crowd of folk for two weeks I was looking forward to getting some peace and quiet on the hills again.A couple of my remaining Donalds around Leadhills fitted the bill.

Parked on the B7040 at NS 915 162 and headed down to ford the Elvan Water.I`d been down here in January.The mist was down to the car and I couldn`t get across the river at all..it was a raging torrent.There was an old telegraph pole spanning it but it was encrusted by 3 inches of ice.I headed off elsewhere to bag some trig points instead.Today I could almost walk across and what`s more,I could actually see the hills 🙂 I headed up the land rover tracktowards the summit of Glen Ea`s Hill,only stopping to slap on the sunscreen.

I like these southern hills.Totally different from their northern cousins but much more peaceful and you can still walk all day and not meet anyone.Different birdlife as well.Today it was the mournful sound of the golden plover that accompanied me as well as the odd curlew and loads of skylarks.

Golden Plover.

It didn`t seem to be long before I stood on the top of Dun Law.A quick look around I headed off north east along the ridge towards Lousie Wood Law.

Looking back towards Dun Law….

Dun Law.

…and the way ahead to Lousie Wood Law…

Lousie Wood Law.

I was on time,even early as a matter of fact,so had time to hang around for half an hour and enjoy the sunshine…

Summit of Lousie Wood Law.

Aha,I thought. I`ll go down to Elvanfoot and have a look for the Navvies`Graveyard.Headed down to the Lead Burn and over the shoulder of Leadburn Rig to get back to the car.It was warm without the breeze higher up and the car was like a furnace inside but hey ho,this gave me the chance to have a quick smoke while all the doors were open to cool it down.

Four miles down the road and working from memory I parked on the A702 just off the motorway.I knew it was situated under a bridge hereabouts and as luck would have it the first bridge I came to proved to be the one.

The Navvies`Graveyard from above the bridge…

The Navvies graveyard, Elvanfoot..

There are 37 stones within the chain that enclose it each one representing a navvy killed in the construction of the Caledonian Railway during the 1840`s.No tombstones or memorials as nobody knew their names,just a stone lifted out of the river bed as their final marker.These guys had a hard,hard life and God knows how they managed to survive.Thousands of people an hour pass over their graves on the M74 nearby and toss rubbish out of their car windows onto them.Maybe we should give them a taste of hard labour…

My grandmother was in the same class at school as the writer Patrick MacGill.He left Donegal just after the turn of the century to work in the hydro electric schemes all over Scotland including the Blackwater Dam at Kinlochleven.He wrote a few semi autobiographical books which I can`t recommend highly enough for giving you an insight into what it was like in these times.Moleskin Joe and Children of the Dead End are well worth buying.They can usually be picked up on Ebay for a pound or two.

The view down the Clyde from the Navvies`Graveyard….

River Clyde at Elvanfoot.

The memorial at the graveyard.It reads…..

“In memory of the thirty seven workmen who died while engaged in the construction of the Caledonian Railway and were buried in this ground which was consecrated 12th August 1847 by Michael Russell,Bishop of Glasgow.”

Navvy memorial inscription.

I had a seat and a cigarette in the graveyard,said farewell, and then drove up the road and returned to the 21st century at 1pm…

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