No, we aren’t in France – the name Chatelherault derives from the title of Duc de Châtellerault presented to James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran, in 1548 and to subsequent Dukes of Hamilton. Their home, Hamilton Palace, was demolished in 1921: Chatelherault, designed by William Adam, is merely a hunting lodge built in 1734 to provide the 5th Duke with estate buildings, stables and kennels. Normally you can see inside, but it had been hired for a Bridal Shower when we visited last week, so we contented ourselves with a stroll around the exterior. Strange place to practice your drums, we thought.
The grounds are now a country park, so we chose the longest of its trails and set off on what must be the muddiest walk of the year so far: a 5 mile round trip down one side of the Avon Gorge to the Green Bridge and back up the other. (The Avon Water is a tributary of the Clyde.)
Just before arriving back at Chatelherault, we passed the Cadzow Oaks and the remains of Cadzow Castle. This might be the oldest surviving oak woodland in Scotland – some of the trees have been dated at over 500 years old.
The castle is of similar age, probably built around 1500-1550, and only seems to be held up by massive scaffolding, courtesy of Historic Scotland.
From here, it was a short trip across the Duke’s Bridge and back to the car-park at Chatelherault. We’d been so busy lacing our boots up when we arrived that we hadn’t noticed this totem pole behind the car.
Where has everyone else been walking lately? Find out at Jo’s Monday Walks.