Powmillion.Co.Uk Walks: The Crags and the Lethames

Overview

This is a walk I have done thousands of times, literally, mostly with a dog. The route follows the main East Kilbride road for about a mile and then turns off onto much quieter country roads. We start off with a gentle climb out of the town and we will be passing through mostly grazing land. Off the main road, we go down into the Powmillion valley to the Hapton Crags, or simply the Crags, before climbing up the other side to follow the remainder of this fairly level route to reach the gentle slope back to the start point. A wide variety of wildlife can be seen when in season! Commonly sighted are Kestrels, Buzzards, Grey Heron, Mallard ducks, rabbits and squirrels. Occasionally there are foxes, otters, weasels and possibly badgers though I have never actually seen one, only evidence of their having been there. There is a wide variety of plant life, from Oak to Ash and Scots pine to wild geraniums to fungi, large and small. Other things of interest include the turbines of several wind farms, Tinto Hill and the view over Strathaven and beyond.

The Route

Distance; about 3.5 miles

Time; about 1 hour

The Directions
  1. Start at the Common Green in the centre of Strathaven. At the entrance, oppiste the "Weavers" bar, turn right.

  2. Follow the road for about 1 mile. When you reach a crossroads, turn left.

  3. Descend to the bottom of the valley and to the Hapton Crags

  4. Continue, climbing the hill and at the crossroads go straight on to reach the ridge.

  5. Follow the road, which bears right after a small descent, until you reach a turning on the left, about half a mile along the line of trees.

  6. Take the first turn on the left and at the T junction at the end of this short stretch, turn left again, thus heading back towards Strathaven.

  7. Follow the road past Lethame House, all the way to the bottom of the hill, about 3/4 of a mile.
    Bear right which will bring you back to the Common Green.

The Notes
  1. All buses will stop here and there is also a car park, though it has a two hour limit. Longer term parking is available in Station Road (exit the Common Green via Well Brae, turn left andf the right at the traffic lights) or in one of the car parks attached to the public parks. The most convenient being one opposite the Ball Green Hall (formerly the public Library) and on the route - turn right out of the Common Green towards East Kilbride, go straight on at the next set of traffic lights. The Ball Green Hall is the brick building on the right, set a little back from the road about 150 yards from the lights at the end of the row of terraced houses. The car park is directly opposite.

  2. You will pass the East Church on your right as you set off and then the Golf Club, after about half a mile, also on your right, as you leave the town and head into the countryside. After about another half a mile you reach a crossroads. Turn left here.

  3. The road descends to the Hapton Crags, a craggy area of the Powmillion valley, the appearance of which is heavily influenced by it's glaciated past.
    Before dropping down into the valley, in front and slightly to the right, through the row of Beech trees, can be seen some of the turbines of the Whitelee Wind Farm. The first of these turbines was installed in 2008 and at the time it was Scotland's largest, with 140 generators.
    To the right, approximately in the South East can be seen some of the turbines of the Hagshaw Hill Wind Farm. (Look for a line of trees with a distinctive notch on the horizon. The turbines are to the right of this.) This was the first wind farm built in Scotland in 1995 and comprised 26 turbines although this was extended in 2007. More towards the south, there are the turbines of the Dungavel wind farm.

  4. In the valley bottom, looking downstream as you cross the first of the two bridges you can see a small outcrop of rock which is slightly undercut. This is known as Jenny's Cave.
    Also, on the right between the two bridges is a platform of rock known as The Pulpit which was allegedly used as such during Covenanting times.
    Continue, climbing the hill and at the crossroads go stright on to reach the ridge. As you climb the slope, behind you and to the left can be seen the distinctive shape of Tinto Hill, some 18 miles somewhat South of East. The hill is visible from many places along the route.
    Option; For a shortened route, turn left at either the crossroads or, my preference as there likely to be no traffic and it avoids a nasty corner, at the top of the hill. Follow this road all the way down the hill and it will lead you back to the Common Green.

  5. This part of the road descends slightly before it turns to the right and follows a line of trees, including some Scots Pine and the Whitelee turbines directly ahead. Look out for squirrels and various fungii here.

  6. Turn to the left and head towards a farm (Nether Lethame) with buildings on the left side of the road and at the end of this short stretch, turn left again heading back towards Strathaven. Look out for "the ducks" as you pass the pond by the farm, they are a favourite with local children. Sadly, since the farmer retired,there are no longer and ducks though there may be some plastic ones!
    As you turn the corner towards Strathaven, if you look to the horizon just to the left of the remaining part of a large solitary Beech tree in the field on the left side of the road, another set wind turbines can be seen. They are near to the village of Forth and are about twenty miles away.
    Option; Turn right at the T-junction instead, then left at the Over Lethame Farm (the first farm you reach and where the road forks right). Keep left at each of the next two junctions. You will now be on the main Strathaven to Kilmarnock road. You may continue into the town by this way, turning left at the second roundabout, on to Townhead Street and descend into the town center. The common Green is on the right at the traffic lights.
    Alternatively, take to the left at the first roundabout to avoid the heavy and fast moving traffic. This quieter option leads to Collinhill Road. Follow it and turn left at the end onto Townhead Street thus regaining the same route as before. More Options;After turning on to Colinhill Road, turn first left onto Kirkhill Road. This joins with Lethame Road, regaining the orignal route.

  7. Follow the road past Lethame House, on your right, where there are often some intersting fungi growing on some of the trees, all the way to the bottom of the hill, about 3/4 of a mile, to a STOP sign. Keep right which will bring you back to the Common Green.

The Map

The route described is shown by the solid blue line.
Options are shown by the broken blue line.

Crags and Lethames map(126K)
Map courtesy of Google Maps

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