Lanark, Tinto & Covington

This is a longer and more challenging ride that starts and finishes in the bustling market town of Lanark. Cyclists are treated to beautiful countryside as well as passing by two unusual roadside memorials that offer historical interest.


Clydesholm Bridge

The very narrow bridge at Kirkfieldbank was built in the 17th century.

Tinto hill

The summit of Tinto is the highest point in the central lowlands. It is a straightforward walk to the top (90 mins) with wonderful views.

Cargill memorial

At Thankerton, a monument stands in memory of the Rev. Donald Cargill, a 17th century Scottish Presbyterian and Covenanter, who opposed the British monarch’s attempts to impose bishops on churches. He was hanged in Edinburgh in 1681. He spent a night at Covington Farm, near the monument, before being arrested.


See a hamlet of thatched cottages at Covington and further on, at the farm, there is a medieval keep and dovecot, where Robert Burns spent the night. There is a cairn to commemorate the Scottish bard’s visit.

New Lanark

Close to Lanark is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of New Lanark. The working village and cotton mill buildings were founded by the philanthropist Robert Owen in the early 19th century. There is also a beautiful walking trail to the Falls of Clyde.


From Lanark railway station, head to your right towards the town centre.

Turn left through traffic lights and descend on High Street.

Follow the road through a narrow point at a church and continue downhill.

Turn left for Hamilton A72. This is a very steep downhill.

The road crosses the River Clyde, and you turn first left on to Riverside Road to follow a road to the right into Kirkfield Road and then climb through Kirkfieldbank.

On the edge of the houses on Kirkfield Road, take the left fork on to Byretown Road and continue to follow the road as it climbs more gradually.

Follow the road round to the right and continue to climb to a junction.

Turn left and follow this road for about 1.5 miles. (A road will join from the right but ignore this.)

After a sharp right turn left at a junction signposted Sandilands and descend to a bridge over a river. This is a tight corner.

Continue to a T-junction and turn right to follow the road round to left and climb to a junction with the A70.

Join a cycle lane on your left and follow (100m or so) to a right turn for Carmichael.

Follow the road to the right at a farm and continue to crossroads in Carmichael. There is an old signpost pointing to Lanark.

Turn right and continue through Carmichael. Turn right at foot of hill.

Ride through rolling farmland and continue to follow the road round to the left (there is a dead-end ahead) and continue to Lochlyoch Farm.

Continue through the farmyard and stay left to follow road for 2 miles to A73 at Tinto Hill Tearoom. (This makes a good stopping point for refreshments.)

Go straight over A73 for Thankerton. Continue into Thankerton and take left signed for Carstairs and Carnwath – Boat Road.

Turn left over a railway and descend out of Thankerton, staying on the veering right road.

A left-hand turn in road takes you into the next cluster of buildings then you continue straight on at Boat Farm and climb to Newtown of Covington and then to Covington Mains Farm.

Beyond the farm, the road swings to the left. At a junction, turn right for Pettinain (it is signposted). Follow road to another T-junction.

Turn left and descend towards new homes in Pettinain. Just before new houses, turn right (signed Carstairs Junction) and climb steeply into Pettinain.

At the next T-junction, turn left (road is closed to cars but open for cyclists and pedestrians) and descend to the River Clyde and then continue slightly uphill into Carstairs Junction.

At a T-junction, turn left and continue gradually uphill past Carstairs Junction station. (There are infrequent trains for Glasgow and Edinburgh.) Follow the road to head over the railway and follow it to left to Carstairs village.

Keep the green on your right and continue to a T-junction with Lanark Road. Turn left and leave the village.

Follow the A70 for 0.75 mile. Continue straight on when the A70 goes left and then take the first right uphill into Cleghorn.

Follow the road round to the left and then at a Y-junction follow the A706 into Lanark. (Keep on road, stay right.)

At a T-junction opposite the Bank of Scotland, turn left and follow the High Street back past shops etc and then at top of high street at the lights turn right to return to station.

OS Landranger 72
Lanark Railway Station
Train: Lanark. Regular trains to Glasgow etc
25 miles/40km
Moderate/ strenuous
Mostly back roads but short section of A72 at start and A70 towards the end. The road surface rough is in places but mainly good quality

Image of Lanark, Tinto & Covington