It’s worth spending a little time thinking about the past before starting this cycling route.
Until around 70 years ago there was a village and mining community on the site of Strathclyde Country Park and loch. The pit was closed in 1959 and the population of Bothwellhaugh was evacuated in 1965 before being demolished to make way for a new motorway and country park, including the man-made loch. Its residents were moved to nearby towns, and the ruins of the village lie underwater to this day. Today, the park and loch are popular with people who enjoy outdoor activities, on land and water.
The watersports centre is a hub of sports activities and clubs. It was the focus of the triathlon race at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. The paths and quiet roads around the loch are perfect for a walk or cycle.
M&D’s, Scotlands Theme Park, and Amazonia, the indoor tropical rainforest, are great attractions for families.
See the site of Bothwellhaugh Roman Fort, visit a refurbished Roman bath-house and try not to get confused by a medieval bridge anachronistically named “Roman Bridge”. Contemporary with the fort, the bathhouse was in use between 142AD and 162AD.
There are plenty more cycling and walking paths at Dalzell, where you can also see historic Dalzell house and ornamental gardens. The core of the house is a 15th century tower house, with extensive additions built during the 17th and 19th centuries.
The nature reserve, which is a flooded marshland located in a bend in the River Clyde, attracts wintering wildfowl, including widgeon and whooper swans. Look out for bird hides here.
The cycle route starts at the Watersports Centre, although you could begin at any point around the loch, and then head clockwise.
Follow the path that hugs the shore of loch all the way around. It is shared with walkers and cyclists so take care when passing or approaching walkers and runners.
When you come to the car park next to the beach area head up on to the park road and cross the road and follow the path that will bring you out at the corner of Strathclyde Road and Ladywell Road.
Head up Ladywell Road and shortly after you cross the junction of Neilsland Drive go right and downhill on a tarmac path. After a short distance, join a gravel path to the right.
You’ll emerge at Hamilton Road and go to the left to cross at lights. Go left and then first right into Malcolm Street and follow round to the left on to Crawford Street.
Where Nigel Street meets Crawford Street, head right into Duchess of Hamilton Park, which is laid out in a formal design with a network of footpaths around a skate park. Follow a path on the right-hand edge of the park.
You will emerge where Avon Street meets Airbles Road before crossing Avon Street and continuing to a pedestrian crossing. Cross Airbles Road and go first right on to Leven Street. Take second right on Leven Street to head along North Lodge Avenue.
Continue to the end of the avenue and turn right downhill at garages. This is sign for RSPB nature reserve and Clyde Walkway.
Go to the left and descend on the White Walk to the very bottom of the hill. Note that White Walk isn’t signposted, but it is the name of the road. Take care because the hill can be steep.
Follow a path to the left around an old cemetery and cross a stream on a narrow bridge. Turn right on to Chestnut Walk and follow to River Clyde. Note that part of the route has been washed away but there is an obvious diversion in place.
Turn right on to the Clyde Walkway and cycle along the river shore until directed to right through a residential area. Go left and continue to end of a cul-desac where you can rejoin a path by the River Clyde (steps) and continue to Clyde bridge.
Cycle under the bridge and follow the River Clyde back to the watersports centre.