Carnwath is a village on the Southern edge of the Pentland Hills in Lanarkshire. A conservation area set in the rural countryside. Carnwath is at the heart of Scotland's central belt and is reputed to be the town furthest away from the sea anywhere in Scotland!
The village has a distinctive and attractive character and comprises a single street, set in open moorland. Little remains of the castle, but the impressive motte on which it was built can still be seen at Carnwath Golf Club, founded in 1907 at the west end of the village.
Carnwath also hosts the oldest foot race in Scotland - and probably Europe - The Red Hose Race, dating back to March 13th, 1508! It has seen many changes over almost 500 years, but the running of The Red Hose is still a strong tradition in Carnwath. Just in case you are wondering, hose was the Scots word for stockings or long socks, and each year a foot race is run and the local Laird must provide a pair of red stockings as the prize.
On the main street, you will find traditional stores and craft shops, including a jewellers, but as the shops don't have modern frontages it feels like you're taking a step back in time.
Until a recent fire, the Wee Bush was the only pub in Scotland to have a thatched roof. For insurance reasons, it has unfortunately had to be replaced with slates. The Inn's other claim to fame is that actor Oliver Reed was a regular visitor.
At the centre is Carnwath Cross, the mercat cross, set back a little where the Main Street widens to form the Market Square. This was erected by the 5th Lord of Somerville in 1516 to celebrate the granting of burgh status to the village in 1514.
On the opposite side of the main road from the golf club and motte is Carnwath Parish Church. At first sight, this looks like a fairly standard 1800s church with a spire. But a stroll around the west side reveals a surprise, an almost separate tiny chapel, of a very much earlier date. This is actually St Mary's Aisle, a surviving part of the collegiate church founded here in 1425 by Thomas, First Lord Somerville and incorporating a church established in 1386.
St Mary's Aisle is the only remaining part of the Collegiate Church built in Carnwath in 1386. It stands at the west entrance alongside the parish church and is recognised as a Category A listed building. St Mary's Aisle is the mausoleum of the Lockhart family and previously of the Earls of Carnwath and the Lords Somerville.