Tag Archive: East Kilbride


Limestone at Long Calderwood

I’ve been spending more time with the family history of late, but I spotted this advert for some limestone workings at Long Calderwood in East Kilbride.

Glasgow Herald, 9th October 1846

Glasgow Herald, 9th October 1846

And the OS 6″ map (surveyed 1858) shows a limestone mine at what’s now Whin Place industrial units. The track running through the mine leads from Stoneymeadow Road up to Blackbraes Road which is possibly the linking road mentioned in the advert.
1858 Long Calderwood map

All this land is now covered by houses, industrial units and the A725 East Kilbride Expressway, apart from the trees to the north of the mine which are still there.

Dauner to Castle Hill

Thousands of cars pass over the bridge at Kittoch Glen, but few of their occupants will know that two mottes lie just off to their side.

To be fair, Castle Hill and Rough Hill look just like tree covered hills. It’s only when you get close that you notice the artificially flattened tops.

I like the idea that Rough Hill motte was built first as a sort of trial run, but there are suggestions that the buildings of Castle Hill motte were wooden, while those on Rough Hill were stone, which actually suggests the opposite.

There’s little known about these two, but they lie almost halfway between the tower houses of Mains Castle and The Peel, and both of those have earlier mottes close by. Does that suggest that these belonged to another family altogether, or was there just a whole mess of motte building going on roundabout?

We parked in Kittoch Muir, a modern estate designed to look old with lots of white peeling plasterwork, but great streetnames: Davie’s Acre is a wonderful name (which maybe explains why they’re so expensive).

There’s a steep drop from the level of the houses, with the hill rolling down into the glen itself on the right, and the motte straight ahead going down into the ditch and then up a steep incline. On top, it’s very clear that the ground has been flattened and there’s actually a surprising amount of space, with a great view in both directions along the glen.

Walking around the base of the motte, its position becomes clear, high above the water. I doubt if it would have taken long for medieval weaponry to catch up with its location though. I’m pretty sure a decent lowbowman would have been able to reach it from the other side of the glen.

The glen itself is just begging to be explored, and reminded me of the fields I wandered through as a kid, with wandering paths through waist high grass and stinging nettles and the smell of the water close by. As an adult I dread what’s hiding in that water, but my inner child was desperate to go look closer.

Additional material added April 2012

All roads lead to the farm

We caught up with a brilliant programme last night called All Roads Lead Home . Basically, natural navigation expert, Tristan Gooley, teaches Sue Perkins, Alison Steadman and Stephen Mangan how to find their way about without maps or compasses or satnav, but instead use clues from the sun, buildings and natural phenomena. It was absolutely wonderful and we spent all day today working out our directions from tree shapes and keeping an eye open for animal poo 🙂

Since it was raining, we headed undercover to the National Museum of Rural Life at East Kilbride. This is a wonderful museum, with lots of hands on stuff, tractor rides and of course the working farm of Wester Kittochside.

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We’ve been here a few times. The ride in the tractor trailer is a big pull (sorry) and today the driver pointed out the blue skies on the horizon,

looks like the weather’s improving, it generally comes in from that direction

The natural phenomena appear to be stalking us …

Anyway, he was right, which meant we spent a fair bit of time wandering around the farm. The calves were desperate to lick any hands that came near them. Son rushed about collecting hay and baaing at the cows – he reminded me of an English speaker trying to make himself understood overseas by sp-ea-king-more-loud-ly-and-sl-ow-ly – while Daughter just giggled.

The farmhouse is kept as it was in the 50s, so it looks a bit like my granny’s house. I even recognise some of the furniture :-).

Long Calderwood cairn

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These are the remains of a cairn at Long Calderwood. There’s not a lot of prehistoric remains around East Kilbride. According to the History of Rutherglen and East Kilbride by David Ure,

The practice of raising tumuli over the deceased was very ancient in Kilbride. Public marks of respect, when judiciously bestowed, have been of great use to society. By decorating the tombs of worthy characters, the living may receive instruction from the dead. A considerable number of these tumuli were, till about 30 years ago, remaining in the parish. But they are now almost totally annihilated.

Ure mentions a number of mounds or cairns that previously existed with East Kilbride parish, but I think all of these monuments have been destroyed; they provided a handy source of stone for building.

This particular cairn contained a cist burial, but the stones of the cist are long gone, along with most of the stones of the mound itself.

I’ve walked over this bit of ground loads of times, but never knew the cairn was here until I saw it on Flickr. So thanks to Chris, font of knowledge on all things Calderwood and Calderglen.

The Loupin-on Stane

The Loupin-on Stane sits outside an old coaching inn, The Montgomerie Arms, in the original village of East Kilbride. These sort of steps were once commonplace when transport meant coaches, horseback or Shanks’ Pony, allowing people to climb onto their horses or into coaches. This would be particularly useful for women, given fashions for long trailing clothes, or anyone who had had one too many at the Monty!

Loupin-on Stane, originally uploaded by JenthePen

Two turnpike roads came through EK, one from Glasgow leading south into England via Muirkirk and Dumfries and the other from Ayrshire to Edinburgh, and there’s a number of tollhouses remaining in the local area.