I’ve been recently sent several photos of High Blantyre curling pond, which you may have seen on the website already. As I was looking through old 1910 map, I was surprised to see a Curling Pond just off the Whistleberry Road, down on the lower slopes of where Auchinraith House used to be. I’d never heard of that pond before and was intrigued, as it didn’t show on 1898 maps, nor on later 1930s maps. A curling pond, for a limited time in Blantyre? I had to investigate more.
So, on Saturday 30th August 2014, I set off to Backmuir Plantation (Auchinraith Woods) beside the EK Low Blantyre slipway. My dog came along too. The area was far more overgrown than I had expected and of course the old Auchinraith House is no longer there. I crossed the bridge at the Parkburn and set off down a little track through the woods. Using this
map, i came across a clearing in the woods, that was level by comparison to the surrounding area. I say clearing, but it was more like a young wood, very different from the surrounding older trees. I’d found the curling pond! I stood for a few moments thinking of the fun and games that must have taken place there, the challenges and sporting competition in days gone by.
Feeling fairly proud i’d found it, I decided to continue round the nature trails, which i have to admit were very poorly signed or not signed at all. Doubling back on myself, i must have taken a wrong turning and ended up quite lost! Lost in the woods! My dog and I walked for another 20 minutes before I decided that the roar of the expressway was nearby and a good point of reference. Heading towards that, I’m quite ashamed to say, i came out on Bothwell Road, and nowhere near the expressway! I’d simply underestimated how large the plantation was and hadn’t been there since i was child. Of course, I was never in any danger, it was more frustrating than anything else. My poor old dog was exhausted through and gladly jumped back into the car when we got back to the Parkburn Bridge! The best of it all, about 5 minutes before i got back to the car, I realised my new phone has a GPS service. Pressing that button, instantly came up with a map, showing what direction i was going in and where the nearest roads were! The wonders of technology.
An 1890s photo of the curling pond can now be seen here.