A word of warning on this story. It may be somewhat disturbing and caution is urged if you’re squeamish. At the Southern end of Blantyre Parish, high up on the fields above Blantyre is the Trough Linn. (older name, The Reekin Linn). Near the old ruins of Laighlyoch Farm, this is a small, but very dangerous part of the Rotten Calder known to flow very fast and has over the centuries claimed a few lives at this location. A Linn is a small waterfall.
The Edinburgh Advertiser on Friday 30th July 1819 reported, “On Sunday last a young man by the name of Russel was drowned at the Trough Linn of Calder Water , near Kilbride. He, and an acquaintance (neither of them swimmers) had been washing themselves in a shallow part of the water above the linn and in crossing the water immediately above the linn “to get to his clothes”, his foot slipped and he fell in. Two hours had elapsed before help arrived. However, Russel had died at the Linn and left a young widow.
Chris Ladds, Calderwood historian told me, “Local fishermen haven’t called it the devils cauldron for nothing. In the records relating to Kilbride at Glasgow cathedral, back in pre-reformation times it is recorded, the local ministers used to throw disfigured or disabled newborns into this linn stating they were the devils spawn.” How very, very sad, if this is ever found to be true.
Chris went on to say, “Just in case you have not noticed, where the water spills over the edge, that edge is a thin wall and a deep cylindrical pit is at the top. On one sunny day I noticed the light suggesting that near the base of the pit it had carved through to the face of the fall. It is a peculiar arrangement. If any one fell into it from above, with the force of the water and that arrangement you can imagine the terrible injuries one would suffer. I don’t think authorities knew about the part immediately above the linn spout. Also at most times the plunge pool at it’s deepest point is 19 feet deep according to two local fishermen, one who witnessed a death there, where someone sitting on the rocky ledge rolled backwards. With such a deep pool makes you think what nasties lie at the bottom!“
This isn’t a place I fancy visiting alone! To that end, Chris and I have planned a visit sometime soon.