Walk: Calderglen - rotten rapids & hidden waterfalls

South Lanarkshire | East Kilbride | Half day walk | ★★★

[The walk passes about a dozen waterfalls - most taller than this one, but often with obscured views]

Cuddling up against suburban East Kilbride, Calderglen is a surprisingly peaceful glen through which the unsavoury-sounding Rotten Calder flows - the name actually referring to the ironstone bedrock, or perhaps the rusty colour of the water running over it. This walk is all about the journey (past several attractive waterfalls, although views of the most dramatic ones are obstructed by vegetation) rather than the destination; the former site of Calderwood Castle at the end appears just to be a forlorn mass of weeds. Mostly wooded, this is a useful bad weather alternative to a more ambitious walk - and thanks to numerous steps, probably nearly as tiring! Don't miss the small, friendly zoo at the start.

[The path along the Rotten Calder is unexpectedly hilly, with lots of steps]

📌 Walk: Calderglen - rotten rapids & hidden waterfalls
▶ 8 km / 5 miles | ▲ 90 metres
Features: Calderglen Zoo & Conservatory; various waterfalls on the Rotten Calder
Start / finish: Main car park at Calderglen Country Park, East Kilbride, G.R.: NS 654526 ///prominent.sounding.spout

Route: Car park - Torrance Linn - Kingfisher Bridge by west bank - Newhousemill Road bridge by east bank - Trough Linn by west bank - Black Linn - Castle Falls - site of Calderwood Castle - return by outward route. Waymarked intermittently by red castle symbols.
Terrain: Clear forest paths with some mud and lots of steep steps, and some diversions around landslides.
Wildlife today: Robins and other woodland birds, ripe blackberries.
Weather today: Cloudy but dry, about 12°C.

>> Calderglen Zoo and Conservatory ★★★☆☆

[Rotten Calder (27/4/18)]

Route map

Route credit: Walkhighlands

More photos

[Torrance House near the start (27/4/18)]

[Sculpture (27/4/18)]

[Side of Calderwood Castle]


  1. Hi, our board could not help but notice that you refer to a Calderglen Castle in this blog, yet in Calderglen we had a Calderwood Castle, never a Calderglen Castle. The site you describe actually bears a high number of built remains beneath the foliage and down the sides of the promontory, as well as the final destination being not just the site, but the stables ruin, mausoleum ruin, pets mausoleum, overgrown lawn, terraced garden, plantings, and various off-shooting nature trails. A bit of an undersell as a walking guide, which titles itself on rotten rapids. The name although from a corruption of a p-Celtic word for red could represent peat or blood rather than ironstone. The colour of the water is certainly imparted by peat near its source. Perhaps a place once famous as one of the leading sites of the lowlands deserves more than an ignorant write-up.

    1. Hello Unknown, thanks for your comments! We do refer to the castle as Calderwood in the main text, however thanks for pointing out the Calderglen typo in the route details, which has now been corrected. Our source for attributing ironstone to the "Rotten" name is the local council's park leaflet.

      As for our description of the castle - this is just our opinion based on our visit; we aim to tell it as we found it, as can be seen in the final photo on the page.


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