Earnock Miners' Path
Start location: Meikle Earnock Road, Hamilton (NS 708 533)
End location: Dalmellington Court, Hamilton (NS 688 544)
Geographical area: Strathclyde and Lanarkshire
Path Type: Industrial Path, Railway Track
Path distance: 2.5km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians, Suitable for Bikes, Suitable for horses
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Starting from Meikle Earnock Rd, follow the light path across a grassy piece of ground to pick up a more distinct path. After about 1km, there is a small muddy section. The path has widened at this point, over time, with people moving to the side. There are several paths going off of the main path, to the housing estates. Just keep going straight, under a road bridge and an old bridge, until you come to a crossroad. If you went straight on, you would arrive at Wellhall Rd (NS693546). Instead, take the left turn at the crossroads. Pass another bridge, on your left. The path starts to narrow; go uphill with a few steps, and turn right, onto Dalmellington Court. The route is easy going.
It has been known for Roe deer and woodpeckers to be seen and heard. Rabbits have also been seen, early in the morning
The miners may have been making their way to the Udston pit. A housing estate now sits on the site. To get there, leave Dalmellington Court, turn left onto Davington Drive then straight onto the main road. Turn right. After 200m, at the bend in the road, go through the gate, with an emergency vehicle only sign. Through the roundabout, after the 2nd road on the right, there's a small path which takes you past where the old bing used to be.
OS Landranger 64 (Glasgow)
Locally this is said to have been a miners' path, but it is not certain where the miners were coming from and what mine they were going to. Any further information would be very gratefully received.
The first section of the path follows a disused railway line that ran from Strathaven to Stonefield. At one time there was a station at Meikle Earnock and the line also served the collieries. On the 3rd edition 1" OS map (1905) a siding is shown to a colliery located just south of where the bridge crosses the disused railway line at Townhill Road. Udston Colliery was developed after 1872 by James Dunn, farmer at Dykehead and Robert Ure, a coalmaster in Rutherglen. At its peak the colliery employed nearly 1000 men. It was the scene of an explosion in 1887 when 73 lives were lost, Scotland's second worst mining disaster.
The latter part of the path can also be picked out on the 1905 1" OS map, but it is not clear to where it is headed. The route could be surmised as continuing towards an Inn marked at the Dykehead farm junction on the Newhousemill road, this is certainly in the direction of the Udston pit. Alternatively the path does seem to end near a spur west from the railwayline - this minor trackline ran past present day Muirmains Farm, past the site of the Hamilton Water Works' reservoir at Wellbrae to the road junction north of Muirhouses where once there were quarries. Perhaps this path was used by quarryworkers as well as miners.