Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Railway Bridges at the Tentfield Plantation

So, with the bike out of play for a bit, me and the better half headed out for a walk in the Roughcastle Woodland because it is there, and like so were Romans two millenia ago.

I mean, that's not why I went, I went because I know there are two lovely bridges under the High Station line that connect Roughcastle Woodland to the Tentfield Plantation.

It was just a stroll.

I took some pics of the bridges.

Good way to spend an afternoon.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Looking for Manuel (Lower)

I went out on my bike yesterday to try to locate more of that victorian industrial infrastructure that I so love. I failed. But I did come across lots of other things.

My intention was to go to Whitecross to see if anything remained of the Manuel Lower Train Station (there isn't), so I took the route through Grangemouth and Old Polmont, skirting round Polmont itself, up the Nicolton Road to Lathallan. The entrance to the Lathallan Estate from the Nicolton Road is now gated off, which is a shame, but still I somehow found myself on the other side of that gate with a tear in my shorts, so onward ho!

Lathallan House must have been gorgeous in it's day, and would have certainly have been a place that oiks like me would have been hunted away with sticks and the like. But now under 'right to roam' I can explore. There are plenty of other images of Lathallan out there but here are mine.

Lathallan is for sale if somebody wants to do something with it, but I think it is out of my range. On the estate there is also an Walled Orchard, but I somehow contrived to go down a track I thought would take me there, but didn't [another trip I think ...].

I took the path that linked up to the old Haining Road which took me south to the railway line, where there is a bridge, in the middle of nowhere, and I guess used by very few.

This brings you to the Haining Wood, which although nice, is simply no place for a bike, so I continued up to the the Industrial Estate on the site of the old Manuel Brickworks, and to my complete surprise it is all gone ... well except the floor and the roads. All the buildings have been removed, well except the one that the brickworks stopped people getting a close look at Almond Castle.

Again there are plenty of pictures out there on the web [including ones taken inside by some stupid brave kids] but these are mine.

I was able to cross the now empty estate to Whitecross, which is ... Whitecross, I mean, it is in Falkirk District, and Stirlingshire, but closer to Linlithgow, but still so far from either that it sort of falls between the two, given that it is not on a major road. I suppose most people here choose it because it is out of the way, but still gives you easy access to Central Scotland, hey, not for me.

As soon as you get to the Eastern side of Whitecross you can see the former railway line, which was Slamannan to Bo'ness line by the trees in a straight line that nearly always mean railway line.

But that was that, I followed the old map, down Station Road, then up the lane, which still exists, to well, not much.

Compared to an old picture taken in roughly the same place, there is nothing (I suppose I will have to return when winter has killed the foliage).

Deflated by this, I started heading for Kinneil, because from there the route home was flat, and I had done enough hills, which is when I really got sidetracked, I followed the path to the Linlithgow Road, then passed under the motorway, when I saw the sign "River Avon Heritage Trail to Avonbank Community Woodland". Aha, these I normally love. But I found rather dull. Better described as a bit of land between the M9 and the River Avon with a mucky path in and a mucky path out.

I took a picture of an old mill in Linlithgow, from Falkirk.

And a picture of the M9 from an angle that is rarely seen.

But getting out of the woodland, pushing my bike up a mucky path up a hill, so wore it out of me that I gave up on Kinneil and turned for home. Linlithgow Road - Polmonthill - back through Grangemouth and home.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Railway Bridge at Cleuch Plantation

Under the Wester Shieldhill Road still exists some traces of the Industry that created Falkirk District. What is now a lovely but [thankfully] rarely used public path which does not really seem to lead anywhere.

The reason that it doesn't really go anywhere, is, of course because it is incomplete, well not incomplete; the path was once part of the bedding of the Callendar Estate's mineral railway, which linked several of the Callendar Estate's collieries with the Callendar Brick Works near the Glen Village.

OS Map 1899 [via NLS Maps]

If you are not looking for the course of a former railway track, you probably will not see it. But there is one thing that really gives the game away [except for the old maps], and that is the bridge where the tracks went under the road.

Facing East

Facing West


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Forge Row - Carron

Let me just start this by saying that from Carron you have to get to this by passing a sign that says you are entering Stenhousemuir, now I think they are trying to annoy me, Forge Row was within the grounds of the Carron Iron Works, and indeed owned by the company.

Forge Row was a a simple row of six houses for Carron Employees: Stenhousemuir was up Goshen Brae and a bit more away, to me this is a land grab reminiscent of Central Europe in the 1930s.


"A Row of houses exclusively tenanted by the Carron Workmen they are all two storeys slated and in tolerable repair - Property of the Carron Compy. [Company] per William Dawson Esq. Carron Iron Works."

The actual row is all but destroyed by the path that Falkirk Council recently created for the Carron Dam Wildlife Reserve, such a shame that the Industry that built this region counts for little these days, and that councillors just want to give a place for middle-aged men to walk their dogs.

However, I think this [below] is a return from the inside of one of the houses.

Not much I know, but the council have so tried to wildernise this bit of former industry, I am lucky that I found this.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Carronbank Offices

Again I was out and about on my bike looking for any remnants of industry in the district. And since I go through Helix Park to get to many a place on my forays I thought I might stop off actually in the park itself.

This morning I was in Helix North/Bainsford Community Woodland because in the old maps of the area there are several buildings. The biggest seeming to be Carronbank.

Just south [over the Carron] of the Carron House dovecot, and between the Bainsford Burn and the Carron itself was something substantial, that is not apparent today. According to Scotland's Places in 1858-1861 this was

"A plain built mansion with offices attached: the Mansion-House is two stories in height, the offices are only one. they are all slated and in good repair. Property of the Carron Co. [Company] Carron Iron Works."

And when put up for sale in 1789 it was advertised in the Edinburgh Courant thus

"TO BE SOLD OR LET, THE pleasant Villa of CARRONBANK, situated on the banks of Carron, in the heart of that populous and agreeable spot, the Carse of Falkirk, and within two English miles of that town. The house and offices are in the very best order, having lately been fitted up in an elegant manner at a great expence. The first floor consists of a large parlour, two bed rooms, and a dressing closet, with large kitchen. The second of a large dining room, drawing room, and two bed rooms, with dressing closets. The third of four bed rooms, two lumber rooms, and garrets above. Adjoining to the house are two compleat wings. In the one a large library, dressing room, closets, store room, and outer cellar, all properly fitted up. In the other a large wine cellar, neatly fitted up with catacombs, larder, servants hall, milk house, &c. To each of the wings there is a separate entry from the house; and a pump well, with leaden pipes to convey water into the house. The offices consist of a coach house, liable and byre, washing house and laundry, with several out houses and shades and other conveniences. There are three small inclosures, planted round with trees and shrubbery, belonging to the premises; also two gardens, one of which is inclosed with a high brick wall, and well stocked with young fruit trees, all of the best kinds, and laid out in a complete manner. The trees and shrubbery are all in a thriving condition. Also to be SOLD or LET, Two Large GRANARIES or WAREHOUSES, capable to contain about 1500 bolls of grain ; adjoining to which (newly built) there is a Wharf on Carron, where ships of large burden can unload. The house and premises will be shown by the present possession on Tuesday,-. and Saturdays, from ten till two o'clock ; and for further particulars apply to James Marshall, writer to the signet, or Henry Swinton,. merchant at Grangemouth."

Today it is a copse, which looks like it has been ever thus, but if you get inside the copse and look about, there are obvious traces of industry, mainly bricks, masoned stone and cable. The Mansion House however seems to have been completely obliterated.

Nearest to the pathways is the southernmost building on the map, and all that remains is masonry in a pile.

As I said, whoever demolished the mansion did it thouroughly enough that nothing is recognisable, merely disjointed masonry. However just north-west of this, at which was presumably the offices mentioned there is a sizeable mound of brickwork.

Facing South-West (above) and North-West (below)

This was clearly something big enough to make it not worth the effort and the expence of taking it right down to the foundations, but still not hazardous enough to have to rope it off. To my layman's way of thinking that it is most likely the offices.

The only other clues left here are at the shore of the Carron, where on the map there used to be a wharf. There is some brickwork falling into the river and just along from this some of the original piling is still visible.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Grangemouth Colliery

So, today I went out on my bike on the Bothkennar Carse, it is nice for cycling, very flat, if you know what I mean. Today it is mainly farmed, but it hides an industrial heritage.

View down the Forth from Bothkennar, to the left Longannet, Fife, to the right Grangemouth Docks, and to the extreme right, the confluence of the Rivers Carron and Forth.

Back in the day, the part of the carse just across the Carron from Grangemouth was alive with industry, housing not only several mines and a brickwork, but its own mineral railway which was not connected to the main network.

South Bothkennar Carse 1896 Ordnance Survey Map c/o NLS Maps.

The thing is you have to go off the beaten track to find these forgotten remnants of Central Scotland's Industrial past, and so it was when I went looking for the above Barony Pit No. 3 of the Grangemouth Coal Company. The biggest give away was the bing, nothing like Broxburn, but it was there.

Eventually, I found the last (above the ground anyway) remnants of the coal mine, they seem to correspond with the Pumping Shaft on the map.

Looking North-West

Looking South-West

Looking South-East

Looking North-East

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The Virtuous Triangle

I have come to observe, by thinking too much about it, that when it comes down to it, I really don't give a shit about shit that happens outside of the Falkirk, Stirling & Alloa spheres of influence.

Good riddance the rest.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Schrödinger's Dad

I never really said this except in my head, but can certainly no longer use this turn of phrase.

Giovanni Meffen R.I.P.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Will Vaulks-shaped hole

I will be the first to admit that I don't go to see Falkirk as much as I used to, and cannot dictate like the regulars, but I feel that our team is missing something between the midfield and defence who could also add something in attack. And that thing looks & sounds a lot like Will Vaulks.

Don't get me wrong, this is no criticism of the Falkirk Management, (I know they do not have Will Vaulks tree), but it is horrible knowing that that gap is there, and besides my GFs mum really liked him, so she is less happy.