From about 8 years back when I was still retracing my deid Dads steps.
Way back in ye olde days, when my Dad got his first car – a second hand Austin 1100, in a delightful shade of bottle green – he used to go doon to Carnwath 4 or 5 times a year. He had aunts and uncles there on his mothers side, and it pleased him to drive on what were quiet country roads to visit them. He wouldnae go doon the lang whan, as he liked to detour via West Linton, where he would stop the car, and wax lyrical about how he planned to retire there, as it was his favourite village Ever. Of course he died when I was still at the school so that was another family dream shattered.
Then he’d put his flask of tea away, and head off to Carnwath. Now, back in the 1800’s, his mothers family lived in Haywood, a prosperous mining village a couple of miles outside Carnwath. However, like many others, the closing of the mine slowly killed off the village, and where there was once 1200 people with their own Co-op, there’s nothing left bar a lonely war memorial. All the buildings were broken down, and the stone used to build houses elsewhere.
As the miners moved on, one lot of the family moved to Carnwath, and the others (my Dads lot) headed East to Breich, Fauldhouse, Addiewell, West Calder and Polbeth. But he was delighted to be able to visit his family, now he had a car, and from about the age of 5 till I was about 9, it was a regular weekend outing. Of course, then he became too ill to drive very far, and for the first time in 35 years, I went back for a look. A train to Carstairs and then a bus tae Carnwath. Fun fact – the bus actually drives into the prison so it’s not that difficult for the mentalist inmates to make their escape.
It’s a lot less pretty than I remember, and the cooncil hooses my relatives used to live in are mingin nowadays. But that’s what 35 years of neglect will do. However, there is a nice wee church, a cracking bakers, a cafe through the back of the paper shop, and public toilets that are still open. I had a good wander, thinking back to being a bairn, and there’s a twenty image slideshow of picture over here.
Main Street, Carnwath