From rock to rock the headlong waters leap,
Tossing their billowy crests in wild career.
BONNINGTON LYN, the upper fall of the Clyde, is situated about two and a half miles from Lanark. It receives its name from the estate of Bonnington, which is bounded on the south by the river. After leaving Carstairs, the Clyde presents a broad and placid appearance, gliding slowly for several miles through pleasant meadows or groves of trees; but its character is here very suddenly changed, and it becomes for some miles a rushing and impetuous torrent, deeply embedded between a double range of hills.
This fall is generally viewed from the grounds of Bonnington, and perhaps it is better seen there than from the other side. On entering these enclosures, a romantic walk, winding along the banks of the river, through a grove of trees, leads the visitor to a projecting rock, which, at a great height, overhangs the stream, where this beautiful sheet of water is first beheld,and a fine combination of rock, precipice, wood, and water scenery is displayed. A parapet wall has here been erected, so that the scene can be contemplated without fear or danger. Immediately in front, is the torrent pouring over a height of about twenty-five feet, and the boiling pool into which the waters fall, is raging beneath. The rocky banks, crowned with wood, are high and rugged on either side; and the bed of the river below the fall, is covered with rocks and stones, which have fallen from above.
Bonnington, when compared with the height of the other two, is the least considerable of the falls, but the torrent has here an uninterrupted descent from top to bottom, and is not broken by intervening rocks, as at Corehouse or Stonebyres. Near the centre of the ledge of rocks over which the river is precipitated, is a little island, on which grows a single tree. By this island, that overlooks the chasm into which the waters pour, the fall is divided into two; but from the bed of the river being lower on the south, the greatest body of the stream is there discharged. A frail rustic bridge leads from the north bank to the island, where a seat is erected, and an opportunity is thus afforded of seeing from above the descending waters, and the raging pool beneath. here, looking down upon
“The torrent’s smoothness ere it dash below,”
the scene is striking and impressive. Above, the river is calm as a mirror; below, it rages angrily along, with all the characteristics of a mountain torrent. At one place, on this side, the visitor may with little difficulty descend to the bed of the stream, and thus enjoy the view in a different, but equally interesting situation. The waters are here beheld shooting like a bow from above, stunning the ear with their continual roar. A small rivulet, that pours its contributary waters from a considerable height, and which elsewhere might be admired, is unheeded amidst the overpowering influence of the objects which here surround it.
The view of this fall, given in the engraving, is taken from below. As mentioned, however, it may be seen with both varied and striking effect from many other situations: from the rock where it first bursts upon the sight, – from other parts of the banks, – from the island, – or from the opposite side. The one here selected, is probably that best adapted for a picture, and is one which we have not hitherto seen.
Dr. Garnet, who visited the falls of Clyde in August, 1798, mentions that the following impromptu had been inserted, a few days before his arrival, in a book kept in the inn at Lanark, where all those visiting this scenery, were in the custom of writing their names.