Pech Brae

Blantyre's Ain Website

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

High Blantyre

Pech Brae c1910

Pathfoot or Pech Brae as the locals call it, led down to Milheugh HousePathfoot or Pech Brae as the locals call it, which led down to Milheugh House (the Cawther, the river Calder) and appears as Pathfoot on maps of 1899. This steep runway (it gets much steeper as you round the bend) was renamed by locals on account of the vast amount of “pech” needed get up it.

This picture shows two estate cottages which have long since been demolished although I remember playing in the derelict shells as a child. Part of the wall on the left is still standing and it is still possible to make out the cottage boundaries.

It is said that this road was the original main road into Blantyre and that Mary Queen of Scots would have used it when she passed through Blantyre to visit the Earl of Bothwell as well as when she was on her way from Hamilton Palace to Cathcart Castle, on the day previous to the battle of Langside.

The cottage on the left also served as stabling for the London Coach horses and you can just make out the field past the cottage where the horses were kept.

Imagine when a change of horses took place, probably on a daily basis. The way I imagine it is that all the passengers would alight at this point and make their way up the Pech Brae to the Barnhill Tavern for refreshments and comfort.

The stable men and boys, along with any urchin that was in the area, would hitch up the new horses to the existing ones and lead them up Pech Brae to the Tavern where the horses would be changed and the retired horses taken back down to the stables for food and a welcome rest.

Once the new team were hitched up and the passengers recalled, the journey would continue… next stop Hamilton Palace…

But what do you think or imagine…?


This is a fairly historic postcard. It shows Pinnie Johnstone, who lost his leg in the first world war, at the foot of the Pech Brae, with the photographer looking from Milheugh Bridge. Pinnie lived in a small cottage in  Russell Road, off Broompark Road. The photograph was, I am sure, shot in monochrome, and colourised sometime later. This was before the introduction of colour film.  It shows Pinnie Johnstone, who lost his leg in the first world war, at the foot of the Pech Brae
 Looking from the Millheugh bridge, towards Pech Brae, approx 1958 A  photo of some of the Park family, which was taken, looking from the Milheugh bridge, towards Pech Brae, approx 1958, and shows the cottage, which is now demolished. Photos by George Park.

Your Social Comments:

Angela Mary McGlynn: Thank you for your page. I was born and brought up in Blantyre, though I now live in Italy, and many of the places are very familiar and dear to me and it is very interesting to read about the history behind them. Keep up the good work!

Margaret Steven McAuliffe: I was born and raised in Blantyre along with my 4 sisters and 3 brothers we all moved to Australia in 1961 but we still miss Scotland.

John Ryan-Park: Wonderful Pictures.

Elizabeth Weaver: Love this photo – easy to forget how rural Blantyre was, not so long ago.

Mattie Taggart: I’m sure Margaret Brown stayed in one of those wee cottages, she was a teacher at St Joseph’s school or maybe it was further down x

Mary McPhail: I would love to live in a special little place like that.

Elizabeth Dobson Grieve: They weren’t kidding when it was named the Pech Brae. You’re knackered and peching walking up it… lol


If you have any Photos… Send them to Bill

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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