In my old 1920s guide book, Strathaven is described as 'a small place,'
which is not exactly the sort of description that would have tourists
falling over themselves in order to beat a path to the town gate.
To be honest, when I turned up at Strathaven I was somewhat surprised to
find myself in a seriously nice town. I'm not entirely sure what I mean
when I say 'surprised'. I mean, there are plenty of nice towns in Scotland but, for me, Strathaven wasn't one that peeked its head above
the parapet to scream, 'VISIT ME - I'M SURPRISINGLY NICE!' But it's got
a castle, and any place with a castle is bound to be worth checking out,
even if that fortified lump of stone is in a somewhat ruinous state.
As you wander through the streets, Strathaven feels good. It's very
picturesque, with little humpy bridges spanning tiny watercourses that
babble their way through the town. For me, the town's jewel is its
shops. Small shops are wonderful. When you go into a small shop no one
asks you if you've a Hector Card or if you need a hand to pack. What you
get in Strathaven's small shops is tradition that goes way back to the
nineteenth century. The Bakers,
Alexander Taylor, has been run by the same family, in the same shop,
So, while Strathaven might be a small place, small is very very