Hidden in a secluded spot, north of Glasgow is the abandoned Lennox Town psychiatric hospital. The castle was built in 1830’s and converted into a psychiatric facility in the 20th century. It was one of the most advanced institutions of its type, offering accommodation for over 1200 patients suffering from mental illness.
Unfortunately, it went on to become notorious, with reports of mental and physical abuse of the patients and severe overcrowding. As conditions continued to deteriorate, the medical director Dr Alasdair Sim spoke out and said he had never worked in a ‘a worse pit’. Eventually it closed its doors in 2002 and has never been occupied since.
My Visit to Lennox Town
I made my way up the hill and through the tall trees towards the hospital, while thinking about the people who once inhabited its walls. I felt a chill go through me as the outline of Lennox Town came into view. As you approach the building you have to climb an old sandstone staircase covered in a thick layer of moss. Twisted trees line the pathway creating an eerie atmosphere as you make your way through the grounds.
There is a gap in the fence surrounding the castle where people have entered. I decided to go for a closer look but didn’t go inside. The building is crumbing in places and looks like it could collapse at any point. Great care needs to be taken if you decide to go in. The main entrance is very grand and in remarkably good condition compared to the rest of the castle.
I circled the castle, looking in when I could. I could see a metal staircase which had collapsed under the heat and velocity of a large fire. Rubble lay where patients and doctors once walked. Its roof and the internal walls are mostly destroyed. It was a shame to see such a beautiful building reduced to a shadow of its former self.
I headed back towards Campsie Fells car park where I had left my car. I was meeting a friend there to do a short hill walk and waterfall dip. From the car park we strolled up the hill, enjoying the beautiful clear views. We returned to our car and were by this point very eager to get under the waterfall. We grabbed our change of clothes and towels from the car and headed down the path towards the Campsie Fells Waterfalls and pools.
It had been really cold so there were a lot of icicles around the Campsie falls. It was going to be our first ice shower! The bottom waterfall is the best one as you can walk around the side and get behind the waterfall. It’s a cave and there is a good amount of space behind it.
We took turns submerging ourselves in the freezing cold waterfall. It hits you hard and for a few seconds you doubt your sanity, but afterwards you are rewarded with the most refreshing feeling. I always feel good for days after having a cold dip! Some people say it is a natural healer and I can definitely see why!
A day of two halves!
The trip to Lennox Town and Campsie Fells was a day of two halves. Visiting the solemn remains of a disgraced institution, followed by a refreshing and energetic dip in a frozen waterfall. All in all it was a fantastic experience and a great day out for anyone who appreciates both an urban and a natural adventure.
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