Blawhorn Moss NNR
Parking up in the car park and then strolling down the track to Blawhorn is a quiet, peaceful experience. It is hard to imagine that the very track you walk along is tied up with the existence of Blackridge village and gave the name to Blawhorn Moss itself. Because you are standing on the very first M8 motorway.
Back in 1796 as agricultural and industrial improvements gave people better lives and better livelihoods good roads and better settlements were needed to maintain communications and travel. A good, fast road was needed between the growing cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh and work started with the route passing the small settlement of Blackrigg (to become Blackridge). Once the road was built Blackrigg was about halfway between Edinburgh and Glasgow so made a good stopping off point for travellers, so the Craig Inn, a coaching house, was built. This was like a motorway services in the village offering refreshments, overnight accommodation and a place to refresh the horses pulling the stage coaches. The modern village of Blackridge grew up around the coaching house.
This old road ran to the north of the modern A89, right along the ridge through our modern day car park and close to Blawhorn Moss. As you walk the track to the moss you can still see lines of old beech trees, some certainly look 220 years old, dating back to the road. As the stagecoaches got close to Blackridge and the Inn, at the end of a tough day’s travel, they would blow their horns to give warning to the Craig Inn that they were nearly there. And so Blawhorn (Blow Horn) Moss got its name.
Talking to the children of Blackridge Primary the other day we were discussing why the coaches would need to blow their horns. Well, if you imagine a cold, bumpy hard day spent in the drafty stagecoach, the horn blow almost certainly meant “put the kettle on!”
So on your next visit to the Moss maybe imagine the clip-clop of horses’ hoofs, the jingle of bridles and the blare of the horn. And when you get home put the kettle on as well.
Below are some of the old beeches still standing that probably date back to the old Edinburgh – Glasgow main road.