The Lanarkshire Larder trail includes a stop at the oldest bakery in Scotland, Alexander Taylor Bakery, which has been run at the same site by the Taylor family for six generations, and marked 200 years in business in 2020.
They are at stop number three on the new food trail alongside 26 other food and drink producers, each with their own fascinating stories.
At the other end of the 48-mile trail, at stop number twenty, is The Crown Inn, a 17th Century coaching inn where the local ale has been flowing since the 1600s.
Mid-way on the route is a Saturday market with a difference, housed in a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The New Lanark market sells, amongst other locally-made artisan delights, its own award winning ice-cream; a marked shift from its origins as Robert Owen’s social utopian mill village.
These three stops alone add up to a good day out, but there are over twenty food and drink gems to tick off the list, including farms shops, butchers, delis, distilleries, cafes and restaurants.
Overnight stays can be accommodated at one of the six hotels on the trail, including one in a restored castle.
The trail itself is rich in natural beauty winding its way past waterfalls and lochs as it skims the brooding Tinto Hill to continue past artist Ian Hamilton Finlays’ Little Sparta before reaching The Wee Farm Distillery, its final destination.
The farm’s well-stocked shop sells small-batch gins, perfect for sipping in the hot tub at their luxury holiday cottage.
Sitting at the heart of Scotland, Lanarkshire boasts a long and proud heritage.
Since the 12th Century the sheltered, fertile soil of the Clyde Valley has provided rich pickings, and the area remains a major force in Scotland’s food and drink industry.
The fertile pastures covering much of Lanarkshire have helped produce some of the country’s best beef, venison, lamb, dairy and cured meats.
Throughout the region there are entrepreneurial artisan producers, farm shops, cafes, breweries, distilleries, hospitality venues who are committed to using local produce.
Lanarkshire Larder was formed at the end of April 2021 when a business plan was put forward to Scotland Food & Drink and Lanarkshire Council.
One of the objectives for Scotland Food & Drink was to create memorable food tourism experiences which would increase visitors to Lanarkshire and ultimately help small businesses and the local economy.
Selina Cairns, owner of Errington Cheese and founding member said: "We were successful in receiving funding from the VisitScotland Destination and Sector Marketing Fund to create a food and drink trail for Lanarkshire.
"Nowadays there’s a real demand for quality food and drink with provenance, alongside real and memorable experiences that capture the essence of the region.
"I believe the food trail will help small businesses, the local economy and help to create pride in the region.”
Jim Clarkson, VisitScotland’s Regional Leadership Director for the west of Scotland, added: “This is a fascinating trail which gives a real taste of Lanarkshire’s food and drink history, and perfectly aligns with Scotland’s Year of Stories.
"We know visitors are keen to support local businesses and connect with food and drink producers, and I hope this trail will encourage visitors to do so while exploring the area.
“We are delighted to support this project through the Destination and Sector Marketing Fund, which was created to boost the sustainable recovery of Scottish tourism and help groups like Lanarkshire Larder to reach new audiences in the UK.”
The food trail is available to view here.