Clydesdale is a large, sparsely populated seat following the routes of the River Clyde and the M74 south and east of Hamilton. Some areas were once known for coal mining, such as Carluke, but most of the territory comprises hills and moorland and agricultural land.
The largest towns are Lanark, Biggar and Strathaven, and all are home to various light industries. Although there is no longer mining in the area, the extraction of sand and gravel still takes place around Carstairs, a town also known for its railway junction, as the lines from Glasgow and Edinburgh meet there. The country's state hospital is also located there, a maximum-security psychiatric facility where Scotland's most severe cases of mental illness are treated.
Labour's Karen Gillon took the seat in Scottish elections in 1999, 2003 and 2007. Aileen Campbell won the seat for the SNP in 2001.