Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Glasgow.A Parks Tour in May.


With the weather recently being highly unpredictable due to a static jet stream sitting to the north of the UK
drawing in frequent showers then short sunny intervals followed by more showers and a near constant strong wind it was hard to plan any trips in advance as even the overnight forecast changed most days,usually for the worse.Still...Spring was out there, still unfolding in all its beauty so I was determined to capture this magical,fleeting, some years  missed altogether, season.I wait for it all year long.No way I`ll miss it.
I decided to stay low.The lowest point in Glasgow in fact but we will get to that later... first the Parks.
I phoned up Alex and told him my brilliant plan to cycle round  some of my favorite Glasgow parks,picked
for their splendour at this time of year.
Now...you know as well as I do Alex is mainly interested in bagging his lists of  hills but I keep trying to coax him out to try other things as well. However The man from  Its No Pointy he say Nada! I`d stand a  much better chance impressing Shania Twain with the offer of a lift on a skateboard, a cold bag of chips and a bottle of Buckfast!

The main reason for the parks idea was so I would have loads of handy trees to shelter under during the heavy downpours but still be out and about to capture the sunny moments.
Incidentally,one of the great unheralded  basic pleasures in life is simply sheltering under a tree in summer during a swift heavy splatter of the elements.Everything else shelters in the trees as well and you can hear bees,birds and squirrels zooming, hopping and scampering above you.The entire tree hums with unseen life and just for an instant race collective instinct seems to kick in and you feel totally, strangely alive.
Gurdjieff`s moment of true clarity perhaps...of being suddenly ,completely...." awake."
Who knows.
I do know I`ve always loved the smell  and presence of damp warm nature....from the relative dry comfort of a handy tree or tent of course.
By taking the bike I could link a collection of parks together in a interesting cycle tour.
Alex...you missed another great trip.

First up was the little known Knightswood park,one of the best I`ve found for cherry tree avenues and a lovely but small oasis.This can be made into a much bigger walk or cycle by including the nearby canal,the ribbons beside the golf course and playing fields, and/or Great Western road.In April and May this is the best gateway into the city of Glasgow and its intended to be,over a million daffodils covering the central reservation from the Erskine Bridge right down to Anniesland Cross.The trees are also special here,white and pink cherry blossom  all the way and a dozen other flowering  varieties including bird plum and  crab apple.I often think this long leafy carriageway is a park in itself! Maybe that's why its so popular with joggers.

Across this then up onto Trinley Brae with its panoramic views over Glasgow,Paisley,Clydebank and Drumchapel,the hazy enclosing circle of the Glennifer Braes, Kilpatrick Hills and Campsie Fells beyond.

Trinley used to be just a grassy hill overlooking the city but its been transformed with the sowing of wild flowers on these modest heights.
Next a short canter to Victoria Park and the Fossil Grove in its grounds.This is a vintage building containing the petrified remains of carboniferous period fossilized tree trunks and stumps.A unique find.It was shut at present as they are adding a dry tank to complement the rather grey and sterile but world renowned stumpy forest by making a mini live jungle of bugs and beasties for the kids.Kids love bugs and beasties!
I wasn`t here for the dead trees though but rather the live ones outside.The landscaped quarry area and sunken rock gardens around the Fossil Grove are a delight every spring.

Its a riot of colour and one I didn't want to miss as it only lasts for two short weeks then its gone for another year.

A popular park with family groups  even without the surprise of a giant mobile bouncy castle city touring  most of the big parks this summer.(I was wondering what a twenty foot high monkey was doing peering across at me from the pond area.)  Next a longer canter under the always unnerving  Clyde Tunnel.A subterranean journey into the underworld that always feels like creeping under a sleeping dragons tongue with its threat of gangs and bad behaviour.
Normally its ok but you never know......

This was the first time I`d been down it since the transformation of CCTV and a new gated entry restricted access intercom system.It`s probably a lot safer now but it still feels like entering a maximum security prison on a bike :o)
I remember walking this tunnel with my dad aged ten.It seemed to take ages going down and down  into this concrete winding tube under the river.In those days it was clean, new and pretty safe. I also have a vague memory of going down the old Rotunda tunnel under the Clyde with him ,the original  ancient tunnel ,all dripping stairs and dank walls just before it shut to the public.He was also keen on a spot of  urban exploration. One of my friends used to cycle this way every day to work. How`s that for a Monday morning feeling.Hi  Big J.

Its not really a place you want to linger in but it is an adventure! Next out into the sun again and soon reached Bellahouston Park wherein lies the wonderful walled garden.

And The house for an Art Lover gardens....

And a big wedding with loads of guys in kilts and girls looking very pretty in skimpy dresses.YOU MISSED YOURSELF ALEX!!!!!! :) Its a popular place for wedding pictures.
Next through the green cool tunnel of nearby Pollok Park with its highland cattle,heavy horses and European  Park of the year award.

 A very happy four hours and a dry cycling jacket. Result!
Just time to feed my tadpoles out in the wee pond.

Mind you....even tadpoles have good days and bad days......

Oh dear.....


auntiegwen said...

Bob that was so beautiful to see. I will be in Glasgow next weekend and I am definitely going to make time for a walk in a park. So nice to see Knightswood park in your post, I grew up there and my parents still live there, thank you for a lovely trip down memory lane.

The Glebe Blog said...

A colourful trip Bob,Bellahouston Park looks fabulous.
Looking at the graffiti in the Clyde Tunnel I guess Banksy hasn't been down there,characters with a misspent youth more likely.
Believe it or not,here in the backwater of Newton Stewart we too have a bunch of Neds.Nothing changes.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Auntiegwen.
If its this weekend I suggest the botanic gardens.Just passed them today on the bus and the rhodedendrons are all out right now.Its meant to be very wet so plenty of trees and glasshouses to get under cover.
All the parks featured in the photos no longer have these particular flowers still in bloom of course.Wind has flattened them all.

The Glebe Blog...
Hi Jim.I,ve passed though Newton Stewart a few times now so I know exactly what most of these small villages and towns are like of an evening.
Learned that lesson many years ago in Fort William one night when we met some drunken Shinty boys on the main street.(theyd just won some big event and were still celebrating) Lets just say it wasn,t them beating a retreat:))
Some tough guys out in the country.

Anonymous said...

Further proof of the 'It's Under Your Nose' theory of the universe. Nice work Bob. In 5 years living in Glasgow I've still not been through the tunnel... It's the 'celebrating' shinty boys I'm scared of!

blueskyscotland said...

You Should have a go cycling under the tunnel Pete.Its probably the safest its been for 30 years.Its a novel experience.I also spent half a winters night in it years ago with a German photographer freind when it was open to all the gangs.I was expecting a quick in and out but Felix stunned me by setting up a large tripod and very expensive camera for capturing every detail.I was worried... he was unfazed.The same guy though did a solo tour of Possilpark and Ruchill with the same gear,talking to locals and taking their picture.
Guys got nerves of steel.He could easily be a war photographer if he wanted to do that.