Outside in the surrounding area it can be dull and gloomy but under the concrete sprawl of the mighty metropolis with its heat and vapours a micro climate exits that can punch a hole straight through to sunny skies above.
This was predicted to happen on the forecast the night before but I waited a few hours on the day to be sure...until eleven o clock in fact and bang on time it came to pass. Dull and cloudy beyond the ring of hills that encircles Glasgow. Sunny and warm within. Time for an urban adventure.
Sitting in the car park in my local retail complex eating a roll and bacon I had a look at my large street finder map of Glasgow. Where to go....always the problem. After so many years exploring or working in the city I'd been most places. The main reason I climb hills is for the view and any excitement involved so I wanted to find some place interesting and elevated I hadn't been to before with good views.
Ruchill, Springburn and Sighthill I'd never been around the parks and open areas much. They looked as if they would have great views over the city from new angles.
Birds don't bother about fighting dogs though. Being descended from dinosaurs they're well hard!
The view point up at the flagpole is amazing. I've spent ages trying to get a decent clear photo of the Park Circus church spires above Kelvingrove without poles or wires in the way and here it was at last. It's a slightly unnerving place though I have to admit. It's reached by one lone spiral entrance rising up to a flat summit ringed by thick bushes and railings. It's hard to see from below if anyone's up here until you arrive out on top. The only way down as an escape route is by this same narrow path. Reminded me of Dalmarnock Low level train Station for some reason which has the same vibe of single way down and up. Wasn't too keen on lingering around on that underground platform either for any length of time though the locals probably didn't think anything of it. Needless to say I made sure there was no one else coming up behind me. Call me cautious, most folk you meet in parks are fine but I'm just naturally always on guard in urban areas I don't know very well. Relaxed but aware of what's around me.
I'm happy with these flagpole views though. They come free.
This is looking west towards the Maryhill barracks where many troops were billeted during the war years. The high stone wall around these flats still stands as a boundary marker today to that period. Anniesland and the Inverclyde/ Renfrewshire hills lie in the distance.
I descended and followed the green ribbon of the Canal path past Firhill Basin where all the barges used to tie up and barge workers could then socialise and swap stories at night. Nearby is Partick Thistle's Football Stadium. The third but smaller of Glasgow's better known football teams. Celtic and Rangers being the others obviously. This took me round to Sighthill Cemetery, the second oldest burial ground in Glasgow after the Necropolis, both built on hilltops. I was now in Springburn. The Rome of the North.http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/springburn/springmitchell.htm. Great history and info why here.
Although I knew of its illustrious past as the great railway centre of the world, building then sending steam locomotives to every corner of the globe from the mid 1800s to its limping demise and closure in the 1980s,many of which are still providing a service to passengers today I hadn't heard it was sometimes referred to as the Rome of the North. Like Rome this former self contained railway town was built over seven hills.
Something else caught my eye though in the other direction. A bare grassy meadow area not far away that looked a bit like an Aztec temple, rising in rows of terraces, one on top of each other. With a shock I realised I'd never been up there before. A completely new unknown area right in the heart of Glasgow. Cowlairs park.
Later, in the 1920s a park was created for the growing workforce in the nearby rail yards. It was a functional place. Few trees or fancy touches, these were hard working folk with not a lot of spare time or public holidays, just nine football pitches and a pavilion, stacked on top of each other, carved on ledges out of the side of the hill. Its a derelict waste ground now between Possilpark and Keppochhill, looks as if its been that way for many years, and in the words of the locals...Its super dodgy up there. But I couldn't have been happier. Amazing views and a new place to explore. It is a tad rough though and I avoided the bush unsighted, overgrown pond area as I could hear some sounds of nefarious activity coming from that direction(kids burning tyres or some such)
What a place though. A new viewpoint.
Growing up here I'd imagine you would adopt a pretty tough outlook on life.
The biggest fighting dog I've ever seen lurked round the corner at the local shops.(I noticed the African cafe had the shutters down, don't know if its still used.) The guy holding it on a chain was just as impressive and together they made a formidable sight. Just for a second I thought of taking his picture but I didn't have the bottle as I didn't fancy getting my bits chewed then stamped pulpy if he took offence.
Now that a smoke filled city is no longer the problem it once was the east end is slowly changing with new housing and infrastructure. Its been going on for years but It will take generations to really change the whole area though as attitudes and history can't be swept away overnight. This current recession certainly doesn't help. Unless its free entry I can't see that many locals using the new purpose built Commonwealth games velodrome at Parkhead.
Wonder what this area will look like one hundred years from now though? I hope it now has its best years ahead of it again.