Wednesday, 19 August 2015

River Clyde Walk/Cycle.Route 75. Cambuslang to Westburn Horseshoe. Bioshock Infinite.

                                                  ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.

I had a problem with my car a few weeks ago which meant I had to put it into a specialized garage for repairs. This happened to be in Cambuslang, which lies on the south eastern edge of the city so I had a few hours to kill while it was getting fixed. I know Cambuslang fairly well as I have friends there and have cycled, walked, worked, studied and played in the vicinity over the decades. Like close neighbour Rutherglen, Cambuslang is now a part of Greater Glasgow but it's a sizable community in its own right with a prosperous past founded on coal mines, limestone, iron, steel, and engineering works during the industrial revolution. This is the Allison Drive district which lies behind Cambuslang's busy Main Street of shops, and offices.
The walk starts here and heads downhill towards the River Clyde via Clydeford Road to the large roundabout. Here you can access the River Clyde path and National Cycle track. I've walked along this stretch before many years ago but it was in winter on a dull, raw day and I didn't enjoy it much.
When it came to writing a comprehensive kindle guidebook to the best urban walks outdoors in and around Glasgow I only included this one as part of a cycling tour. It is very isolated yet sits in an urban area with no real escape routes should you meet someone nasty. For this reason and my memory of it being uninteresting, flat and dull I didn't include it as a walk in the book.
I entered the path along the riverside at the roundabout just where this sculpture of a heron adds a focal point. Being high summer the river banks had turned into the usual late July jungle with a cornucopia of wild plants surging upwards. Higher than most were the giant hogweed, a Victorian introduction onto grand estates and gardens that then escaped into the general outdoors and is now a serious summer pest over much of Europe, the USA, Canada and many other parts of the world. Another escapee, Indian or Himalayan balsam was also in evidence but that only grows head high whereas Giant Hogweed can reach 5 metres or over 12 feet in height in favourable sheltered spots. Almost a annual forest invasion of poisonous plant/trees lining river systems worldwide and one that can cause third degree burns and blindness with its toxic sap if you handle any part of it or get it in your eyes.
Was John Wyndham thinking of these when he was inspired to write The Day of the Triffids in 1951?
 No matter, that classic novel captured the public's imagination so much that any large out of control plant is always called a "Triffid."
These examples in the photographs are just getting started height wise but they are responsible for severe burns every summer as each new generation of inquisitive children learns the hard way not to go near them or touch them. Even after the burns have healed the sap can leave that affected area hyper sensitive to sunlight for many years afterwards.
As soon as you leave Cambuslang at the roundabout you also leave behind the noise, traffic and energy of a built up area. This time, on a sunny day in high summer, I really enjoyed this walk and would give it 3 or 4 stars personally as I noticed dozens of new plants, wildlife and insects all along the route. It is such a  jungle environment down here that the River Clyde is not actually visible for much of the journey and you would need a machete to cut a track down to it... And a pair of safety glasses, gloves and overalls to avoid Triffid sap spillage. I did go a long wander under and through the best hog weed plantations I could find but was very careful not to touch anything. It did feel like an alien environment under the leaves. Hard to imagine it is a humble member of the Carrot family like Parsnips, Celery or Parsley. Also the same plant family that was used in the witches special flying ingredient- Hemlock.
Butterflies and bees were everywhere along this ribbon of tarmac and with it being a sunny weekend during the school holidays loads of families were cycling the path network if they lived locally.
A bank of pink thistles stretch in a long line along the route. Daisies, yellow vetch, red and white clover, brambles, gorse and hundreds of other flowering plants, many of them weeds if they appear in gardens or parks, cover this section in a riotous dazzling display of flowers which in turn attracts insects...
Which in turn attracts birds. A large thrush after snails here.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have a training base here with towers, purpose built flats, mini hi rise apartments, and various other buildings so they can practice firefighting in a realistic setting. This complex runs along the walkway on the opposite side from the river and provides further interest rather than distraction.
Some of the fire service buildings purpose built to train in.
A view of the Red Road Flats, in the north east of the city across the river, which are soon to be demolished. Once the highest residential flats in Europe when they were constructed during the late 1960s. They rise 28 to 30 floors high.
The best glimpse of the River Clyde in high summer can be had at the weir beside Carmyle, a small but ancient community and one where Walter Smith, former manager of Rangers F.C., grew up.
Shortly after this weir a track leads up from the main walkway/cycle track, away from the river towards Westburn, another small community, and one I've only visited a couple of times decades ago. It seemed fairly well kept and prosperous which is nice to see. I love exploring new places and I'm just as happy on a good urban walk as on a mountaineering trip. 
A different view of Cambuslang on the return. By this time it was early afternoon and was starting to get humid and muggy so I walked back via Westburn Road, (which is still a pleasant and surprisingly car free road outside of rush hour times ) to Cambuslang, taking in a small nature reserve with ponds and stream en route.
2 to 3 hours at an easy pace. Under 5 miles in distance, mainly on the flat, but an enjoyable walk nevertheless and it can be extended along the river walkway to Newton bringing it up to around 8 miles. Timed it just nice to collect my fixed car.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/280-0394654-6905530?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=A+guide+to+Glasgow+Outdoors.+Bob+Law.
A link here to my Glasgow guidebook which has details and photos of over 70 walks and cycle rides around and within the Greater Glasgow area. including Paisley, Clydebank, Cumbernauld, Motherwell, Hamilton and East Kilbride. £1:99 on Kindle and packed with colour photographs, many never seen on the blog.
Forgot to post this photo. I was pleased to see an old cinema on the main street in Cambuslang which had lain derelict for years and was a boarded up eyesore is now a new Wetherspoons. Nice to see a stylish old building like this one saved and being used again.


Meanwhile, I'm still finding plenty of interest in the gaming world with my new nighttime companion recommending many excellent fantasy worlds to explore. I'm still not interested in game play for itself in any way as I just like the stories and characters involved. Better level of entertainment than most of the TV programmes at present.
Some games have a high level of sophistication and are full of elaborate themes, art and detail. My current new favourite world to enter via You Tube is Bioshock Infinite and I was immediately intrigued when I read this concept and backstory to the game.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioShock_Infinite  
I was particularly intrigued by the idea of American Exceptionalism and the retro art detail and film noir feeling throughout. Refreshingly different yet also disturbingly familiar to most in its portrayal of a two tier society governed by absolute authority and the vision and drive of one individual dominating the lives of others.This excellent short fan made video should give you a taste of that elaborate inner kingdom. Is this the game version of Gone with the Wind? It certainly has the scope, detail and grandeur of an epic and the lead characters seem like a loving homage to old Hollywood. Best watched full screen.
 I featured these particular two games for a reason. I've noted that people have cried or been emotionally attached/moved in some way at the end of these, despite them being animated fantasy worlds. That shows you the potential power they have in the future. 90 percent of mainstream  Hollywood films would pay large sums of money before a camera is ever taken out its bag to guarantee that kind of instant human connection to the product being sold and these outstanding games make it all look easy... so I ask the question again. Is this the future of film?








13 comments:

Carol said...

I knew Giant Hogweed wasn't great but had no idea it was so dangerous. I see a lot of it around here on the river banks too. My cousin's rock group in the 70s was called 'Giant Hogweed'!
Carol.

Linda W. said...

Thanks for the interesting (and lovely!) tour around town. I love to vicariously explore new places!

Neil said...

Another fascinating tour Bob. That Giant Hogweed is a nightmare. It's something else that I have to look out for when I'm out in the countryside with Ben. He loves to run about ditches and marshy areas, exactly the places where the GH grows.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Tis' the Devil's Weed I tell ye! I know that the New York area has an ongoing annual battle with 14 foot tall Hogweed and that there was an early Genesis song about it running wild through England's green and pleasant land.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda.
Same here. Give me any new city or town to explore and I'm happy.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Neil,
I remember learning as a child to avoid it but of course you would always get someone who would cut a thick stalk off a plant then try to hit you on the arms and legs with it. Usually the same folk that thought it was really funny to shoot younger kids in the legs with air-rifles. Ah, the happy days of youth spent in Suburbia.

blueskyscotland said...

PS for Neil
I have tried leaving recent comments on your blog Neil but without any success. It just comes up moved to HERE and redirects the comment without saving it on your blog.
Sorry.

Lux G. said...

Magnificent shots as usual.So many things to see in one city, huh?
That film though. Really really interesting.

Carol said...

"I remember learning as a child to avoid it but of course you would always get someone who would cut a thick stalk off a plant then try to hit you on the arms and legs with it. "

Sorry Bob but I'm afraid I think that's funny (I know I shouldn't). We did used to throw each other into piles of nettles and thistles but we never went that far! Though we did have an entertaining game of catching wasps off my mother's Asters, shaking them in a jam jar and letting them lose after passers by ;-)
Carol.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Lux G.
That's why I like living in a city as it's always changing every few years. Glad you liked Bioshock. It's a great video tribute of the strange yet compelling world within.

blueskyscotland said...

I would expect nothing less from a heavy metal fan Carol. You are a bad women steeped in black magic, dead chewed bats, head banging nutters and poor taste in music :o)

Carol said...

I think that's the second time you've said I have poor taste in music!

blueskyscotland said...

But everybody thinks their music is the best :o) Must admit I've never been that keen on rap,heavy metal,hip hop or serious jazz. Heavy Metal seems to be big in the north of England and the Midlands though judging by the number of H.M. bands from that area.
I have noticed that the most popular music nowadays tends to be very bland and safe without the experimental creativity or lyrical edge of previous decades. The few folk that are doing interesting new music are way out on the margins and in the cold. Easy listening is definitely the sound of the 2000s so at least you are not in that camp......