After the wander round Rouken Glen Park in the last post it was always my intention to add in the Barrhead Dams. The park walk took us out at the golf course which in turn led us out to Stewarton Road, above, running straight as a dye past Patterton Train Station up to Newton Mearns. As a teenager this was the start of the countryside proper from this end- a rural road through woods and farms-( a farm track used to run to the right from above the cars in the photo through pleasant fields to Nitshill, filled with crab apple trees. Marked on bottom map.) but over the years upmarket housing estates have nibbled into the wonderful apple pie I used to know and love in its entirety. Further housing estates of mid range bought houses have eaten into the Nitshill/Darnley end ....so, although still leafy and green today, it is not the same place I explored as a child and young adult.
"Why do you want to share it with me then? Just chow down and stop offering."
Apart from that it was a very pleasant moment and we stayed silent, drinking in our surroundings with all our senses expanding outwards.... flashes of lightning occasionally observed over the higher ridges above the town of Barrhead but far enough away in the distance to not be a concern as I didn't want to move. Sitting under the tree, semi warm and dry, with the elements putting on a fantastic display of wild energy was very thrilling and didn't need much conversation. I hate grey limp weather and day long drizzle but lightning flashes, loud thunder, big storms, and torrents of water hamming off the ground make my day and I was loving it.
" I'm loving this!" I informed her, animated by the intense weather conditions. "Hold that umbrella a bit higher, I teased Anne. "You might get a buzz off it."
She just ignored me.
" It's very romantic just sitting here." She offered, inching closer, looking like she wanted something from me.
"Oh yes!?" Like any real man I immediately closed the plastic tub holding my remaining chicken, cheese and eggs.
" No, not that. I've got something here I think you might like."
"Mmmmm, what's that then?"
She smiled mischievously. Much to my disappointment and disgust she then pulled a book out of her bag.
" You should read this - It's brilliant. Perfect holiday escapism. A complete antidote to this miserable soaking epic you've dragged me on today. (She was smiling when she said this though.) Your turn after all the stuff you've recommended that I read and I've stuck in a drawer."
I had a look at the cover.
" A New York Times Bestseller." She pointed out. "Me and Belle loved it. Your blog readers will love it. You'll love it. It's a girl's classic."
"I'll be the judge of that." I informed her haughtily. " Can't have you taking over my hard won fan base ... like Charles and Diana on walkabout----a no contest popularity contest.... it's a slippy slope to get on....... for me."
( Having now read it she is right. Bugger!!! It is a great read- for male or female- and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Bugger again!!!! A page turning belter. Thank You A. Mind you I did get my copy for free. She's just ruined me as a man though. It's a girly book and I liked it. Addictive stuff! It's a gateway corridor leading down into froth and fluffyness and I may yet become a secret 'chick lit' novel junkie - binging out on tubs of chocolate ice cream, holding a box of tissues for tears, while reading Fifty Shades, Outlander, and Gone Girl in an empty room- Oh the shame :o(
Memories of that time. On the open hillside next to South Nitshill, near the Nia Roo pub, two small coal waste bings used to sit until the early 1960s- to the left? of the Nia Roo pub similar lime waste deposits stung the eyes of children who played on them. Large metal pipes were racked like a large kayak trailer on the open hillside heading down towards the railway tunnel and a small tree/bush lined pond/puddle sat beside the steps running up the hill at the road entrance to South Nitshill- all now gone for many decades. Behind the Nia Roo, where the industrial estate is now, was an area of waste ground holding a medium sized reservoir/ flooded quarry. (also long since filled in) Tram lines running past the Darnley Tree and old Fire Station up Parkhouse Road towards Barrhead still remained visible in the 1960s although services into the city centre had been updated and replaced by the bus- red SMT service routes numbers 8 and 10. Nitshill itself had a handful of pubs, reduced to just one lone survivor today. You could still clearly make out the ruined buildings of the Darnley Fireclay works and Arden Lime Works with narrow gauge railway/tram lines and sleepers running behind the Darnley hospital to the Reservior/Flooded quarry area and elsewhere. Very hard to see any remains now under the vegetation.
Just what this slightly ruined but game old actress needs is plastic surgery, an influx of housing, a water-sports centre and a vegan internet cafe. It may work but it will certainly change things yet again into an entirely different animal. To me this area's true beauty, what's left of it, is it's stillness, it's relative inaccessibility and quiet obscurity. I have been all over Scotland on trips and there's certainly no other landscape quite like this one and Greater Renfrewshire as a whole, a varied mix of South Downs, Cotswolds, Dorset, Somerset... the nearest English equivalents I can think of as a match, but without the tourist numbers.
And two famous men you may know who started out here in the old mansion house and each went on to great things. One making a quantum leap with chemicals and the other with waterproofing.
I also found this painting gallery of what Pollok and South Glasgow looked like in the early 1800s.
Fascinating stuff. Provides a real glimpse into what the vast Pollok Estate looked like at its height. Shawlands before any houses, just fields and farmland. 1830s- 1960s- 2019 the same area, the same landscapes, but so very different.