Still on the upward trail after getting off the express bus to Neilston I followed a delightful rural path as it skirted the edge of this small Renfrewshire town. My route from the bus stop at Neilston's distinctive old cotton mill followed the lane behind the mill to a hole in the wall just before Crofthead Cottages then entered open hillsides, fields and woods on a good path, seen here, which mainly ran parallel to the Levern Water. It then crossed Uplawmoor Road at Brimstone Bridge and continued up a similar path, still in good rural scenery beside this same stream. It ended further up at the next minor road (Neilstonside Bridge) so I turned left onto this minor tarmac road to get to the waterworks beside Neilston Quarry.
Looking back the way we came on our bikes in the 1960s made us almost burst with pride. An amazed euphoria, in me at least, that this was all our playground and that we were actually allowed to travel through it. (Strictly speaking it was and is the farmers playground of course but there's just enough in the way of minor roads, country lanes, rural footpaths and open ground snaking though it that it did feel like ours as well- especially the more open and public friendly Barrhead Dams- Corselet Road area, which was our main, easier to reach, backyard playground most weekends. The rest was just an added bonus to explore. This was what the now overgrown Barrhead Dams Country Park used to look like- filled with dairy cattle, short grass fields and trimmed hedgerows- all courtesy of hard grafting farmers and reservoir maintenance teams. Lose the working farms and livestock however and you soon lose all this carefully maintained beauty... replaced by a jungle of waist high weeds, fast growing bushes, and long buried paths. And the farms are slowly going- one I noticed last year on a trip with Anne near Patterton Railway Station and due to its proximity to the ever expanding Newton Mearns... a likely candidate for more green lush fields swallowed up by further housing developments. Probably the most amazing thing about this part of Renfrewshire is that it has remained untouched for so long- still beautiful 50 years later. Most of Drumlin Glasgow must have looked like this originally before it was covered over by the various housing districts- many of them named after individual farms or grand estates- the only reminder of lost rural landscapes...like Orchard Park, Castlemilk, Byres Road, Cowlairs, Possilpark, Thornliebank, Drumchapel, and Sandyhills.
Although I tried my best to generate lasting interest it proved hard to get the same ' dream team' back together again. Or any local team of bike/walking enthusiasts for that matter. Either they had conflicting ideas on where to go, wanted to go other places by other means, did not like it as much as me, or they fell out and argued. Which was a shame but I was too young and inexperienced then to convince them otherwise so it fell apart.
It would take me many years and a lot of wandering on my own initiative to get another 'dream team' together... eventually. A story told in my kindle novel Autohighography.