ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
Another year, another autumn. As I've not been in Kelvingrove Park for a while I decided to take a bus to Glasgow's Botanic Gardens then walk from there down the River Kelvin gorge into Kelvingrove Park then Partick. Heavy rain was forecast as it has been very wet throughout most of October but I knew not many days were left until the deciduous leaves vanished for another year so I had a late October splurge catching up. Also a wet dull day would bring out the colours more.
There was a surprise awaiting me in the Botanic Gardens however- not only a fine range of autumnal trees but preparations for Halloween, only a few days away, were in full swing.
A basking shark model. Apparently they are endangered... isn't everything these days!? I've had the privilege of being very close to basking sharks several times on the Scottish west coast and they are truly amazing creatures, reaching between 20 to 35 feet in length as an adult or 10 metres long. I remember one time we were on a small passenger boat going to Eigg and a 30 plus footer glided under the boat in mid journey miles from land. I pointed it out, entranced, to my fellow passengers by commenting 'shark' not intending to scare them but just to draw their attention to it in case they missed it swimming silently underneath us, 15 foot down in clear water and several went white as a sheet and started to pray, realizing the unexpected size of it. Completely harmless of course. All the exhibits here are in day-glow colours so they shine out at night.
Entrance globe. Reading the signs it would be a ticketed affair after dark wandering around to celebrate Halloween but also with a climate change/ pollution theme..
This part inspired by the Little Shop of Horrors presumably.....?
or 1950s Sci Fi films. Radioactive family.
Glasgow twinned with New York here apparently. Both skyscraper cities, both filled with tell it like it is citizens, a similar grid layout of city streets, and an equally exotic cocktail of sophistication, elegance, beauty and wealth but also pockets of grime, danger and lifelong multi generational poverty living side by side so not that different a match in some ways.
A lot of 'save the planet' signage which is a bit disingenuous as the planet is doing fine. It's humanity and wildlife that is in danger. Thanks to Jupiter's immense gravity and earth's volcanoes, twin lifetime protectors of atmosphere, the planet is in good hands until its final demise a billion years from now. Plenty of time for new life forms to evolve and flourish. I have to admit once something becomes a 'Cause Celebre' I tend to lose interest in it. I'll jump ship and steer for the overpopulation camp instead as that's a far harder sell. 'Save the planet- let's cull humanity drastically before 2030!' 'People are the problem- not the solution'. and other catchy slogans... :o)
It was at this point, looking at this sign, that a little old woman sidled up to me.
' Got you thinking eh? Are you evil?.' she inquired politely.. I have to confess no-one has ever asked me that question before. Certainly not a stranger in a public park. My first thought was to fleetingly think I must be as I was thinking at that precise moment ' thank God I'm seeing all this for free instead of buying a ticket for it, lucky me!' but I guessed she was somehow attached to the organization side of things and was looking for some early positive feed back along the lines of ' do I consume too much for my needs, am I intrinsically greedy, sustainability, personal lifestyle vs recycling etc... but cynical me decided play dumb instead and throw the question right back at her.
'If I was evil do you think I would tell you that or comprehend my own true nature... or more probably... would I still believe I was one of the good guys?
' That's too hard for children to understand.' She complained. ' We have to get the message across in simple terms.'
' Best of luck with that then.' I replied, moving on.
Come to think of it now, writing this, she was probably around my own age yet I, and no doubt she, still retain a strong impression of being a lively 20 to 40 something, mentally, eternally in our prime..... a peculiar state of mind default setting only damaged when hard reality or a mirror places a spanner in the works... like a tricky barbed wire fence to climb over, a less than speedy sprint along a pavement for a bus, or a sizable jump across a streambed as a true reminder of advancing years and diminishing physical abilities.
The colours were at their best so I concentrated on them instead.
Bush/tree taken over by rampant foliage.
I left the Botanic Gardens via this pedestrian bridge for the delights of the River Kelvin gorge walk.
The Kelvin is a river I've often thought about kayaking down in the past as it's slow moving and placid most of the way with only a few mild rapids and a couple of weirs to get past. Even in spate conditions it retains a mostly tranquil pace, although dangerous under currents, potential sewage contamination if you fall in, and submerged trees/ hazards along the route have to be factored in. Never seen anyone kayaking it although there are a few online mentions of it occurring infrequently.
It is beautiful though and very wild looking in places despite flowing into the heart of a major urban area through Glasgow's West End.
You would need to be completely aware of the exact position of several rapids, weirs, and drops however unless you have loads of previous white water experience and skill. These are sometimes too dry to negotiate safety due to a lack of water in summer, or in spate conditions dangerous looking, as you would not want to go under or attempt it without scoping it out first for potential problems.
Although it doesn't look it here this last section traveling through Partick is probably the worst with several abrupt rock shelf drops one after another that in spate may be easier if riskier to negotiate to reach the larger River Clyde. Also, with high walls on either side, if anything does happen it's hard to escape from this concrete trench to safety.
Kelvingrove Park now and the rain was hammering down. One thing I noticed throughout was the number of people without umbrellas or even decent waterproofs. It was raining so hard here, and had been all month that you would think folk would be prepared ... but no. Younger guys I can half understand, that macho thing of wanting to appear tough and impervious to conditions but an equal number of girls/ older women I passed were without one yet after ten minutes in this deluge throwing full buckets of water over them would not soak them any further. Drowned rats would look drier. My own black umbrella was £5 so money was not the problem. One good reason why every winter the cold and flu season starts- this time increased by the thought- might I have covid instead?
It was a puzzle. Are umbrellas unfashionable now?. In urban areas I've always carried one in my rucksack for decades, a cheap fold away model, but there if needed. No use up hills due to wind strength but ok for city and town walking. Better in many ways than entombing yourself in gortex jacket, waterproof overtrousers, hat or hood which all tend to muffle you away from the full experience and pleasure of your surroundings.
An umbrella is also a vital piece of kit for keeping my camera lens dry as that's a pet hate of mine in heavy rain- drops on the lens every two seconds or steamed up visuals that take time to clear. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and museum here.
The highest point in the park which rises on a slope around then above the University of Glasgow.
This gives you a better idea of how hard it was raining... and it went on for several hours non stop.
Made the autumn colours stand out though.
University of Glasgow spire.
The walk down to Partick.
Kelvin Hall and bridge over the River Kelvin. When I caught a bus here it rained hard all the way back. Getting off the bus was a further adventure as several of the streets between bus and house were flooded completely so I had no choice but to wade knee deep up the pavements to get back to dry land. Luckily I've always lived on a hill, well clear of rivers, as conditions like these do seem to be increasing. Hotter and drier for warm countries, wet and increasingly flooded for damp prone countries like ours.