Wednesday 17 May 2023

Cuningar Loop Park and the River Clyde Walkway.

                                                    ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.


A recent walk I enjoyed took me to Dalmarnock and the Cuningar Loop Park situated between Dalmarnock and Rutherglen. I jumped on a train from my house then got off at Dalmarnock Train Station. When I worked in this area during the 1980s and 1990s I remember it being a fairly grim, dark neighbourhood of old style stone four storey tenements all along both sides of Dalmarnock Road with nearby Sunnybank Street at the tenement heart of the district not living up to its name in any way. (This was a pre- sandblasted Glasgow which removed 100 years of soot and grime from the more prosperous districts, not helped by the nearby bulk of Dalmarnock power station with its multiple chimneys and adjacent sewage works, the latter still there and still in operation, judging by the smell.) Sunnybank Street was instead an enclosed feeling, fairly dangerous, grubby gauntlet of a place for a visiting outsider parking a van there. Easily in the top 20 worst looking streets in Glasgow back then for crime, drug addiction, poverty, and general urban deprivation I'd imagine. A long street of half empty four story tenements on both sides... nearly all of the ground and first floor houses abandoned and secured with metal shutters with only the top two floors permanently lived in, presumably due to encountering less hassle from the street below, if you lived high up. 


I also remember at one point local primary school pupils getting a police escort to their school every day, presumably to prevent people trying to sell them drugs, give them drugs free, (to get them hooked), or some other safety issue at that time. Dalmarnock then was also a semi industrial area of small works and factories interspersed with the tenement buildings and old heavy drinking watering hole pubs like the Falcons Nest, The Plaza Bar. Nero's, and The Kimberley Bar (nearer Bridgeton in that instance) and many, many others. All long demolished. It did have plenty of employment opportunities at one time with gas works, iron works, and railway yards also located in this district but by the 1980s they were either gone or in decline and hardcore drugs like heroin flooded into Glasgow's council housing schemes/estates.

 What a difference 30 odd years make. It's now a much brighter, cleaner, more open, and lower level neighbourhood that is a pleasure to walk through. And Cuningar Loop adds a much needed green oasis to this inner city district that did not have a park nearby for locals to visit before.


These few remaining traditional flats on Dalmarnock Road, beside the River Clyde, gives you some idea of what the old tenement cluster of streets surrounding Sunnybank Street looked like in the late 1980s, only these flats are in much better condition. i.e. not half abandoned and shuttered up.


And this is Sunnybank Street today. 2023. Cleared waste ground over several city blocks where lines of tenements once stood and lower level flats on the other side. A much nicer, more open place .... although I suppose at some point other houses might be built here. 


On the other side of Dalmarnock Road, where various works and small factories once stood, regeneration house building projects are in full swing with both rented and bought houses springing up all around this area, (see first photo at top of this post, of other just completed riverside apartments.) It should make it a much nicer place to live although maybe locals who have grown up here might feel displaced somewhat by the brave new world taking shape around them, filling up with incoming tenants arriving from elsewhere. Gentrification occurring in most cities at some point.


The River Clyde at Dalmarnock. Having a large river right beside you is a bonus for scenic enjoyment but also a potential danger for local children during heatwaves tempted to explore its banks or go swimming in it. A quick cold/lukewarm shower or a splash in a sink over your head has the same effect only not so risky. Dozens of children die each year in the UK in rivers and lakes, even good swimmers.



With this maybe in mind the park itself has loads of stuff to keep children interested. A  large and varied adventure playground here. It also has an up and down bike trail.

 Around nine different climbing boulders with multiple top class problems/graded routes on each. Ten foot high.


Unlike other climbing wall style features in other parks/areas these look worth making a special trip to try out if you are into bouldering as they do look like carefully planned professional grade routes although they might be busy with ambitious children on certain days. I was here early, before 11:00am so had them all free to myself. That front sloping slab looks about VS-HVS standard or 6a at a guess. Not having rock boots with me no point trying such finger pocket sized small holds.



A view from the Cuningar Loop look out tower situated within the park.

An elevated walkway and viewing platform just above tree level, around 40 feet high but enough to give decent surrounding views of the area.


This is it here from the central meadow with an eye catching sculpture in front.



Several of these exist in the park. Metal entrance arch here.

 A view of the Emirates Arena and Celtic Park FC Stadium from the lookout tower.


A personal highlight for me within the park was this boardwalk trail beside the River Clyde that felt very 'Scottish jungle' thanks to its high vegetation and lush greenery in spring and summer conditions.



Instead of monkeys jumping around we have grey squirrels.


Not afraid of visitors.

The wild River Clyde at Dalmarnock. Could be Huckleberry Finn land and the Mississippi River basin at first glance.

View of Glasgow city Centre from the look out tower in Cuningar Loop Park.

To be continued... ( this is just one half of a two part walk along the River Clyde. Second half later.
  PS another thing I enjoyed recently on TV that falls under the title of 'true inspiration.' Myleene Klass deservedly winning I'm a Celebrity. South Africa. by eating the usual disgusting meals on it to an incredible degree never seen before then donating her one hundred thousand pound winnings to the Save the Children charity. The complete reverse of many high profile already rich modern politicians who, (according to dozens of news accounts over the last decade) seem to spend large chunks of their time thinking up ways to further increase their personal bank balance at every opportunity when they get into power. So....It's been many years since I've been truly inspired by anyone... but she did it this week. 


Another highlight on TV has been the last few years of women's football, mainly down in England which I started watching during the World Cup then the Euros. Because they are now full time professional teams playing in a competitive league the standard and skill levels are very high and at the moment free to watch on TV. I must admit I prefer it to the men's game where often cynical fouls and dives in the penalty box are the norm due to the increased money levels/rewards at stake there. yet the athletic ability and skill levels in the women's game and the audience attendance at big games are catching up fast, demonstrated recently by Chelsea's Sam Kerr. Not only a vital winning goal but a double combination running cartwheel/ somersault celebration worthy of a top Olympic gymnast. Luckily, I picked Chelsea as my team a few years ago due to a Glasgow connection in it... as they have won almost every major football competition since.  No Partick Thistle Nil for this lucky viewer. Only exciting end to end games and plenty of goals for me so far :o)


Carol said...

None of our family would ever watch football but, one night, we watched the women's football and we all actually enjoyed it. Far more 'sportsmanship' going on and a more exciting game - much less stop/start than the men's version!

The riverside walking looks lovely there and the surrounding urban bits are very much improved by the look of it.

As to I'm a Celebrity - time they donated to save the animals with all the live creature eating they do - totally cruel and unethical programme!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
It is but this year in South Africa it was more focused on puzzle trials so I started watching it. To be honest if I was getting paid even £10,000 I'd be in it, while still being respectful to any creatures I encountered. Haven't watched it for years but there was nothing else on in that time slot and you get fed up with police dramas as 80 percent of TV and books seems to involve that scenario, even if they are good. Most insect, animal and reptile, decline is habitat loss, hunting, climate change and the like so a few cages of snakes and cockroaches is not going to have much of an impact. We may well be eating them at some point in the future judging by the lack of certain goods on supermarket shelves recently.... post Brexit.

Carol said...

it's eating things alive which I think is really cruel! I couldn't even do that if I was starving!

Anabel Marsh said...

I don’t know that park, it looks worth a visit. i like the sculptures and the viewing platform. Those pale brown flats seem to be springing up everywhere in Glasgow, and I’m never sure about flat roofs in our climate.

blueskyscotland said...

It is worth a visit Anabel and you can walk back along the River Clyde to Glasgow Green to see Riverside Park, also brand new in Dalmarnock reached by Solway Street next to the old Strathclyde Public School building featured in my next post.... or by following the River Clyde.
I typed in 'Dalmarnock. Parkhead history' as I'm usually curious about the areas I go to and Dalmarnock has a huge history....and it's a treasure trove from people who do live there still, Old Streets, old tram photos, Dye and textile works, and local people and school kids videoed in the 1960s and today when it still had a close community, busy shops, probably good employment, and a sense of optimism that things were improving after the war.
A big contrast to the 1980s when I visited when most of the large council areas in Glasgow had mass unemployment,crumbling housing stock, and a big drug problem. It's went full circle now to become a decent area again... or that's my take on it anyway as an outsider.

blueskyscotland said...

That would be my Achilles heel, the eating trials. I could handle all the other stuff OK, heights, climbing, locked in cages, underground tunnels, swimming etc as I've always liked that stuff anyway but eating anything unusual or vile I'd have a problem with. Depends how hungry I got.
Australian bush fires and bird flu killed millions of animals in a short space of time. I'm more concerned about that than a few snakes and bugs in cages for a TV programme. It's the big stuff we need to fix.

Rosemary said...

My grandson is into bouldering so I am sure that he would love tackling those rocks.
I have never taken any interest in men's football but must admit that I too agree that women's football is far more pleasureable and entertaining to watch.

blueskyscotland said...

It's your lucky day Rosemary. This Sunday 21 May 2023 BBC1 12:15 until 2:35PM. An afternoon of Chelsea Vs Arsenal in the Woman's super league decider live. Kick off usually 12:30- 12:45 ish.
Join the growing army of supporters :o)

Carol said...

But it's the fact that people are being cruel for entertainment (like foxhunting, shooting etc.)

blueskyscotland said...

La vie est souvent cruelle....n'est-ce pas?