Wednesday 19 July 2023

Ardmay Park. King's Park. Croft Park. Drakemire Drive. Holmbyre. Big Wood. Cathkin Braes. Castlemilk Park.

                                                    ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN

 A variation walk suggested by Alan on the mid south side of Glasgow devised by the Glasgow Ramblers I believe to give a good long walk by linking up a group of city parks and green spaces in a circular romp. It's called the 'Magnificent 11', although we dispensed with Netherton Braes, Linn Crematorium, and Linn Park as it was a hot day. The name is derived from either 11 parks visited ( I only count 7 or 8 though) or an 11 mile long route. We parked on a side street near King's Park railway station then walked the short distance to Ardmay Park for the views over the city and the nearby Hampden Park, Scotland's National Stadium, seen above.


King's Park came next which is a lovely medium sized park full of open meadows and mature deciduous trees. Capability Brown style as it was once the private estate grounds of the large and still standing Aikenhead House



Straight across the road from King's Park is a newly created green space on what was once the sloping domain of King's Park Golf Course. When I was here about ten years ago it was  all short grass open meadow, still looked like a recently abandoned golf course, but now it's been remodeled with a curving path, see above,  and planted with trees. A view from Croft Park looking towards King's Park, above.

Next came Drakemire Drive and a  set of stairs leading up to Lainshaw Drive Then Holmbyre, on the western edge of Castlemilk.

 Holmbyre (Road) is classed as part of Castlemilk but is a detached small scheme/ housing estate separated from the main bulk of Castlemilk by the broad sweep of Carmunock Road. Therefore not as rough an estate as the densely packed tenement interior of Castlemilk, the original tenement houses here, as you can see, have been mainly saved, like Drakemire Drive, with a modern makeover. I liked this bright and colourful wall mural of flowers, halfway up the estate that we passed. 


Alan was not as keen on it though. It also had a lush carpet of real wild flowers in front of it.


Pink thistles and rose bay willow herb mainly

A splash of colour does make a significant difference to a place and on human moods living there. The original Castlemilk scheme/ estate comprised of three and four storey mainly grey tenement clusters, densely packed and somewhat claustrophobic, especially for a visitor, with a once notorious reputation. Even when I visited it in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s many of the tenements were boarded up and abandoned, with graffiti up to the rooftops in places. It was a wild place for an outsider wandering around up until the early 2000s when they started knocking down the worst affected areas. It's like night and day now with far more lower level upmarket housing built, a richer diversity of building types to look at, and a more scattered population.... roughly half the number of inhabitants than it used to have with several sets of high rise flats gone and many tenement cluster districts no longer there or slimmed down in scale. I've always enjoyed exploring housing estates though as part of a walk... Alan not so much :o) 

 Like a lot of hill-walkers he felt happier in open countryside rather than prowling around urban estates. But he did like this sculpture on the edge of the green belt.


Which led us up into open countryside again between Castlemilk and Carmunnock. A green path here leading up to Cathkin Braes Country Park and the Big Wood.


Views over the surrounding district.


Alan heading up towards the single large wind turbine on Cathkin Braes....

 Where we got extensive if heat hazy views over the UK's 4th largest city. ( This list changes depending on whatever list you look at, with London first by a long way, then Birmingham, then usually either Glasgow or Leeds in 3rd or 4th place. Leeds sprinting ahead of Glasgow during the last few decades.


It's an impressive urban sprawl anyway, in whatever position it sits in the league table, stretching in both directions away into the distance when you take in the surrounding, nearly touching towns, like Hamilton, Motherwell, Wishaw, Coatbridge, Paisley, etc... over two million people in one glance from this viewpoint.



Castlemilk tenements from Big Wood and Celtic Park FC, in the distance.


City Centre district and Finnieston here and a photo that shows Glasgow sitting in its  shallow bowl surrounded by hill ranges. Kilpatricks and Campsies on the north..... Brownside Braes and Cathkin Braes in the west and south.


And just below our feet the remaining tenements of Castlemilk which rises up a long slope and was the reason for the Drakemire Drive detour to lessen the uphill walking and leave us with a long easy downhill march back to the car at the end, just when we needed it most. At one time in the 1970s over 36,000 people lived within Castlemilk. One of the 'big four' Glasgow council housing estates built in the 1950s on open land on the edges to re-house the residents of the city from it's crumbling and insanitary inner district one hundred year old slums. 36, 000 incidentally is larger than Falkirk at 35,500, Irvine at 34,000 and only slightly smaller than the town of Stirling at 38,000, yet it's only one district of Glasgow out of dozens more within the city limits


A house with a view from the top edge of Castlemilk. Like Pollok and Drumchapel Castlemilk is surrounded by wonderful green countryside as it was once a grand estate with a large house sitting in its own extensive grounds. The big house is long gone but the stables and the leafy glen with the remains of a stone bridge spanning it and fish pond below can still be seen today.

 Grand Estate link and photos here. 

 Castlemilk Stables, now a drop in centre and community resource. The only building left from that time period.

Large fungi on dead tree in Castlemilk Glen.

A good walk and we both felt it in the legs on the way back. Glad to reach the car again.

Near where the Mitchellhill high rise flats used to stand a car park exists at the top of Castlemilk as a gateway to The Commonwealth Games mountain bike circuit. Starting from here it's a challenge though as winding trails climb steeply up several hundred feet to the summit where the wind turbine sits. I have seen mountain bikers struggle up this way but I would definitely pick the easier alternative route on the flat as several car parks exist nearer the summit of this long slope off the B759 Cathkin Road.  A good day out.




Kay G. said...

Well, that was a nice long walk! Glad that they could put this Magnificent 11 together!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Kay, by the time we got back to the car we were glad we had left out the other parks. That shorter version was hard enough as we didn't stop much to sit down.

Carol said...

I wish 'mountain bikers' would stick to made circuits and tracks - there are plenty of them and they certainly provide all levels of challenge and difficulty - no need for them to rip up our hillsides!

Only Scots/Glaswegians could name something 'Big Wood' ;-)

And I'm surprised Leeds is getting so big that it's competing with Glasgow in size!

Anabel Marsh said...

Familiar with the views from Cathkin Braes, the rest I don’t really know.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
I was going by the UK population data lists 2023 Which has London at around 9 Million. Birmingham at 1 million, Leeds at 751,000 and Glasgow at 612,000 but other population charts ( which seem to calculate by very different rules other than within strict city limits, i.e by the greater metropolitan area of cities instead, often have very weird results with Liverpool, Belfast and other cities under 500,000 jumping straight into 3rd or 4th place sometimes. Weirdly Leeds never appears on TV weather maps but Manchester 530,000 is always shown on maps. Glasgow used to be over a million population in the 1940s but the death of heavy industry, shipbuilding, and people moving further outside the city limits means that Edinburgh is growing faster and may well overtake at some future date. U.K population movement is something that fascinates me.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel.
King's Park, Ardmay Park Croft Park, and Linn Park are worth visiting and make an easier two or four parks day out if you've not been in them.

Carol said...

Edinburgh could well move ahead as we're now just a 'service industry' country really and they're more into that sort of thing. Having said that, a lot of Service Industry workers work from home and so they can live anywhere!

Rosemary said...

I agree with you that the painted flowers have more appeal than a plain unimaginative concrete wall. The metal container would look a complete eyesore, but painted white and artfully painted by the Urban Fox it is far less offensive.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
Yes. it's made a huge improvement to an unusually dark stained, fairly unattractive retaining wall separating two different levels.