Monday 20 November 2023

Gleniffer Braes. Paisley. Last of the Autumn Colours 2023. Waterfall.

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 A walk from a few days ago in mid November. Although the higher tree canopy had been stripped of colourful leaf due to rain and strong winds that only highlighted the lower shrubs and bushes, which being more sheltered, had retained full leaf cover, as seen here.

 Our walk for today was a short drive to the Gleniffer Braes Country Park. parking at the large Robertson Car Park above Paisley. ( aka.... 'The car park in the sky' as it sits 400-500 foot directly above that town.) Four small hill ranges run into each other here in a horseshoe formation. The Lochliboside Hills, The Fereneze Hills, The Brownside Braes, and The Gleniffer Braes which together form part of the Clyde Valley Plateau Lavas. 

All the Central Belt hill ranges are apparently the result of massive lava flows and volcanic activity with many familiar and much loved local summits being either volcanic plugs ( Duncolm in the Kilpatricks, Dumgoyne in the Campsies, Dumbarton Rock etc and many others stretching across the country west to east in a wide band to Traprain Law and Berwick Law beyond Edinburgh. Being higher, 1000 foot plus, The Kilpatricks and the Campsies tend to be wilder and bleaker. Less sheltered, with more up and down ascents everywhere. The Barrhead/ Paisley Hills however are completely flat on top... a plateau... see photo above, 600 to 800  feet in height and that lower altitude makes all the difference... Scattered farms and short green grass meadows exist here instead of the usual bog, tussocks and empty ground on the higher peaks to the north of Glasgow.


I've always thought of this area as a Scottish mini Cotswolds as they have much more in common with many of the gentler small hill ranges in the south of England than the usual wild and windswept Scottish summits. ( I have explored most of the southern hill ranges as well in my hasty youth so it's not mere imagination speaking.)

 There are similarities... although this is a much poorer area economically and hundreds of miles further north. Paisley/Glasgow is slightly further north than Moscow incidentally, level with the middle of frozen Hudson Bay in Canada, or the chilly Baltic Sea yet on a warm windless spring day you would never know that. An almost tropical cornucopia/ mimosa of flowering shrubs, exotic scents, and lush green grass surrounds you in a friendly embrace every single summer. Something I first discovered here as a young child. For a budding nature hedonist ( i.e. I prefer it warm, sunny, and stuffed with colourful vegetation outdoors.) that was truly magical....


The summit of Duncolm in the Kilpatrick Hills here looking across the town of Paisley. The previous five days had been stormy and wet so this was a brief window of good dry weather before more rain was forecast to arrive. 

 As the autumn colours were still abundant, a last November flourish, we stayed on the lower edge of the  Gleniffer Braes, walking from Robertson car park on the escarpment edge path down through deciduous woodlands to Glen Park, the waterfall, and a necklace of small dams/ ponds once presumably used in the weaving/ textile/ thread industry that Paisley was once famous for worldwide.


After crossing the obvious deep narrow gorge via a wooden bridge we came across the Tannahill Walkway. a tarmac balcony trail leading gently down to Glen Park which offers great views over Paisley and Glasgow. Robert Tannahill was a local Paisley poet and songwriter who was a fan of Robert Burns. He loved his local hills above the town so this path is a fitting lasting tribute to him. Glasgow might not have an ancient volcano beside its city centre or a dramatic castle on a rock within its city limits but it does have Dumbarton Rock and Castle and the Gleniffer Braes/ Kilpatrick Hills as a nearby ( far less tourists, much cheaper) Edinburgh equivalent.

His very interesting and rather sad story here. Surprising what his songs/tunes/lyrics later evolved into. You might not have heard of him, unless you are a local, but you will know these melodies.

 Info sign on path.

This balcony trail on the edge of the escarpment led Alan and I down to Glen Park and offers outstanding views, even with slightly murky visibility on this occasion. Part of Stanely Reservoir here.


Overnight storms and rain clouds departing from Paisley and Glasgow.

A patch of blue sky and sunlight over Foxbar and Paisley.


Standing on the escarpment edge overlooking Hi Rise flats in Paisley.


Stanely Reservoir. On a nice sunny day this gives a blue Mediterranean sparkle to the town.

Paisley Town Centre and Glasgow Airport. ( This airport is right beside Paisley but only a short bus ride or drive to Glasgow City Centre from here.

 Glen Park and the Dams walkway.


One of several ponds/dams in this area.


The woodland floor in autumn.

 Crossing a gully.

 Scottish woods in November.


Due to the levels of rain falling in the last few days the famous waterfall plunging over a cliff was very impressive. In summer it can be just a trickle  but this was thrilling even though I first visited here when I was around six or seven with my Mum, aunt and cousins. 



It was so good we made it linger as we approached it from afar. Teasing the experience out a little.

 There is an easy path to it on the other side of the gully but we were enjoying the autumn colours.

 The Waterfall. Even after all these years this is still a magical place.



On the way back, in Paisley, we visited Robert Tannahill's cottage/ workshop. Amazingly still standing to this day.


 Info tablet.


 And a couple of  local Paisley murals I hadn't seen before.


Fittingly, a harvest theme. A great day out with good company.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

An Autumn Gallery. October 2023. The Golden Highway.

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An old fence post covered in thick moss. Maybe even one harbouring a lost world of minuscule creatures, happily breeding and hidden away for decades, on this completely isolated vertical sided but extremely lush mini mountain summit. After 40 years of taking autumn photographs I know all the best places to find good autumn colours so this is a gallery celebration of the dramatic third act of the seasons. The very essence of autumn. 'The Fall'. A good photo should make you want to step right through into the picture and experience it as if you were there in person. So hopefully this selection will achieve that.


I don't need to travel far to find the best areas either. Great Western Road between Drumchapel and Anniesland is as good as any park for autumn colours in trees although I have done recent walks around Knightswood Park, Clydebank Park, and  Rouken Glen Park to broaden the art gallery theme still further.


A golden harvest for wildlife with colourful wild berry and fruit trees lining both sides and the middle strip of this golden highway. Yet I have personally seen very few birds here eating them. They are enchanted.


This is Glasgow's version of the Yellow Brick Road and the Emerald Kingdom beyond.

 Strange things do occur here occasionally.

 A cold autumn morning on the golf course beside Rouken Glen Park. What I thought was a stray golf ball at first glance from a distance was not.


Bus Stop in autumn 2023.


I also pick good light to bring up the colours more. Late afternoon sunlight here.

And some views are just magical. Another realm entirely....... that you can step into.


If you are lucky with the weather autumn colours can last from early September to mid November which certainly helps to make the bleak winter months of cold darkness pass quicker before Spring eventually appears again.


A dipper enjoying a very clear stream flowing through Rouken Glen park.


Autumn park lands are plentiful in the western suburbs of the city.


All the colours, sights and smells of a productive October forest floor. Any goodness used up, stored away safety, then turned into a wide range of mirco materials that all growing things desire come spring... easily as efficient as any human food factory turning out products for sale to their customers. The invisible world wide web of tiny mycelium threads that you never normally see without digging them up but without which most things above ground would perish. The original food delivery service perfected over millions of years of evolution.


 Great Western Road. Still quiet and serene outside rush hour times.

 Coat of several colours.

Amanita Muscaria.

Autumn foliage. High Knightswood.

 Deer. Shy creatures of the forest edge near The Barrhead Dams.


Evening sunlight walking along Great Western Road.


The stream in the gorge at Rouken Glen Park.


The riches of autumn.


The sheer beauty of Glasgow's many parks.



Pastel Perfection. Misty morning with weak sunlight burning through November's dark mists.


Wind blown leaves swirling in a tight circle create an overnight random archipelago on the pavement outside. or ...hinting at a sinkhole effect.


...and the pleasures of the open road ahead.