Monday 20 November 2023

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

                                                ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.

 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.


Anabel Marsh said...

I have walked Glennifer Braes many times while at Mum’s. Alas, no reason to visit Paisley now.

blueskyscotland said...

It's an unusual hill range. Even after decades of exploring I'm still finding occasional new paths here I've not walked before.

Carol said...

Isn't it weird how suicide was thought criminal for so many years - no thought for what someone would be going through to do such a thing!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
not only that but I remember reading that babies that died before being baptized or from mothers with a stigma, like being unwed, no matter the circumstances couldn't bury them in consecrated ground. i.e. a graveyard belonging to the Catholic church, so they had to bury them elsewhere... in a wood, on an island etc. It was an Irish book from the 1960s era so not that long ago. Personally I couldn't care less where I end up once I've snuffed it. At least he did get remembered and had several beauty spots, old wells etc named after him. Apart from being despondent his health was apparently failing so it's understandable. It was a brutal hard life then so I bet the reason for suicide being listed a sin in the first place is that it was too tempting a proposition for millions compared to the grim life they might be enduring :o) Back then many ordinary working folk were old by 40 if they had a tough job to do.

Carol said...

Fully agree with all that. I think being buried in a nice, quiet wood, or a sunny field would be nice but I'm sure we won't know or care when the time comes!

blueskyscotland said...

And he lived and died in Renfrewshire, reputedly fairest of one thousand parishes...