Monday 8 July 2024

A Very Strange Walk Around Glasgow Airport. Paisley Moss. Planes. Black Cart Water. Renfrew.

                                                ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.


Years ago Alan and myself  kayaked up the White Cart Water under Paisley's shopping streets. I said then more folk had probably climbed Mount Everest than had kayaked under Paisley in that fashion. That same trip we also attempted to kayak up the neighbouring Black Cart Water, seen above, which although wide proved too shallow for inflatable kayaks, being only six inches deep in many places with our boats being too easily burst in shallow water filled with sharp objects sticking up. But Alan never forgot about it.

So we parked in the layby on Greenock Road last month, just up from the stone Inchinnan Bridge, near Renfrew's old swing bridge then walked along the new cycle track to reach the left hand bank of the Black Cart Water, facing upstream towards Paisley. Neither of us knew if a walk along here was even possible so that added some excitement to the outing.


It started off ok with farmland on both banks and green fields but we were soon reduced to a thin strip between the airport fence and a barbed wire fence, seen in second photo and at one stage we had to jump this to walk along the mud to make progress, luckily at low tide. We also had to crawl on hands and knees at one point under hawthorn bushes just to make progress so that would put some people off. It's not really a walk in the conventional sense as there's no path... but it is possible. Having done it I would also claim far more folk have walked into Everest base camp than have done this walk. Adventure is definitely where you find it. 


Although you can see an industrial estate on the other side of the river it does feel very secluded and cut off here, remote even, which is strange given it's surrounded by flat farmland. New Rolls Royce plant here, above, a company with a long history in Renfrew.  



Further on we came to a herd of cattle, luckily separated by a thick hedge. We are well used on walks to meeting both cows and bullocks so we stayed patient and alert here, as did the herd, watching each other cautiously. Both cows and bullocks can be unpredictable and people, including farmers, have been badly hurt or killed by cattle, especially if you have a dog with you so we took our time here, not knowing the layout ahead and let the herd decide what they wanted to do. After a brief stand off they turned and trotted up the lane towards the farm and we managed to get past them without any hassle but this could be a decisive point in this walk. You have to let the cattle decide what to do and bullocks especially will always turn and face you and may chase down any walker with a dog. As I said it's not really a walk as such and farmers will not be expecting anyone to do it. Also it's a very narrow field so no room to escape either.  


We managed on this occasion to get past them and continued on to Barnsford Bridge on the A726 where we left the Black Cart Water for a pavement walk along Barnsford Road still following the perimeter fence of Glasgow Airport.


We had a guess that this was a mock up of an aircraft interior used for fire fighting practice, both outside and inside.

 This certainly wins the title of the strangest walk I've ever done for variety and contrast of habitats. Remote feeling, little visited farmland... then busy runways and aircraft noise....


and then this oddity... Paisley Moss. A sizable swamp with boardwalks that sits inside and under a large roundabout, Junction 29 and the  busy M8 Motorway is directly above your head at this point. It looks rather neglected as if it gets few visitors and although a nature reserve we couldn't see or hear any birds, no tadpoles or life of any sort, apart from us.



I did like the boardwalk. You could almost imagine an old shack here around the next corner with a grinning cajun local skinning alligators and possums on the front porch. True blood territory. It was a very weird walk. But enjoyable.



We've seen more wildlife in our own small gardens though. Both bird and aquatic.

Here's the proof. All you need is a small plastic tub to get tadpoles. You can buy one or two for a few quid then sink them level with the ground giving them some sort of exit, like a sloping stone or wood to get in and out easily once they reach the frog stage. 


and you can get photos like this as well. Great fun for children or adults.



Although it's signposted at the airport we got the impression Paisley Moss is not visited much at all as this exit path was heavily overgrown and required near crawling through the undergrowth in places.

But this walk did have a few nice trees on the route. Laburnum or more likely Acacia tree here.


 and a vivid red tree.


Colourful mixture.

 As this was a complete circumnavigation of Glasgow Airport's perimeter fence we soon found our mud spattered and bush scratched bodies approaching the main entrance gates. It was a really surreal feeling, knowing where we'd just walked, coming into such a hive of activity... like bursting suddenly from a tropical jungle into a hectic city centre street with numerous shops and tourists.


Planes getting refueled for departure.


Emirates plane. The largest aircraft to fly in and out of Glasgow currently.

 We wandered past dozens of well heeled folk rolling suitcases to far off destinations but smug in the knowledge we'd just had an incredible adventure ourselves... for free... only a dozen miles from our respective doorsteps.


Helicopter taking off.  The route then led us back along Abbotsinch Road pavement to the outskirts of Renfrew and the car, still following the airport outer fence.


Without a doubt one of the most unusual and weird walks we have ever done. Thanks to Alan for suggesting it. Thinking out the box, big time. Just when we thought we'd experienced all the walks Renfrewshire had to offer. Around 3 to 4 hours duration depending on speed and lunch stops.

And another great adventure. The Gone Series by Michael Grant. Six books in total. A giant dome traps a small town and its surroundings where every adult disappears and only wildlife and children under 16 survive. A Stephen King TV series and the book Lord of the Flies may be the original inspiration but this series of six books is outstanding. Easily the equal of Lord of the Rings, His Dark Materials, Lost, The Dune Saga, Game of Thrones, Witch World etc. Very creative throughout, no dips in plot or loss of interest, fantastic characters. I read the first one, Gone, from a charity shop and was so gripped by it I rejoined my local library just to read the rest over a five month period. The treasure hunt tracking them all down in various branches was as exciting as the books and very enjoyable. A true modern classic in every way if you haven't already read them. Brilliant escapism. 10 out of 10.



Anabel Marsh said...

I had no idea that bard walk existed. But on the whole - not a walk to emulate!

Carol said...

Very interesting idea for a walk indeed!

The tube is exactly what you said - they used to use a poor aircraft cut in half (presumably one which had been sent for scrap).

And you're spot on about cattle - it's always a great idea to let the see you and decide what they want to do.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel, the only folk that might do it are local fishermen or the occasional local dog walker on the river section or someone like me years ago who did a lot of solo exploring in my local area just through general curiousity.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol, when I was doing the Marilyns with Alex we came across dozens of herds of cattle, bullocks and the small all black cattle who seemed very fast, agile and always watchful. We always kept well away from them because they were probably nearer the wild black cattle of the Highlands before modern breeds arrived so more feisty. Also got chased by bullocks outside Joanna Lumley's house once. Having said that I liked the Marilyns far more than the Donalds, Grahams, Corbetts etc as everyone was a small shapely gem with no bogs, tussocks, or midge, tick, and cleg swarms to spoil the enjoyment. Pure euphoria instead.

Carol said...

I've never fancied the Marilyns - just too much driving - you have to go right down south for some of them and I don't really ever go south of here nowadays as I can't stand the heavy traffic.

You're right that the small black cattle will be nearer to the wild cattle of original times in Scotland - but they'll still be fairly scared of man. And how did you know where Joanna Lumley's house was? - and, more to the point, where was it? ;-)

blueskyscotland said...

I was thinking of the Scottish Marilyns in the Central Belt,The Borders, Fife etc.
Not telling. Borders area.