Saturday, 27 August 2016
A solo bike trip to Rouken Glen park and a photographic gallery of an area I know well in South West Glasgow. Growing up in Nitshill- Pollok, this was the nearest large (and more importantly, interesting) park to my house and was just within walking distance once I passed the age of ten... a bus ran here as well, which was an occasional treat if my parents paid the fare but usually reached on foot.
It was looking pretty good this time with only a few patches of dense weed cover obscuring the surface but someone informed me the entire pond had been drained and cleaned recently as I've seen it far worse in previous years. Usual collection of ducks, geese and other pond life on show. I think this might be a young moorhen going by the beak.
I was delighted to find a small new park/ landscaped recreation area just below Patterton and had a go on the zip wire running down a slight slope as that was empty as well. We are all children again when there's no one else around to see and I couldn't resist a shot :o) It was good fun.
History and Dams to Darnley Country Park info here. Rifle Ranges. POW Camp and Darnley Bleach fields show a surprising international history inside this link.
As was I for the next five minutes, retrieving my transport then beating a hasty retreat from vast numbers pouring out an unnoticed hole in the ground. Isn't nature wonderful?
An apt video to go with it from a fellow enthusiast of the area. Lovely music and images. Best watched full screen.
Monday, 22 August 2016
Another kayak trip with Alan down the White Cart Water, setting off just upstream from the Renfrew Swing Bridge before reaching the point where the White Cart and the Black Cart merge into one larger river before entering the mighty River Clyde itself downstream from the Renfrew ferry. This is kayaking down the White Cart, above, with Clydebank and Dalmuir spread out as a backdrop.
I include this link here because over the last few weeks I've heard a couple of folk mentioning the proposed new bridge over the River Clyde, which seems to be gathering momentum. Interesting that some of the reasons for building it appears to be to get faster access to Glasgow Airport and the nearby Braehead Shopping Centre.
As I live on the west side of the city near Anniesland I've been to Braehead Shopping Centre occasionally at weekends and the place is always packed solid with people and cars, as is Silverburn Shopping Centre in Pollok and Clydebank's retail park and indoor shopping arcade. They are the last places I would think of going to at weekends due to the hassle of finding a parking place and general traffic chaos surrounding them every Friday and Saturday/weekends. When my sister came over on holiday I took her across to Braehead for the shopping experience one Saturday but we had to park on an upper car park on the outskirts half a mile from the shops and I couldn't wait to get home... stuck in traffic most of the way back. Not being a shopping person the only time I do visit these places I'm in and out quickly once I've got the item I went in for and the main reason I like them personally is the cycle tracks and new parks and riverside walks that have been created with their development. These outdoor and free attractions I do like exploring. On foot or by bike they make a great outing coupled with other riverside walks in this area.
I get the feeling we are all being conned into paying for things we used to get for free. And this in a nation (The UK) that has jumped to the 5th richest country in the world... during a deep, so called, recession. Rich lists and "the economy is doing well " are things that mean nothing to the average punter struggling to pay bills in an ever increasing two level society where the rich get all the breaks going, usually at the expense of the tax payer and ordinary folk in the street.
Really worth a read. and its not just one sector... it's everywhere... and we, the mug public, usually foot the bill. What F********** AUSTERITY? Only for us it seems... as always... forever.
Maybe it's just my age and cynical outlook but to me keeping fit and enjoying myself is usually free and takes place outdoors yet I heard recently some young guy on TV who was described as "extremely sporty" yet didn't seem to spend any time outside at all and it was all indoor work he was into and actively promoting...i.e. looking good, lifting weights and building a perfect six pack body with a fake tan to match and thousands no doubt spent on sculpting his appearance to look more like the celebrity generation he was obviously influenced by. Outdoors was far too dirty and dangerous for this individual but what got me was the general acceptance that this was the new normal for many. I've cycled past dozens of indoor enthusiasts paying a lot of money to ride static bikes or run on a treadmill in antiseptic surroundings behind glass but I fail to see what they get out of it except a date with someone inside possibly, or an emptier wallet. A growing modern theme seems to be that you have to pay someone money or go on a supervised course to enjoy yourself outdoors or just to keep fit. Walking for free exercise is becoming an outdated concept. It's yet another con powered by a billion dollar industry geared to selling you stuff that will probably lie in a cupboard unused after a few months.
Obviously boxers, professional or amateur sports people have to spend a lot of time training indoors, which was always the case, but the main motivation in this instance seemed to be one of advanced narcissistic drive towards physical appearance, with any health benefits, fitness or enjoyment largely unimportant compared to a desire to look like every other cloned celebrity out there. It all made me rather sad.
On another matter entirely... why do girls always pout in selfie shots? Why does every single shop assistant or check out person say "See you later" when you leave the shop. They never used to say that but now they all do..every single one... like robots... The few times I have taken them at their word and turned up later at the end of their shift to drive them home at night and perhaps see if they were real underneath police have been called :o). Maybe it's like saying "tell me about it?" which always seems to mean the exact opposite to what they are actually asking. Like "extremely sporty" in this instance.
We set off from Renfrew an hour after full high tide and I'd recommend a high tide start as it is a shipping lane and you don't want to be anywhere near one of these big beasts when they pass by. At high tide there is plenty of room on the river to either get to one side out the way or beach the craft on the bank and get out until it passes depending on size, speed and height of wake. At low tide you do not have that option to escape the main deep water channel and thick mud getting out anywhere will be a major problem unless you use a proper slipway to exit. Ships will not take kindly to a stupid kayaker in the way but under normal circumstances they are going slow enough to be well out the road before they even approach your position, as happened with this one as it was obvious from a half mile distant it would be passing us.
Being easy targets out here gull shit hit me numerous times while taking photos but it did add another interesting feature to this memorable and highly enjoyable trip.
If you are doing this trip by kayak it's better at high tide, probably best if you don't capsize anywhere, wear a life jacket or suitable buoyancy aid as currents are strong in mid-river- pick a calm day with light winds, and watch out for other river traffic... and thick mud if getting out anywhere. Even inside the kayak it is fairly easy to get stuck in the shallows around Newshot inlet yet with deep mud all around there's no chance of leaving the craft without danger of sinking in. Another tip to bear in mind if it happens to you and the tide is running out. Better not strand yourself paddling in too shallow surroundings... that would never happen to me :o)
Other than that it's good clean dirty fun.
Wednesday, 10 August 2016
A 5:00am rise saw me having breakfast in the dawn light before driving across the city to pick up David then both of us switching into Graeme's car for the two and a half hour run down from Glasgow to The Cheviot. This is East Kilbride in the early hours, above.
After passing through Town Yetholm we took the minor dead end road to Cocklawfoot Farm where there is a grass lay-by for half a dozens cars at most, just before the farm buildings and ford across the stream.
We could see the sea and a large chunk of Northumbria from the summit with its sizable square stone plinth, trig pillar placed on top. Although the Pennine Way detours to take in this high point many long distance trekkers miss it out altogether as it's a long 29 mile section already on weary feet.
As it was such a dawdle crossing the gap on the ascent I was a bit too cavalier and lighthearted coming down and ran across the thin boards using balance alone without the support of the pole...
and promptly slipped off into the bog.
Normally in Scotland you would only go in knee deep but I immediately sank in waist deep in under a heartbeat but luckily the grass edge was near and I grabbed that to pull myself out. It was all over in a matter of minutes and apart from muddy trousers I was fine. What I was worried about was water damage to my wallet interior and car card reader but they were fine too. No harm done except to my pride.
An 18 hour day in total- 6 hours walking 5 hours driving. (Being further away I got in at 11:00pm) Thanks to Graeme and David for being great company as usual- many thanks to Graeme for the hill suggestion and driving... and thanks to Cheviot itself for showing me what a sheep dip really feels like. An unforgettable experience and a genuine first for me :o)