Glasgow canal walks

Forth and Clyde Canal at Maryhill Locks
Forth and Clyde Canal at Maryhill Locks
The Forth and Clyde Canal runs very close to our house and we love it for a Sunday afternoon stroll. We have three choices – east, west or the spur that runs into the city centre. I’ve already written about the spur (here) so this post will cover the east and west walks we took in November. Now, you will probably guess that the photograph above does not show Glasgow in November! That was in June, but it’s the only time I’ve ever seen boats going through any of the canal locks so I wanted to include it.

Let’s walk east first. We join the canal at Maryhill where there used to be interesting, if not infamous, buildings above its banks such as the Glasgow Magdalene Institution for the Repression of Vice and Reformation of Penitent Females. Yes, really! Shockingly, this only closed in the late 1950s after a number of inmates escaped, leading to an investigation into their (mis)treatment. Today, the site is covered in houses with a golf course on the other bank, so nothing very picturesque. The camera only comes out when we reach Lambhill Stables.

The Stables were built around 1830 when horses pulling barges were the main means of moving goods along the canal. Today they have been restored as a community facility with a café, heritage displays and a garden. The Stables are closed on Sundays, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see. First, there is the memorial to the Cadder Pit Disaster of 1913.

A stroll round the garden results in some unexpected sightings. A robot in Lambhill!

Through a gap in the hedge at the back there are good views towards Possil Loch and the Campsie Fells.

Back on the canal towpath, we walk a little further then turn into Possil Marsh and Loch nature reserve – though there is so much marsh that we don’t actually see the loch again, as the track can only go round the very edge of the site. We do see, through another hedge gap, the splendid entrance (James Sellars, 1881) to Lambhill Cemetery and the plaque to commemorate the Possil High Meteorite which fell nearby in 1804. (This photo is a cheat, taken from an earlier walk. I couldn’t make the writing on the plaque legible, even in close-up, so I thought you might as well have a long view with the bonus of John).

It gets dark very early in winter, and the sun was setting as we walked back home.

A couple of weekends later, we set off west to walk another section of canal. Once again, it’s quite built up but there are times when you can pretend you are in the country. Not when you see a Saltire-painted tarpaulin and Nessie on the opposite bank though! And a curious cat who probably has as little idea about what is going on as we do.

It’s also easy to link up a canal walk with the River Kelvin Walkway. Here’s one we did in October, taking in the Botanic Gardens and its Arboretum.

Finally, you never know what you might come across on the canal. One of my volunteer “jobs” is leading walks from Maryhill Health Centre (aimed, for example, at people giving up smoking or finishing physiotherapy) and sometimes we have pop-up artists. Below, you can see members of the delightful Joyous Choir living up to their name and a small ceilidh band. Shortly after this picture was taken we danced The Gay Gordons up and down the towpath which prompted a certain amount of curious windae-hingin’ (hanging out of windows) on the adjacent Maryhill Road. It was fun!

This post seems to have got out of hand and strayed away from the original east-west walk! I kept thinking of more to add. Expect more rag-bag posts in the New Year as I clear out photos and ideas that didn’t get used in 2016. Linking this one to Jo’s Monday Walks. Her latest is about Roker Beach and Park where I spent many happy hours as a child.


61 thoughts on “Glasgow canal walks

  1. maristravels December 26, 2016 / 13:19

    You give a whole different view of, and understanding of, both Glasgow and the Clyde. It’s many years since I was last there and at that time, I had no idea there was so much beauty just lurking down the canal.


    • Anabel Marsh December 26, 2016 / 16:50

      I still discover new things about this city even after 30 years!


  2. restlessjo December 26, 2016 / 13:54

    It’s a ‘kitchen sink’ post, Anabel! Bit of everything chucked in 🙂 In a nice way though. That’s what I love about the canals. The way they snuck into the city and then out with beguiling moments along the way. Thank you so much for entertaining me. I’ve enjoyed your company this year. It will be late January before this appears on my blog but it doesn’t make too much difference, does it? Bright and 6C here today. Heaven help the Boxing Day dippers! All the best for 2017!


    • Anabel Marsh December 26, 2016 / 16:52

      No problem, I saw your next date for Monday walks and figured as I had this ready I’d just send it. Have a great break.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy December 26, 2016 / 14:55

    I never would have known this was all built up from your pictures!

    As for the Glasgow Magdalene Institution for the Repression of Vice and Reformation of Penitent Females, I feel like I should go look that up when I get done posting the comment. I’m not sure ‘interesting’ is the right word – maybe intriguing?


    • Anabel Marsh December 26, 2016 / 16:56

      I know, there are lovely parts to the canal where it looks like the country – shot from the right angle you can omit the apartment blocks and gasometers! But even where you can see them it is a lovely thing to have running through the city. The Magdalene Institute is horrific.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sarah Ferguson and Choppy December 27, 2016 / 03:51

        I looked it up – it sounds like one of those places which started off with good intentions and descended into something never intended.


        • Anabel Marsh December 27, 2016 / 08:16

          Ye, we can’t judge past solutions by our own standards – but carrying on till late 50s / early 60s? That’s awful. In Ireland they had Magdalene Institutes even later.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Eunice December 26, 2016 / 17:24

    I love canals, and looking at your photos it’s hard to tell from most of them that this runs through the city – it could be miles out in the countryside. The Glasgow Magdalene Institution, just by it’s very name, sounds like a dreadful place – I pity any of the poor inmates who had to suffer living there 😦


    • Anabel Marsh December 26, 2016 / 17:45

      True on all counts! The Institute is awful and I find it hard to believe that such things still existed in my lifetime. We’ve come a long way – not far enough, but still a long way.


  5. December 26, 2016 / 19:11

    What an interesting and beautiful area you live in! How lucky for you to have a canal within walking distance from your home. One of the things I like most about following the many blogs that I do is to see different areas of the world, especially through the eyes and camera lenses of people who live there. I hope you had a lovely Christmas, Anabel.


    • Anabel Marsh December 26, 2016 / 19:49

      Thanks Janis, we did – hope you did too! Agree about the blogging and the worlds it opens up – as well as giving me the chance to show off my lovely home city.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. the eternal traveller December 26, 2016 / 22:19

    Such a pretty area to stroll through. We don’t have canals here so I always enjoy seeing them.


  7. Donna December 26, 2016 / 22:29

    Like Janis, I love experiencing different parts of the world through the blogs that I follow. I look forward to continuing to join you in the new year. I’m off now to check out Jo’s Monday Walks — thanks for the link!


    • Anabel Marsh December 26, 2016 / 23:34

      Thank you – I’m glad to have made the connection too, and happy to have introduced you to Jo!


  8. Susan at FindingNYC December 27, 2016 / 00:40

    So much variety on this walk! I loved it all – the delightful public art, especially the robot, the canal views, the sky at sunset, and the singers. So much fun!


    • Anabel Marsh December 27, 2016 / 08:12

      Thanks you! It’s a wonderful place to gave on the doorstep. I never tire of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Liesbet December 27, 2016 / 01:57

    Canal walks are so lovely. Lucky you to be so close to these ones! I’m sure Jo will like it a lot as well. 🙂 Have fun going through your picture archives! I’m looking forward to seeing what blog topics you come up with.


    • Anabel Marsh December 27, 2016 / 08:13

      Thanks! More public art and a distillery in the pipeline, but all on hold till after New Year.


  10. Ann Coleman December 27, 2016 / 15:12

    How nice to have a canal to walk by! Thanks for the pictures, especially of the stables.


  11. Birgit December 27, 2016 / 15:54

    Love to see the pictures and that the canal is still being used. Now off to see the rest


    • Anabel Marsh December 27, 2016 / 17:07

      Thanks – it wasn’t used for a long time up to 2000 but they made it completely navigable again, even redigging a short section that had been built over.


  12. susan@onesmallwalk December 27, 2016 / 17:38

    Such beautiful walks, Anabel. I am envious, and am constantly amazed at the walking communities in Great Britain.


  13. Blue Sky Scotland December 27, 2016 / 23:10

    Lovely photos. Always enjoy the canal on foot or by bike. You always learn something new from other bloggers. Passed the stables dozens of times yet never entered that garden. Hope you had a nice Christmas.


    • Anabel Marsh December 27, 2016 / 23:37

      Ah, definitely you should pop in and have a look! We had a lovely Christmas, thanks, hope you did too.


  14. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor December 28, 2016 / 00:12

    What a lovely walk! You’re a great ambassador for Glasgow with your blog posts on the lovely walks around the area 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh December 28, 2016 / 16:13

      Thanks Marcia, I always feel lucky to live where we I do – lots on the doorstep.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Lucid Gypsy December 28, 2016 / 20:07

    Beautiful, I do love a canal walk Anabel, no hills! What time is sunset up your way now?


  16. hilarymb December 29, 2016 / 08:16

    Hi Anabel – wonderful choices of walks you’ve got available leading you on to longer tours … a huge advantage for getting out without using the car. It’s wonderful how they’ve restored things, or reminded us of major happenings nearby .. eg the mining disaster and the High Possil Meteorite … it must be gorgeous … and entertaining with lots to do … cheers Hilary


    • Anabel Marsh December 29, 2016 / 09:48

      Thanks, Hilary, it is. I can often use the canal towpath or riverside walkway as part of my route – it’s never a shortcut, but it makes city walking much more pleasant.


  17. Bill Kasman December 29, 2016 / 21:24

    As a ‘weegie’ myself (now living in Fife) I am familiar with parts of the canal but not the sections you describe here. Must take a walk along it again sometime.


  18. BeckyB December 31, 2016 / 10:44

    What a fabulous walk to have on your doorstep, most envious.
    Wishing you a very Happy New Year


  19. jazzfeathers January 1, 2017 / 19:58

    Some lovely strolls here. And I woulnd’t hesitate a moment if I knew that I’d get a dance at the end of it 😉


  20. inesephoto January 2, 2017 / 23:07

    Beautiful post, I always learn new things on your blog. I too love visiting the places from my childhood memories – I wish everything stayed unchanged, but it is not like that of course.
    Have a wonderful New Year!


  21. Ariel Hudnall January 3, 2017 / 00:25

    I’m so envious of all the open space you have to walk around in! My entire neighborhood is residential homes for an hour walking each way, and I don’t have a car, so it’s hard to get out there. But that place is so beautiful. One question: what is that pictured in your top site header of the paintings? They’re really cool!


  22. rosemaylily2014 January 3, 2017 / 05:29

    Fascinating walks and commentary Anabel! What a horrifying prospect the “Glasgow Magdalene Institution for the Repression of Vice and Reformation of Penitent Females” 😦 To think it didn’t close until the 1950s is truly shocking. Interspersing the history with the contrast of the beautiful scenery is so interesting!


    • Anabel Marsh January 3, 2017 / 07:58

      Thanks! There’s a lot of interesting history along the canal, though you have to use your imagination because most of the buildings have gone.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Elaine - I used to be indecisive January 12, 2017 / 10:26

    Thanks for another piece of Glasgow education. Despite growing up in the area, and thinking I know it quite well, I clearly know very little! I recognise the Campsie Fells though. 🙂


  24. Brenda Davis Harsham January 15, 2017 / 12:56

    What beautiful photos your man takes. I especially like the robot. We didn’t see any of this when we visited Glasgow years and years ago. We were only there for a day, and we looked up Macintosh things. I believe we saw Glasgow University, too. A very beautiful city with iffy plumbing is how I remember it. 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh January 15, 2017 / 17:19

      Thank you! These sights are a bit of the beaten track. I’m sure our plumbing must have improved too…..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brenda Davis Harsham January 15, 2017 / 18:26

        LOL We didn’t know that people turn off their hot water heaters and the switch wasn’t labeled. Boy, was that a cold shower. Arisaig had the worst shower, though, and we never figured out what went wrong there. 🙂 Such a beautiful place, though. I’d love to visit again.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. aida tour February 14, 2017 / 06:01

    so nice picture,,thank’s for sharing your story. 🙂


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