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.

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61 thoughts on “Glasgow canal walks

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

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

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  2. 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. 🙂

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    • 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

  3. 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. 🙂

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  4. 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!

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    • 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

  5. 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!

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  6. 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!

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  7. 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 😉

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