My feet hurt: tales of an urban ramble

I was walking up Kingsland Drive for the bus when I saw it drive right past the end of the road. I had planned to go to Cathkin Park, subject of the recent post ‘If you know your history…’, and thereafter to Kelvingrove, on a sort of bus safari across Glasgow. As I saw the bus roll past, I knew it would be half an hour until the next one, it being Sunday. I looked at the Scotrail app to check when the next train to Glasgow Central was from Cardonald, just down the way. Forty minutes away. Then the decision was made. I would walk instead.

I have worked at Langside for a year and a half and for much of that time, I have considered walking the 4.1 miles rather than taking the bus. I have always believed that you see the most by walking. Even by the slowest motorised transport, there are many more possibilities to look around and notice. By accident rather than design, this was to be the day.

Walking up Berryknowes Road towards Paisley Road West, I looked up towards a row of trees on high ground around Crookston Castle. I was just about to get a photograph when a car pulled up right in front of me. I walked a few yards down and was about to try again when two ladies walked out of the church and stood just where I was going to. It wasn’t meant to be.

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Right by Halfway are a row of shops. On the side of one of the buildings are old advertisements (as shown above) that always interest me when I pass by. What normally catches my eye is the instantly recognisable Coca-Cola logo though as I walked nearer, I noticed that above it there is an advert for some sort of beer. Right above that is an advert for the News of the World, the now defunct Sunday tabloid. It always strikes me as a piece of history, forgotten about in some urban regeneration scheme, always passed by when there was a lick of paint on the go. It is splendidly old-fashioned, harking back to the days when newspapers carried adverts on the front page, leaving the actual news of the day until page three. It makes me wonder whether our age is truly saturated by advertising or advertisers have become more subtle.

I turned up Mosspark Boulevard, deciding to take a diversion into Bellahouston Park, where I had never been despite passing at least twice a week. I walked up a slope to an expanse of white wall that just seemed to be there without much purpose. I looked around, gazing towards Eaglesham Moor and its wind turbines, the Gleniffer Braes near my other work and towards the nearby Sports Centre, before walking uphill again. I found a set of sculptures, what looks like an ear and a railway signal, and a small maze (shown below). It was a special, hidden place and that would have been enough to earn a return visit without what I found behind the maze.

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It looked like a cemetery, a walled space with grey blocks laid out around it. As I walked around, the blocks had illustrations on the top, some quotation around the bottom with a plaque on some of them talking about an aspect of Glasgow’s history. These included banks, housing and, obviously my clear favourite, libraries. The top of the library block featured a stack of art books with a plaque talking about the contentious process by which newspapers ended up in libraries (pictures above). There followed a list of the public libraries then in existence in the city, dating it to at least before 2002 since it included Stirling’s Library, now known as the Library at GOMA. It made me feel incredibly proud of my home city and particularly of our libraries. I was also delighted by stumbling over this place. It made me think of how our history is so often displayed in museums but not out in the world, where after all that same history was made.

After that interlude, I walked across the M77 towards Crossmyloof, where I ducked into Morrison’s to get some lunch, before munching it walking through Shawlands towards the Battlefield Monument, where I ended up standing on a traffic island trying to get a decent photograph. The Monument commemorates the Battle of Langside in 1568, which saw the defeat of Mary, Queen of Scots and her forces by the Regent Moray. It is Victorian and it shows with the very detailed carvings and stylings. The Battle is also marked by a magnificent mural in the children’s section in Langside Library, just down the road, a plaque on the wall outside the library and a memorial garden just across Battlefield Road. Plus the whole area is called Battlefield. Not that other notable things haven’t happened in the area or anything.

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Eventually, I walked into Cathkin Park, only about two hours later than I had planned, and pretty much had the place to myself as I walked around the pitch and up the terracing, thinking and imagining past games. The sun came out again while I was there, casting long shadows across the pitch. That felt right.

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Before I headed into the city, I couldn’t pass Queen’s Park by. It was well worth it for the views which were thoroughly enhanced by the sunshine. There was snow on the Campsies and the Kilpatrick Hills though only a few flakes had fallen earlier in the day in the city, as I was in Bellahouston Park, but they didn’t lie. It was much busier there, mainly with couples enjoying the cold Valentine’s Day sunshine.

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The first bus of the day took me to University Avenue, from where I walked the short distance along the Kelvin Way to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. By this time it was 4:20pm so I only had a short while to see the French art, Glasgow Boys and my favourite painting by William McTaggart of the Paps of Jura. Of note was a comment I overheard as I walked along a corridor. A girl in her early twenties was walking by with two other people, who might have been her parents. She commented disapprovingly that just that little section of wall was devoted to the Glasgow Girls where there was a whole gallery downstairs devoted to the Glasgow Boys. She was right. I had glanced at a couple of paintings on that wall and liked them but hadn’t registered who had painted them, to my discredit.

I walked along to Partick to get some messages before I got the bus back across the river. It went as far as the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, from where it is a 15-minute walk home. The outside of the bus hadn’t been cleaned recently and someone had taken it upon themselves, it being Valentine’s Day, to draw lovehearts all the way along both sides of it. Despite being completely anti-Valentine’s, I liked the creativity involved, even if it did make me feel slightly nauseous.

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Sometimes you don’t have to go far to see something new and exciting. Even going to Bellahouston Park, barely a mile from here, was enough. Doing it all by foot wasn’t planned but I’m glad I did it as it gave me a new sense of perspective on seemingly familiar places. I’ll be back in Bellahouston Park, probably approaching from the other side nearer Ibrox so I can go to the House for an Art Lover, which I have also never been to. My next nearby ramble will be to Crookston Castle, as seen earlier today, which I can even do by bus. But where’s the fun in that?

 

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