I have an unusual work pattern that means that I work two evenings a week. That generally suits me as in an ideal world I am a late bedder and a late riser. Yesterday was a very sunny day, unseasonably warm, and when I woke up, about 8, the sun was streaming in the window. I felt like going out for a walk and decided to head for Crookston Castle, not so far away from here. It is my local Historic Scotland property and a place I visited only for the first time last spring. I checked Google Maps and it is 34 minutes or 1.7 miles from here. As it was, including a quick detour into the shop to buy a bottle of juice, it was half an hour, down Tweedsmuir Road, across Paisley Road and then the Levern Water until eventually I hit the castle. As I walked up, a dad and his little kid were walking down. I heard the kid asking their dad where ‘the man’ (meaning me) was going, to which the dad replied that I ‘was going to see Rapunzel’s castle’. I liked that so much, that they clearly had a tale spinning about the place. I don’t often have melting moments but that was one of them.
I have been to many of Scotland’s castles and generally prefer ruins. They are more interesting and open to interpretation and imagination. The decoration and all that of National Trust properties generally leaves me a bit cold though I have probably been to a decent percentage of those too. Crookston Castle is notable for being a ruin but also the National Trust for Scotland’s very first property, presented in 1931. It is now looked after by Historic Scotland and it is free to get in. That alone makes it good for me but the castle and its views make it even better. It is possible to see right across Glasgow to Ben Lomond, Paisley, the Gleniffer Braes and Eaglesham. I stood there in the sunshine just looking across for ages, taking photos and letting my eyes pass up and down familiar streets and picking out other places. I had the place entirely to myself, which was a joy.
I was going to work later so decided to do another thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while, travel on the Paisley Canal line. Where I stay is on the line to Gourock and Wemyss Bay, which passes through Paisley Gilmour Street. I don’t have much need to go on the Canal line, which stops only a few times in 18 minutes on its way to the southern side of Paisley. But yesterday was the day when it was actually the best way to get to Paisley. So I did. Despite living in a very urban area, for a few moments there were genuine green spaces, fields and golf courses at either side as the train passed Ralston. The journey from Crookston to Paisley Canal lasted 6 minutes and I spent most of it munching on a pie. Sod’s law struck again though when the very moment I bit into the pie, the conductor came up and asked to see my ticket.
I would usually take the bus up to work but I still had some time so ended up walking. I paid particular attention to a derelict building on Maxwellton Street (pictured below) that had interested me for weeks, a fine looking building, possibly Victorian. As it turns out, it was an old school, built in 1897 and which burned down in 1997. It was called the Half-Time School and was used initially to educate the half-time workers at Ferguslie Mills, girls between the ages of 10 and 13 who would spend half their time at school and the rest in the mills. It seems to have had many uses over time though sits derelict, which is sad.
It doesn’t take a lot to see the familiar differently. Even just walking instead of taking the bus has its advantages. It was a beautiful day yesterday and it was nice to just be in the sunshine and walk about without a jacket. Today I needed it but these things happen. My next local ramble will be to go to Rosshall Gardens, which I passed on my way to the train station and another place I have passed many times in the last few years but never been to. That might be Thursday. Being able to walk out of my house and not too long after end up somewhere interesting is great and thankfully I am not running out of places yet. Hopefully as the spring goes on I will be able to get out a lot more and see my surroundings afresh with every step I take.