One of the few things I knew about Glasgow when I was a kid was that the BBC was based in Queen Margaret Drive. It isn’t any more, they moved about ten years ago to Pacific Quay by the Clyde, but I used to wonder, in my ignorance of the city’s topography, why the Beeb would be based so far out of the city centre. I now know that the West End is a vibrant, thriving sort of place with trendy restaurants and other nice places to be so the BBC folk wouldn’t have been hard done by. North Park House is now posh flats though on the side of the building, there are parts where the stonework is slightly lighter reflecting where the BBC lettering used to be. The Kibble Palace in the Botanics and North Park House made a nice photo, taken by the roundabout before I crossed the river.
I had been thinking of this walk for a while and it only became more pressing when I walked up Queen Margaret Drive towards Firhill when Hibs played there in December. This time I stopped on the bridge looking down the river slightly shimmery in the bright January sunshine. I wanted to have a look at some of the trendy shops on the next stretch of the street, tickled variously by the Londis boasting that it stocked Irish Craft Beers, a couple of the shops declaring themselves part of the Dear Green Coffee Roasters initiative, the barbers called Kelvin Hair and the undoubted quirkiness scale winner, Opal Moon, which looked like it was absolutely rammed full of stuff. There were also the inevitable witty signs advertising some of these businesses.
Further up, I looked over to see a barren stretch of ground, fenced in by railings which had a Christian cross on them, perhaps a hint as to what once stood there, possibly a candidate for the Stalled Spaces scheme. I was also intrigued by the Belhaven Nursery School up the road, a reminder for this Dunbar exile that you can never escape where you come from. Queen Margaret Drive until Maryhill Road and Bilsland Drive gets quite urban and residential at this point, with playing fields and mounds with trees to the right, also getting steadily higher as I walked. It was also busy with cars and people going from school and work, the families eagerly chattering about their day as they headed homewards.
I like these kinds of walks because they take in different sides of Glasgow, in Queen Margaret Drive’s case from the classic, trendy West End to the redder sandstone, rougher and readier Maryhill, very varied but no less interesting as I go along, another street down as I continue to seek to understand and explore this great city I call home.
This is the twenty second post from the Streets of Glasgow series here on Walking Talking. If you’ve enjoyed reading this one, there’s plenty more, including last week’s instalment, Miller Street. Near Queen Margaret Drive is Byres Road, which I wrote about last year, as well as University Avenue and Kelvin Way, which will follow in the coming weeks.