The walk started on a bright May morning and it was absolutely roasting. As I got off the bus at Govan, I wasn’t sure how far I would get. I hoped I would get the whole way but with the heat, I wasn’t so sure. I stopped by the Mary Barbour statue, admiring it with less folk around it now it’s less of a novelty. Govan Cross was still busy with folk heading between the Shopping Centre, buses and the Subway. I turned right past the Subway and onto Govan Road, ready for the long detour to Partick avoiding the Tunnel. The very first notable spot was a flattened McDonalds Happy Meal box on the pavement. I made sure I got a photo in case I had to pad anything out here later. I hadn’t noticed on my last walk along Govan Road that outside a block of flats was a sculpture of crafted tree stumps. That’s what they looked like anyway, the plaque covered by grass shavings. The community garden up the road has planters shaped to look like an ocean liner and I’ve always rather liked it. This at least was familiar territory, the great views to Pacific Quay, the University and Park Circus a fine start to my walk as was passing the municipal grandeur of Govan Town Hall.
Soon I came to Pacific Quay and crossed the river beside the BBC and the Science Centre. The river walkway was busy with families and runners that bright Monday. I stopped on the bridge to take photos and just look up and down river. I would be crossing it again in a couple of hours between St. Enoch and Bridge Street. I was still feeling fresh, feeling fine, even if still I was doubting the wisdom of walking 10 miles around the city in the searing heat. I soon came nearer to the Riverside Museum, a stray high heel tied to the fence, the big seats in storage at the back. At the museum were stages being dismantled after a music festival over the weekend. I checked the bill and couldn’t place any of the lineup, a sure sign of advancing age.
Partick is a building site right now. The bus station is getting redeveloped and hence it is a bourach of JCBs and hard hats. Still, one station down, another 14 to go. I took a break there to buy provisions. When I came out I made sure I admired the murals on the gable ends of some of the buildings there, put up to mark the Commonwealth Games in 2014, now a reminder of those times, of civic pride. Dumbarton Road soon came and while it was also not new to me, looking up and admiring the rooftops and gaps between the buildings was. I particularly liked the angles between Partick Library and an adjoining tenement. The nearby church advertised ‘Scones on the Lawn’ in a few Saturdays time, ticketed so I wasn’t sure if it was generally an afternoon tea ootside or a performance piece. Nearer Kelvinhall I came across two pieces of scrawled graffiti, one the words ‘I want to learn Gaelic’, appropriate for the part of Glasgow with the most Gaelic speakers, and the other a drawing of a face with possibly Arabic script above.
Kelvinhall came and went. I made sure I got my photo though, despite how crowded the Dumbarton Road pavement was. Byres Road was also pretty busy though I made sure I dawdled a bit to look in windows and ponder. In one of those many quirky shops that line Byres Road I spied a beany hat in the window bearing the legend ‘Shawlands’. Coupled with the map of Pollokshields on the wall of a shop near Kelvinbridge I saw a bit later, the south side is taking over. It’s not before time. Other Byres Road highlights included bollards with ships on them and the Oxfam music shop with the stellar legend in the window ‘Let’s Get The Band Back Together’. Hillhead was station number four and it’s where this tale pauses, to resume next week.
Thanks for reading. This is the second instalment of the Subway Surface series about my walk around the route of the Glasgow Subway. Hillhead to St. George’s Cross appears next week.