I hadn’t seen the river for months. I decided, as the afternoon wore on, that I would remedy that. My walk to the water took me through Elder Park, past Isabella Elder’s statue, and then to Govan Cross, by Mary Barbour leading her people against injustice. I crossed the road and the Riverside Museum came into view. As I walked closer, the river was there, the Clyde, the body of water which defines this city and which I hadn’t seen since March. The Riverside Museum was still closed, as was the Tall Ship, though people wandered by it. The ferry sat idle on the Partick side. I walked on, looking at the 1980s-vintage sculptures on slabs as I went. A tree commemorated the Govan Press, printed nearby, and that could have been a contender for this series maybe. Govan Road and over the railings was the dry dock and a view of the city skyline, at least the West End, the University, Park Circus, Yorkhill. Trains ran over the river too, going to such farflung destinations as Yoker and Dumbarton. My eventual destination was soon visible too: Pacific Quay, where there was a bridge to the other side. The nearest crossing to my house is the Clyde Tunnel but that wasn’t happening. Overground for me.
Pacific Quay is increasingly modern, with the Glasgow Science Centre, BBC Scotland and STV there. I looked politely at the Beeb then decided I would stop at the other side of the river, since I had to walk back and I was beginning to flag. The Millennium Bridge is not fancy, it’s metal and rises in the middle. It’s not as nice as, say, the Millennium Bridges in Gateshead or London, both of which I’ve crossed this year, but it does the job. I could see the reflection of the Armadillo and the Finnieston Crane in the glass frontage of the BBC and then the Clyde Arc and beyond to the constant traffic of the Kingston Bridge. I felt like a citydweller for the first time in ages, like I was surrounded by people. The path was fairly busy with folk walking, cycling or running. I plonked myself on the wall and drank juice and looked for a while, sending some texts and getting myself ready to walk back.
The Clyde starts in the hills of Lanarkshire and reaches the sea in Ayrshire, going from a stream to a river to a firth in that time. It has an immense history as much as the communities which line its banks. As a seaside person by origin, I miss the sea and I still haven’t seen it in months but being by the river, the mighty Clyde, no less, I couldn’t help but feel at home and uplifted.
Thanks for reading. This is the fourth instalment of 5 In 5, a series on Walking Talking about five places within five miles of my home. At the start of this series, a restriction on travel for leisure was in place in Scotland. The last instalment will be here next week.