Bilsland Drive wouldn’t normally be on my radar. It’s in a part of the city I don’t know well, running between Possilpark and Maryhill and adjoining Ruchill Park. I first heard about it during an interview between Craig Ferguson and Billy Connolly on Ferguson’s old American chat show where he talked of several New Years in a row when he somehow ended up on Bilsland Drive. I watched it again recently and I thought I might as well see what’s there. I was in the area at Ruchill Park with its magnificent view across the city and beyond so decided to detour for another Streets of Glasgow walk, starting in quite a residential bit, rusting football goals on a back green. Houses lined the route for a bit with interesting scenes of local industry depicted on some of the railings. A stone sculpture stood in a square, some blocks and some pointed. It was called ‘Surf City’ but I’m not entirely clear why. The tower of the old Ruchill Hospital dominates the local landscape – I had seen it from the Forth and Clyde Canal previously – though big gates and fences blocked access and much of a direct view. Gardens called ‘Roots of Ruchill’ were scattered near the community centre and a Catholic church stood set back from the road with a prominent statue outside. It was cooler and more shaded walking on the side of the road closest to the park and there were a few people going about, at the playpark and waiting for buses. One tenement noted that it was the 500th development of the Maryhill Housing Association. The road curved down and got much more shaded as it neared a railway bridge and its end at the junction of Maryhill Road and Queen Margaret Drive, red tenements once more at either side. Glasgow is a place of considerable variety, with people from all sorts of backgrounds, some with plenty, others not so much. I had come a long way in a few minutes, from passing a Community Food Cupboard to beer gardens and busy cafes. This is why after all these years I still find Glasgow hard to figure out. It is a big, confusing, beautiful mess. Bilsland Drive encapsulates that completely.
Thanks for reading. This is the ninety fifth Streets of Glasgow walk here on Walking Talking. Queen Margaret Drive has featured here previously and it is nearby. The Streets of Glasgow page features all of the posts in the series so far.