On Saturday 29th June, eight Biggar Ramblers, led by Lynn Weir, set off to explore the twenty-two bridges (which carry vehicles, pedestrians or trains) across the River Clyde from the Millennium Bridge (completed in 2002) at the Science Centre to the Dalmarnock Bridge (completed in 1891) approximately five miles up river. An added bonus was the sight of two of the “Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail” statues.
The walk started off in a quite urbanised area, through the International Financial Services District of Glasgow and past the City Centre before entering the parklands of Glasgow Green where the surroundings changed and almost became a rural walk alongside the Clyde. You could easily forget you were still within the boundaries of the City of Glasgow. Despite being billed as a city walk much wildlife was encountered with a heron, cormorant and greylag goose being spotted. Wild flowers were also in abundance but it was noted that the invasive, but pretty, Himalayan Balsam and extensive areas of Giant Hogweed was also presence.
A pleasant walk was had and we managed to get back to the train station before the thunderstorm that had been grumbling away all day finally made an appearance.
The oldest bridge we encountered was 166 years old, the newest one only four years old, however many of the bridges have been rebuilt over the years with the Victoria Bridge (completed in 1854) being built on the site of the first recorded timber bridge across the Clyde in Glasgow – this was believed to have existed in 1285 as it was mentioned in Henry the Minstrel’s epic poem on Sir William Wallace.
The Glasgow’s Clyde bridges use a variety of materials, timber, stone, cast iron, wrought iron, steel reinforced concrete and stressed concrete and almost all bridge types are represented – beam, beam and slab (with solid girders, lattice girders or box girders), the arch, the tied bowstring arch, the suspension bridge, the cable stayed bridge and the balanced cantilever. Some famous names have also been involved in the construction of some of the bridges predecessors, namely Thomas Telford, James Watt and Robert Stevenson (grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson)