Friday, 24 April 2020

On Thursday 27th February a small group of 4 members of Biggar Ramblers managed to escape the bad weather that had caused cancellation of our recent programme, and had an enjoyable walk in crisp, but sunny conditions in the Clyde Valley. We set off from the village car park in Crossford, initially walking west along the Clyde walkway, before moving away from the river and following little used roads steeply uphill through woods and orchards. Once we came out of the valley we were rewarded with spectacular panoramic views as we approached Braidwood, where we stopped for coffee and sandwiches as the picturesque little loch. In the afternoon we came out of Braid wood and followed a pleasant footpath above the Fiddler's Gill burn gradually downstream until we joined an old road that took us past woodland and farms back to Crossword. The total walk around 7 miles and showcased the lovely countryside of the Clyde Valley.
On a wet and windy Saturday morning a small group of Biggar Ramblers took the Lanark train into Glasgow. By the time they reached Glasgow  it had dried up and the remainder of the day remained quite pleasant  to explore the murals of Glasgow.
The route took them initially past City Chambers and onto Strathclyde University buildings where they saw several murals including a seven-storey high lecture hall complete with students, an equatorial telescope and a Land-Ship, which was a mock-up navigation bridge once used to teach at the School of Navigation. This then brought them to a fairly new mural at the junction with the High Street - a stunning one depicting St Enoch cradling Glasgow's founder Kentigern, later know as St Mungo, with a robin perched on her hand in a modern depiction of the 16th century icons. A short detour up the High Street showed another favourite entitled "St Mungo", also including a couple of robins. Heading for Candleriggs and Merchant City was a huge mural called "Fellow Glasgow Residents" depicting the varied wildlife of Glasgow parks throughout the four seasons. Every time you look at it you notice another detail or a different animal.
Another detour along the Trongate brought them to the first of three murals of the Big Yin (Billy Conolly), before retracing their steps, past the Panopticon Music Hall where Stan Laurel had performed, to see the second one featuring Billy near Osborne Street. After this it was down to the River Clyde to admire the various personalities and local history on the walls of the Clutha bar which unfortunately is deteriorating with age but the mural above it celebrating Charles Rennie Mackintosh's 150th birthday was vibrant and incorporated the iconic Rennie Mackintosh rose pattern merged with his portrait. A short stroll along the Clyde Walkway brought them to one of the original murals - the "Glasgow Tiger Mural" - which unfortunately had been vandalised so it was up into Dixon Street to view the third Billy Connolly mural - opinion was divided as to which was most liked! It was then back to the city centre to see "The World's Most Economical Taxi". "Honey I Shrunk the Kids", "Wind Power", which was very cleverly depicted using a dandelion clock and wind turbines, and then another early mural - "Glasgow's Panda". The second half of the walk had less murals to see but nevertheless was felt to be worthwhile doing. It took them along Argyle Street, away from the biz of the city centre , to where they discovered that a derelict block on the corner of York Street which had previously had several murals had now been demolished.  Down onto Broomielaw we passed under the Kingston Bridge to see the huge "Swimmer" mural created part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. From there they headed to Cowcaddens Subway Station where one is decorated with insects, the other with hand shadow puppets - it was fun watching the group trying to recreate the shapes and it brought back many childhood memories and the question of whether todays children would still know how to make hand shadow puppets. After this it was back to Sauchiehall Street to see the cats playing with the wool on some wooden hoardings and back down towards Central Station where in a small lane there was a mural of a dog playing with bubbles and someone had cleverly changed the "NO parking" sign to "No Barking"! Having done this walk last year it was interesting to see how many of the murals had disappeared. Apart from this it was interesting to see how ornate many of the buildings were when you stopped to look up and everyone agreed that it had been a very different kind of Ramblers walk to what they were used to but worthwhile exploring areas of Glasgow that they would never have visited, just whizzed pst in a car or would have been too busy looking at shop windows to notice the architecture all-around them!
The local Lanark Walk on Saturday 18th January with 16 walkers began from Glasgow Road and continued up into the town to Hope Street and Waterloo Road. This road section ended with the descent of the Stey Brae, and crossed the Mouse at the bridge before continuing up into the woodland of the Cartland Crags. Up to this point there were several short stops to allow for regrouping but once into the Crags a longer stop gave everyone time to take a snack and a well-earned rest before continuing. The weather was clear, dry and with no wind in stark contrast to the week before which gave the chance to pause and take in the scenery on both sides of the River Mouse. Once the drop down to the A73 at Cartland Bridge was completed it was again a road walk back up to Glasgow Road. Here there was a continuation of the camaraderie in the leader's home with tea, coffee, scones and pancakes. All in all a successful and friendly event.