I’ve since as noted on the last blog post ,I did a reverse of the walkway run with the Roddy fella.
The legs had been resting after a month in which I reached over 700 pedalling miles, I’d realised that I was just over 8 short as I uploaded my latest ‘oot’ on the 31st and pondered ‘will I or won’t I’ to go out and nab the ‘extra’ miles, I bit the bullet after teatime and had a run of just over what I needed. 700 bagged and a new high monthly total, I now think I’ll take it easy.
The following day, I did absolutely nothing, never moved.
I set off with the intention of joining NCN 75 and following the well-signposted route through Elderslie, Paisley, Pollok Country Park then over the M8 and into Govan.
I joined Govan Rd. just before Kingston Bridge and made my way to the excellent two-way cycle lane which brought me out at the Squiggly Bridge, poshly known as the Tradeston Bridge.
I wandered westwards through walkers, workers on their break, runners, tourists towards the SECC area where just past, I’d walk over a bridge spanning the busy A814 which takes you into the lower half of Kelvinside.
I made my way towards Kelvinside Park before heading upwards via the Walkway to the Forth & Clyde Canal at the Locks, having reached the canal, and after further reading about the area after posting my previous post. I found it amazing to read that the first ‘Puffer’ was built at the nearby Kelvin Dock, the ‘Puffer’ was a traditional Clyde boat, a potted history HERE. The most famous ‘puffer’ was, of course, the Vital Spark the command of a certain Peter MacFarlane (Para Handy).
It was off eastwards and once again, I missed the turn off which would take me along the Falkirk branch of the canal, there is a trend here but I never planned the route, honest! Winging it is much more fun although later I would find that a preread would have improved my understanding of the area I could be passing through but hey, it’s an excuse to return and explore.
I soon was travelling along an excellent pathway, this was the Glasgow branch, just NE of the city centre passing Firhill Stadium and the basin where I once fished on an odd occasion, a few anglers were ‘waggling’ today. I soon arrived at the impressive Speirs Wharf (named after Alexander Speirs, one of the Glasgow Tobacco lords) and it’s converted buildings, I was now in Port Dundas the end of the Glasgow branch of the canal, time to head back I. An area steeped in industrial history.
I stopped at the canal junction, a sign pointing to Falkirk when I came across the obvious junction with its navigation sign, sod it I’m off to Kirkintilloch and I could have a late lunch to boot. Down onto a short stretch of road and, I was soon pedalling on a narrow canal path eastwards, I passed a very occasional walker and canal boat, mostly pleasure cruises. I skirted Bishopbriggs, Cadder and just before the Stables I came across the weed cutting boat hard at work,see previous post for an image of. A never-ending job in summer months. With the ecology on the canal, a much safer and cheaper option than chemical means. The Southbank Marina bridge (the ‘pointy bridge’) just before Kirkintilloch was an attention grabber as I cycled past.
I arrived at Kirkintilloch where I proceeded to find my lunch. The path from Glasgow had been quiet, the odd drop of rain in the air may have been the reason. I cycled back along a short stretch and found a bench where I fueled up with a healthy baguette washed down by Scotland’s other national drink, the sugar was needed, you see. I’d watched two canal pleasure boats pass and thought an idea for another day.
I’d passed through an area with a strong Roman history with the Antonine Wall crossing the canal at one point. Another excuse for heading back. The canal engineer John Smeaton had followed the route of the wall in places.
The skies were now becoming awfy dull and I hoped that I would avoid the worst of any rain. It was a reverse back to north Glasgow and a run along a now familiar north bank towards the Erskine Bridge. I passed the fish and chip boat at Clydebank and quickly made my way west before temptation set in, calorie counting is taking its toll, I shall try the wares someday.
On the last stretch heading into Old Kilpatrick, the rain lightly fell and climbing up Lusset Glen, I sensed a wet journey home but after I crossed the Erskine Bridge, I took my normal run of over by Bishopton, the Barochan Road to Houston and the short run to Bridge of Weir. The heavens opened at the viaduct in BoW and the last six miles was done in the pouring rain.
I arrived home with 75 miles clocked, a new furthest distance for me. My limit going by the aches and pains but funnily not the legs, age showing its face I think, we’ll see.
I read this HERE and having no experience of the areas mentioned, I have to say the state of the cycle tracks I used on this trip were nothing short of excellent, very little broken glass encountered but I accept you must and will meet this on your travels, the litter problem is well looked after by certain councils and Sustrans volunteers whom I met a group of on the stretch west of Canal St, Paisley. If you meet any workers/volunteers, please always say a ‘thank you!’.
Another day, another adventure, where next?
Further reading, I recently read and enjoyed Last of the Puffermen by Keith McGinn, the story of a life spent working the ‘coastal tred’ and of course, the Para Handy books.
Sustrans Scotland HERE
Cycling Scotland HERE
Scottish Canals HERE
To embiggen any image, just click on it.