Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Kelvin Walkway

Yet another cloudy, overcast and damp Sunday saw us stuck close to Glasgow again. Well not just close this time but right slap in the West end. Since the weather was a bit on the damp side, we decided to go and visit the newly restored Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, which was a place I'd visited often as a child but haven't been in for years.

Looking through the Queen Margaret BridgeLooking through the Queen Margaret Bridge

That was the plan anyway but things didn't exactly turn out that way. On the way over, Lorna thought it would be nicer to go and walk around the newly restored (yes another one) Kibble Palace in Glasgow Botanic Gardens, yet another haunt of my youth and a regular location for having a sandwich lunch when we worked over in the west end. Of course, we didn't get in there either as, at the last minute, near the top of Byres Road, Lorna suggested the Kelvin Walkway as yet another venue for the afternoon's walk.

Heading over into Queen Margaret Drive, we parked just beyond the bridge and took the path beside it down to the walkway by the side of the river. Not knowing how far North the path went, we opted to go South.

Belmont BridgeThe walkway is a fairly popular place for a stroll, going by the number of people on it and it's also a well used cycle path. We followed the river downstream, spotting some Mallards and a Moorhen on the way, until we reached the Belmont Bridge, beside which stands the fairly impressive bulk of the Kelvin Stevenson Memorial Church as it towers over the river.

Crossing over the river by a small footbridge here allows you to continue on the walkway as it goes under the Belmont Bridge and heads down river towards Great Western Road and the much larger KelvinBridge. Again the path goes under the bridge and on the other side you'll notice the blocked railway tunnel that used to serve a now defunct arm of the Glasgow Central Railway. I used to play in there as a child and we would often walk along in the pitch dark, feeling our way along the walls, until we reached the old derelict station under the Botanic Gardens. It was a good place to catch frogs, what more can I say!

Following the river downstream again is pretty much the only option so wandering on, we noticed some Gorse in flower by the riverside. That seems awfully early but we saw the same thing a few weeks ago over at Roslin Glen so maybe global warming is real after all. We eventually emerged from the walkway at the Gibson Street Bridge and crossed over into Kelvingrove Park. It had brightened up a bit by then and we decided to keep on going until we reached the Art Gallery.

A grey squirrelA Grey Squirrel

The walk through the park alongside the river is fairly open and pleasant, if somewhat busier. Wildlife is fairly plentiful here and the place is pretty well populated with grey squirrels, who think nothing of coming right up to your feet looking for some food. Needless to say, they're pretty well fed squirrels. There were plenty of them scurrying around in the bushes beside the path and we even spotted a rat, feasting on some nuts in there as well. On the river there was a group of Goosanders, more Moorhens and Lorna caught a flash of blue streaking up river and the only thing that seemed to fit the bill was a Kingfisher. They're not usually found round here so that's maybe yet another side effect of the warmer climate.

We left the park at Kelvin Way and crossed over to the Art Gallery but, as luck would have it, the fire alarm had gone off and they had just turfed everyone out into the car park. We milled about and walked along the river path round the gallery and by the time we got back round, they'd reopened so we spent an hour or so wandering around inside. It didn't seem to have changed all that much to me - they'd cleaned up the sandstone and moved stuff around a bit but that big stuffed elephant looked exactly like the one they had when I was a boy, bullet hole in the centre of its head and all.

By the time we got kicked out at closing time it was getting dark outside so we headed back up to the car by way of Byres Road. Definitely worth revisiting the walkway again though! Having read up a bit on it, we now know that it actually goes all the way out to Milngavie to connect up to the West Highland Way so maybe another time we'll head North and see what the walkway holds in that direction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you know the distance of the Kelvin Walkway from its start (Tall Ship) up to the end of the Botanic Gardens (Arboteum)? Me and a few friends are running this distance every week-end without knowing the mileage. Thank you