Walking the Forth and Clyde canal
Ever since I started exploring the Forth and Clyde canal in Glasgow a few years ago I’ve been wanting to walk/hike the entire length but working Monday to Friday, 0900 – 1700 and trying to have a social life on weekends it seems near impossible to find the time but with my new found freedom I’ve been taking out time for some of those small projects :-)
I started the day early when a dear friend dropped me of by the newly build Helix Park and walked east to my starting point, The Kelpies. I had hoped they would be lit up in the morning darkness but sadly the whole construction site they sit on was completely covered in darkness and I quickly turned west and started walking as I had approximately 36 miles to go and the days are short in January!
The miles flew in while I followed the canal though the urban landscape and it took more than an hour before the early morning light allowed me to take any decent photos and the only people I meet as the day was dawning were either dog walkers or joggers with earphones and a sad stare in their eyes.
It was a joy to see the abundance of birds who have made the canal their home and I was surprised to see Grey Heron sleeping in the trees, balancing their long legs on a branch.
While walking I took the time to read the history of the canal on the information plaques that was alongside the old tow path and tried to think about how it would have looked when the canal was still a main highway for transporting gods between East and West coast. There is still a few buildings standing today, even though The Underwood Lockhouse have seen better days after it burned to the ground back in July 2013 but a local resident I spoke to assured me that it was just a matter of time before it would be restored to its former glory.
As I arrived at lock 20 I was meet with a nice surprise, a sign informing me that I had walked 10 miles and “only” had 16 miles to go, I knew the whole stretch should be 35-36 miles but in my naive mind I thought I had remembered it wrong and was almost halfway :-) Imagine my surprised sad face when I four miles later came across the next sign informing me that I had walked 14 miles but still had 22 miles to go! That was like a kick in the gut and Dear Canal People, please correct this.
Around 10.30 I stopped for brunch at one of the many picnic tables there is to be found along the canal but it was far too cold to sit and enjoy it for long and as soon as the last hot chocolate was gone I packed up and carried on walking.
Shortly after 13.00 I reached the halfway point and was feeling the miles in my legs, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that as the light started fading, the rain got heavier and a painful cramp in my right upper thigh made me just put my head down and get on with it, resulting in a lack of decent photos for the last five hours of the walk and just as the last light faded I reached the outskirts of Glasgow and guided by the city lights, after nearly 13 hours I finally made it to the end of the canal and you would think it was an easy evening after that walk but as I was picking up my car, I found the parking area locked with no signs informing who to call or opening times, eventually I knocked on a canal boat where the lights were on and asked for help to get out of the car park and they were kind enough to let me out :-)
As always I would appreciate your questions, comments and feedback below.