Glasgow Gallivanting: July 2020

Strathkelvin Railway Path and Billy the Train

In early July, John took a week off work. This coincided with the time when restrictions on how far you could travel for leisure in Scotland eased slightly, and we ventured into the countryside for the first time since lockdown. Not too far, just over the city boundary to East Dunbartonshire where we discovered a network of trails on and around the old Strathkelvin railway path, several of which we followed. I’ve written a post about that week which will follow shortly, but since then we’ve covered another couple of the trails. The first started in Milton of Campsie where we came across this cute display in the old station.

The second took us to Lennox Castle. I always thought this had originated as a Victorian “lunatic asylum” but, although the house was built between 1837 and 1841, it didn’t become a hospital until 1936 as a “mental deficiency institution” – such terrible terms to modern ears. The castle itself became the nurses’ home, and patients’ accommodation was built in the grounds: this was demolished after the last parts of the hospital finally closed in 2002, but the castle itself remains as a sad ruin and a reminder of all the suffering souls who lived there.

I did another Twitter walk for the Women’s Library this month, this time in Garnethill, and my fellow volunteer Melody has made a trailer for the same walk. Both are below for anyone interested. On the trailer, my voice is the one that starts by telling you the walk is available to download. It has been great fun doing these, and we hope to do more.

Garnethill Women’s Heritage Walk Trailer from Glasgow Women’s Library on Vimeo.

As lockdown eases, the growth of my collection of photographs of rainbows and teddy bears is diminishing. Indeed, many of the old displays have been taken down. We’ve seen more painted stones this month though, mostly in the small towns in East Dunbartonshire that we visited. People have been very artistic in lockdown!

So it’s been a month of easing restrictions with two major events: I’ve had a haircut and a birthday! Unfortunately not in that order. My birthday was the day after restaurants were allowed to re-open, so we had dinner out for the first time in four months. It felt strange and rather lacking in atmosphere, but it’s progress. What will next month bring?

69 Comments »

  1. Happy belated birthday, Anabel! I’m glad the government agreed to open the restaurants for your special day. 🙂 I love those painted stones. It seems to be a trend in the US as well. I agree that Covid has been an aid to creativity for many. Or, at least it seems that way. Your first shot looks very similar to the rail trails here in Newburyport, where we often walk our dog. We could pretend to be in Scotland!

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  2. A belated Happy Birthday Anabel. Looks like a nice month , especially with some restrictions being lifted. I have my eye on that rainbow coloured bench. 😁

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  3. Funny how the striped bench caught everyone’s eye. The colors made me think of plastic game pieces from childhood.
    Belated birthday wishes to you! 🎂
    Glad you had an opportunity to dine out. Even minus the atmosphere, it can be a refreshing change from cooking or carry out!

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  4. Not been up that track for years. Lennox Castle can be a creepy place. Last time I was there someone was howling uncontrollably for a long time in the modern building as I wandered round the old castle part. Really gave me the willies as it didn’t stop and I was by myself on a bike run. Might have been a care worker though getting handed a new contract. Like the two bears hanging out.

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    • That must have been about 20 years ago then, if the “new” buildings were still there. They are all gone and replaced by Celtic’s training ground now. Ha ha – hanging out, I hadn’t thought of that! They are, both literally and figuratively.

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  5. Lennox Castle became a maternity unit in the early 1940s and remained open as such until 1964 . Many of the “Baby Boomers”of Glasgow and central Scotland were born there. Not sure but I think there was a fire that destroyed great areas of the place.

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  6. A belated Happy Birthday to you! Lennox castle is a beauty, with an intriguing history. If walls could talk …

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  7. It looks like you had a lovely day for your walk. Very creative regarding the stones. During lockdown it was a common sight around here, stones or balloons. Great use of the old railway tracks. NZ has turned there’s into cycleways. If I start on the deficiencies of our education system regarding those with learning disabilities it will be a long rant! It’s a lovely warm sunny day for winter so off out to enjoy it soon.

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  8. Having seen that stripey bench and table I wish now I hadn’t donated my old bench to charity, but it has given me an idea for the new one I’ve got. But I hesitate to put brush to paint as I hear my late husband’s voice in my ear “You’re never going to ruin a perfect piece of wood like that by painting it!” I wonder if I’ll have the nerve?

    Lennox Castle looks intriguing and obviously has an interesting history. Isn’t it strange how language has changed over the years in awareness of others sensibilities? The old ‘mental asylum’ here has just been converted into flats – with a name change as well – but they are only selling to a young generation have no memories of it. Hope you are enjoying a bit more freedom. Mine is being curtailed (my own decision) as we have the summer influx of visitors few of whom seem to think that keeping distance between us or the wearing of masks necessary.

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    • I think you should give it a go! The stripes are lovely.

      Even when I was young (well, I don’t know about even, I’m talking 1960s and 70s) mentally deficient and educationally subnormal we’re still the terms in use, and just accepted. I shudder to think of the poor kids being labelled that way.

      One of the reasons we’ve enjoyed walking in East Dunbartonshire is that it’s the sort of place mostly locals walk. No hordes of tourists. I wouldn’t go near Loch Lomond, for example, at the moment.

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