Glasgow Gallivanting: October 2020

Cellardyke, Fife

October was another month of increasing restrictions as the number of virus cases continued to rise again. Because we had a short break coming up we had a moment of panic when those of us living in Scotland’s Central Belt were advised not to travel out of our local areas, but relief set in when it was clarified that pre-booked breaks could go ahead. We therefore had a lovely week of coastal walking with a cosy apartment in Cellardyke, Fife, to return to in the evening. More to follow soon.

Other than that, our walks have continued to be fairly local. One of our favourites is the Forth and Clyde Canal where big changes are taking place on the sections near us. One part opened in October: the new bridge and boardwalk at Claypits. In August it looked like this:

In October, we were able to cross the bridge and walk along the previously inaccessible side of the canal. This boardwalk took us towards Firhill, home of Partick Thistle Football Club. Matches are being played without spectators these days, but an intrepid few had gathered on the towpath where they could get a reasonable view. The unkind might say that it wasn’t a bad crowd for the team often known as Partick Thistle Nil, but I wouldn’t be so cruel …

Another section of canal is about to be closed off to us. At Stockingfield Junction, a spur breaks off the main canal and continues to Glasgow city centre. At present, the only way to cross between routes is to take this horrible tunnel under the canal. It’s narrow, so not good for a mix of vehicles and pedestrians, and often floods.

We’ve been watching construction here since August: unfortunately, the towpath is now closing for a considerable time, but the end result will be a fabulous new bridge and park!

Another favourite is the River Kelvin. I took my car for repairs to a garage near Cluny Park in Bearsden, and walked back home along the river.

The v-shaped weir is quite close to home. On this walk, I could see the pipes the water was coming through – compare to the photographs below which were taken in September when the river was much fuller. I don’t remember it being that wet!

Once again, we did a few short walks from the start of the West Highland Way in Milngavie: round the reservoirs and Kilmardinny Loch and up to the doocot (dovecot).

It’s been a good month for spotting new street art, or at least, decoration, some of it pandemic related. At the start of term, many students were quarantined in their halls – “Save us! Send beer” was the message from the residence nearest us. The other sign is from the Ubiquitous Chip – many other bars and restaurants had similar pleas to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon after she imposed stricter regulations on hospitality venues.

Round the corner from the Chip in Ashton Lane, this splendid orangutan has appeared. It’s one of two in the city (the other is at Park Lane Market off Pollokshaws Road in Shawlands) by London-based artist Louis Masai. They are part of a project to highlight the plight of orangutans in the wild, which also includes murals in Birmingham and Manchester. Here, a baby orangutan clutches a pencil alongside “Stop eating palm oil” written in Gaelic.

About 15 years ago we visited an orangutan reserve at Sepilok in Borneo which rescued animals whose homes had been devastated by deforestation for palm plantations. Since then, I have always had an “adopted” orangutan baby, most of whom have been successfully returned to the wild. Of course, that “wild” continues to decrease as palm plantations encroach on the rainforest, so I have also learned to read the labels carefully before I buy anything which might contain palm oil, and to put it back unless I also see the word “sustainable”.

On a walk through Woodlands we spotted these flags with hopeful messages and a colourful sunset scene.

October has been Black History Month. As part of this, four Royal Mail post-boxes – in London, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast – have been painted to honour black Britons. Footballer Walter Tull, who became the first black player to sign for Glasgow Rangers (before he was killed in 1918), appears on the Glasgow post-box in Byres Road. He was the first black Army officer to command troops in a regular unit, and featured in a set of stamps released in 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of World War One.

And, of course, October ends with Halloween, which was very different for most children this year with none of the usual guising round houses. Instead, many houses, gardens, and windows were decorated. Some areas had official window trails to follow, but it was such a wet weekend that I’m not sure how many people would have braved the elements to do so. We certainly didn’t, but here are a few decorations that I happened to pass and which caught my eye.

And that’s a wrap for October! More restrictions, poorer weather, darker evenings – and more of the same to look forward to in November. At least nature can still put on a show.

Happy November!


  1. Anabel, I’m always impressed with how much interesting street art you have nearby. Here we have very little. And as for pandemic restrictions, save us — send beer!



  2. Very interesting account of your October gallivanting Anabel! So glad you got your trip in before the latest restrictions. I have checked products for palm oil for some time now – it’s terrible what is going on with the rain forests in Borneo and other places 😦 The orangutan murals are lovely. Hope you can still get out and about to some extent in November!


  3. You’re lucky to have still managed to squeeze in a few short breaks this year! I’ve not been anywhere other than a few day trips. That poor sweet orangutan! I do try to avoid palm oil, but I don’t understand why it’s in so many bloody things still!

    I’m glad you included the Halloween decorations! I especially like the goofy monster silhouettes. We normally decorate outside but didn’t want to put much out this year in case it attracted trick or treaters, but the people across the road put out a giant homemade Tripod from The War of the Worlds, whilst playing Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds album and running a smoke machine. I did go out to have a look from the front garden, but didn’t get too close. We briefly debated just leaving a bucket of sweets outside for kids, but then we decided we’d rather eat the sweets ourselves whilst watching Halloween movies, so that’s what we did!


    • We managed two self catering breaks – definitely the way to go! Current travel rules make any more breaks unlikely before the end of the year. Palm oil is often a surprising ingredient where you don’t expect it. Fortunately, as a long term vegetarian, I’m an expert in reading labels. Your neighbour sounds inventive! There are very few children in our street so we haven’t had any Halloween visitors for years anyway, so this year was no different.

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  4. A value for money post, Anabel. 🙂 🙂 The canals are always a great place to walk and the orangutan art is beautiful. I’ve taken note to check for palm oil in unexpected places, thank you. People have been inventive with Halloween decorations this year, haven’t they? I’m not one for ghoulies and ghosties but I love the pumpkins.
    You are still including loads of photos- old style galleries? I’ve had to play around with mine a bit to make them look the way I want.


    • Thanks Jo! The Halloween window displays were lovely – I’m less keen on the racket outside tonight with the fireworks. Suspect the no household gatherings rule is being abused somewhat …

      Yes, still using old style galleries and the classic editor. Much prefer it and clinging on by my fingernails till they prise me off!

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  5. Glorious Halloween decorations, Anabel!

    I wish more people were aware of the devastating environmental impacts of consuming palm oil. Maybe the Gaelic message could be added in English as well? We avoid buying products with palm oil. Many a day when shopping, I return products to the shelf when spotting that ingredient. Oftentimes, palm oil is present in breads and snacks. Beware! I’m happy to see you’re still out and about frequently; October didn’t appear to be a dull month at all!


  6. It is getting very depressing, isn’t it? But I’m so glad you were able to go on your pre-booked trip. I take comfort in the fact that we are getting much better at treating this and that scientists all over the world are working on a vaccine.


  7. Weirdly the text overlapped your photos, I’m using my mobile. Using Art for to spread the word about conservation is always a good thing. Take care, Anabel