Glasgow to Milngavie – 9.6 miles (770.3 total)
Today’s walk was an excellent example of why canals are an important resource for hikers. My walk into Glasgow on Friday, once I reached the outer areas of the city, was simply following one main road after another all the way to the centre. The walk out of the city was a complete contrast. Our route quickly found us joining a spur of the Forth & Clyde Canal until we met the canal proper, eventually walking along the meanders of the River Kelvin on our way to Milngavie. For the most part we followed the Kelvin Way.
I had 2 companions for today’s leg of my trek. Pete met me at Buchanan Street Bus Station suitably refreshed and raring to go after his earlier exertions walking with me in the North of England. The blisters that were bothering him when we parted in Lancaster have now healed and he has decided to wear an old, trusted pair of walking boots as he accompanies me to Fort William. With him was Don B, our close friend from our student days. Don had twisted his knee recently meaning it was painful for him to walk. His determination to join me for at least a part of my journey, despite his discomfort, is symptomatic of the support I have experienced since embarking on my project. I cannot put into words how appreciative I feel towards everyone who has put themselves out on my behalf. I have to mention a good friend, Bill M, from home who planned to also walk with us today. He had a recurrence of a knee problem which caused him to call off at the last minute. I still hope to see him at some point.
My plotted route had been to follow the Kelvin Way which – amazingly – tracks the River Kelvin. Pete, with his local knowledge, led us, as I have already said, on an alternative path following the Forth & Clyde Canal before joining the River Kelvin for the second half of the walk.
Our canal walk took us through North Kelvin and Ruchill. We passed Firhill Football Stadium, the home of Partick Thistle, who were sadly relegated the day before. As in every canal town and city that I have visited the banks of the canal have been redeveloped, with expensive-looking apartment blocks in evidence from the city centre out to the suburbs. We dropped down on to Maryhill Road just before the railway station at Maryhill. The road was unrecognisable from my student days.
Totally unplanned, we paid a visit to The Ram’s Head, our local pub when we first met as students in the nearby hall of residence. We spent a nostalgic hour reminiscing about our memories from first becoming friends 50 years ago.
Don’s knee was causing him problems so he left us there and Pete and I continued our journey, now joining the Kelvin Walkway. The River Kelvin became the Allander Water as we progressed upstream. Our surroundings quickly changed from urban to rural as we passed farms and golf courses before eventually meeting the railway line and main road which led to Milngavie Station and the start of the West Highland Way.
The end of a personally memorable day’s walk saw me taking the train and bus home for the last time before hitting the road again. Today was Kerching No.12, the Forth & Clyde Canal.