Total distance – 3.6 Kilometres
Ascent – 40 metres
Walking conditions – Well-defined footpaths, tracks and tarmac roads. Buggy compatible. No difficulties.
Time required – 1 to 2 hours
Nearest town – Glasgow
Pollok Country Park is the home to the Burrell Collection. So you might think that as the Burrell Collection is closed to the public until 2020, that there’s no point visiting Pollok Country Park. Well think again! It’s a great park with numerous paths and tracks, a great play-park, not to mention Pollok House. It’s particularly good if you have very small children with the buggy being the preferred mode of transport. All marked walking routes are buggy compatible and there are three of them. These walks are defined as the yellow route (0.7 miles), the blue route (1.4 miles) and the red route (1.9 miles). As there are a series of tarmac paths and dirt footpaths it’s really entirely up to you to wander about where you like.
On our particular recent day out we parked in the car park to the rear of Pollok House. We then walked along the tarmac road in a north-westerly direction then pretty much went the way of the red path. We stopped and had our sandwiches in the play-park across from the building that hosts the Burrell Collection. I demonstrated how to use a trampoline to best effect, then we made our way back to the car-park at Pollok House.
Total distance – 2.5 kilometres
Ascent – 50 metres
Walking conditions – Tarmac/dirt footpaths. No difficulties. Buggy compatible.
Time required – Around 1 to 2 hours
Nearest Town – Glasgow (South Side)
House prices in East Renfrewshire are notoriously high. Apparently, it’s all down to school catchment areas, but I wonder if Rouken Glen Park has something to do with it. Either way, Rouken Glen Park is still well worth a visit. There’s a brand new pirate themed play area in the middle of the park, so what further incentive do you need? What about an ice cream shop next to a boating pond? Oh, it’s got that as well.
Park in the large car park in front of the garden centre. The path to the left takes you to the wide open section of the park. You’ll immediately see the ‘pirate’ play area. By continuing along the path for a few hundred metres you’ll pass the skatepark on your left and then you’ll reach a small incline that leads to the boating pond. Walk around the pond clockwise, buy an ice cream then take a left. This will lead you to a spectacular waterfall down the White Cart. Cross the waterfall via a bridge, and then immediately take a right onto a delightful footpath which follows the stream and crosses a series of little bridges. This will lead you back to the wide open section of the park. Make your way back to the car park.
Total distance – 3.2 kilometres
Ascent – 60 metres
Walking conditions – Nearly all tarmac paths. No difficulties. Buggy compatible.
Time required – Around 1 to 2 hours
If you thought that the abundance of squirrels was the only reason to visit Queen’s Park you couldn’t be more wrong. Apart from being in the ‘trendy’ part of Glasgow’s South Side, Queen’s Park has a number of attractions including a glasshouse featuring the Zen Garden, ponds, tropical fish, exotic birds and an excellent reptile house. There’s even a small soft play area for the under 5s. And it’s all free! There is also much to keep you occupied on your way around the park.
Make your start/ finish point the Queen’s Park Glasshouse. From the Glasshouse exit right. After a few metres take another right leading onto a dirt footpath that takes you along the rear of the Glasshouse. After about 400 metres you will come out at the Queen’s Park Flagpole which is the highest and best viewpoint in Glasgow City. When you make your way down form there you’re pretty much just circum-navigating the park. Try to ensure that you visit the play-parks, nature pond and rose gardens. And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for squirrels!
Great Scottish Run/ Toddler Dash at George Square
Total distance – 5.2 kilometres
Ascent – 30 metres
Walking conditions – Entirely roads, pavements and good paths. No difficulties.
Time required – Approximately 2 hour’s walking time plus however long you wish spend at the numerous attractions
Glaswegians like a long lie at the weekend; apart from those who haven’t been to bed yet. This provides the fantastic opportunity of going for a morning walk around some of the Scotland’s busiest and most interesting streets whilst it’s still quiet.
Park at Templeton Street on Glasgow Green. Walk along this road and you will quickly reach the Doulton Fountain, which is the world’s largest Terracotta fountain and lies next to the People’s Palace. The People’s Palace is also a great tourist attraction. Apart from the museum (free entry) which charts the history of Glasgow there is a magnificent large glasshouse at the back which is home to a delightful café and features a variety of trees and shrubbery and leads out into beautiful gardens. From there, walk to the other side of Glasgow Green and cross the road at the High Court. Follow the path next to the Clyde for a few hundred metres then turn right just past the St. Enoch’s Centre. This will take you directly to the pedestrianized zone of Buchanan Street which my wife reliably informs me is one of Europe’s great retail centres. Walk as far as the Buchanan Galleries then walk down to George Square. There is always something going here including any manner of street performers and organised displays.
By now you will probably experience the dilemma of choosing somewhere to go for lunch. If you walk from George Square down Queen Street you will find a number of well-reputed places to eat at Royal Exchange Square. Then make your way back to Glasgow Green via Argyll Street.
There are some really good play-parks in Glasgow Green particularly the one on Templeton Street which should be close to where you’ve parked.
Commonwealth Games at Cathkin Braes
Total distance – 4.2 kilometres
Ascent – 60 metres
Walking conditions – Easy walking on good footpaths. Fairly flat. No difficulties.
Time required – Around 1.5 to 2.5 hours
Nearest town – Glasgow/ East Kilbride
Cathkin Braes is undoubtedly the best location to view Glasgow from the south. It is now home to one of the UK’s best mountain biking trails and was the setting for the Commonwealth Games mountain bike competition. It is also proof that walkers and mountain-bikers can co-exist without conflict. The vast network of tracks and paths within Cathkin Braes ensures that even on a busy day we tend not to get in each other’s way. What’s ideal about Cathkin Braes for us is that it is within easy walking distance from our house and if the children are misbehaving we can speed-march them up the hill or the bad fox will catch them.
The start of this walk is from the large car park on Cathkin Road which is a few hundred metres up the hill from Carmunnock (Glasgow’s only village). Head west across the fairly flat, open ground. After about 800 metres this leads to a viewpoint at the edge of the tree line over-looking Carmunnock and you can see as far as Arran. Then change to a north easterly direction until you enter the forest. Take one of the many tracks going east. It’s probably best to stay near to the tree line that you entered from. After about a kilometre you should come into open ground. You’ll see a building with a huge mast. Beside it is a trig point (we love trig points). This is a fantastic place to stop for a picnic as you can see the whole of Glasgow, the Campsies, Ben Lomond and beyond. From there walk over to the stone circle feature which is clearly visible form the trig point. To get back to the car follow any of the paths through the trees which run parallel to Cathkin Road.
A visit to Carmunnock is to be recommended. We’ve had great days out there at the Carmunnock Highland Games and we’ve often stopped at Mitchell’s for dinner and to look at the fish tank.
Total distance – 4 kilometres
Ascent – 30 metres
Walking conditions – Entirely roads and pavements
Time required – Approximately 1.5 hour’s walking time plus however long you wish spend at the numerous attractions
The west end of Glasgow was my happy hunting ground in my years as a student at Glasgow University. It is also a fantastic urban adventure for the children as there’s loads to do. We’ve carried out a number of incursions into the West End and on our most recent mission we identified three key objectives.
The Botanic Gardens is your first port of call so find a parking space close by. If you are in a metered zone make sure you buy a parking ticket. The parking attendants do not mess about here. The gardens are open all year round (free entry) and there are 19.6 hectares to wander around in. These gardens extend to the river Kelvin walkway. The Glasshouse (Kibble Palace) and Tearooms are also worth a visit and are open during the day.
From the Botanic Gardens head along Byres Road. Take a left at Dumbarton Road. By all means stop for lunch at one of the cafes along the route. After about 300 metres you will see the magnificent Kelvingrove Art Gallery on the left hand side. When you enter, despite what may appear to be the case the Kelvingrove Art Gallery is in fact not a crèche with loads of things to climb onto, but a museum which is free to visit and show-cases numerous invaluable works of art. Make sure you scare the children by visiting the dinosaurs.
The final objective is Kelvingrove Park which is right beside the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. It’s a great park with extensive grounds and for the children there is a skatepark and a playpark beside each other. I could now reminisce about the original skatepark which had been filled in during the 1980s and has made up some of my fondest childhood memories, but that would be self-indulgent. Anyway, when you’re done, walk along Kelvin Way and take a left at Universtiy Avenue which leads you back to Byres Road.