Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday Adventure: Campsie Glen

Entry for 14 November 2009:

This week's Saturday Adventure: Campsie Glen, north of Glasgow, above Clachan (=village) of Campsie. Valley-canyon cut into the Campsie Fells by the Glazert Water, in full spate after recent rains. Waterfalls cascading down the glen, some from side streams running off the bracken rust-coloured moorlands on either side of the glen.

Every time I go out for a run here, I run up Cleveden Road to the top of the hill, before descending steeply to the canal. From the top of the hill, for just a few minutes, I’m usually able to see the Campsie Fells before me, about 10 miles to the north. Sometimes (but not too often) they stand out bright in the morning sun. Sometimes they are completely obscured by cloud. Usually, like this morning, they are somewhat indistinct, shaded by clouds or mist.

On a clear day, the westernmost hill of the Campsie Fells stands out from the rest stretching away to the east. I have heard locals refer to the Campsies as the “sleeping soldier”, although this phrase is more commonly used to describe the island of Arran. The westernmost hill is the head of the soldier, and it’s the part I generally see most clearly as I reach the top of Cleveden Hill and start down the other side.

As is often the case on Saturdays, we got off to a late start and reached Clachan of Campsie only about 2 in the afternoon. It was very quiet. We hiked up the glen, along the Glazert Water, not very far, because the path is blocked by warning signs borne by quite large carved wooden hands. We turned around, came back, poked around a couple of the small shops and the old graveyard, with its tumbled-down chapel and grass- and moss-covered grave stones. We stopped at the little café/gallery there and had tea, hot chocolate and a plate of cheeses, oatcakes and a small salad. Then, with darkness already starting coming on at a bit before 4pm, we drove over to Lennoxtown, where we turned up the Crow Road driving a mile or two until we reached a vista point overlooking the Campsie Glen and its surrounding countryside. This is another nearby place that is definitely worth further exploration, not far at all from Glasgow, but wild-feeling, dramatic and beautiful.

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