I'm heading back to Scotland with my bike to check out some more
cycle trails. For the past couple of days the weather has been
really bad with very strong winds and lots of rain. I pre-bought my
tickets over a week ago so I am fixed on the train to catch. The
advanced rail tickets was £8.60 single which is considerably cheaper
than the last time I was here and I can only assume it is a Friday
special offer. I checked last night on train progress and most were
delayed from Preston to Glasgow and one was cancelled.
Arriving at Preston Railway Station
First thing this morning I checked online and all trains were
showing as running but with warning notices. The forecast for Friday
morning was heavy rain and as I packed my bike it was torrential
outside. Fortunately as I set off just after 5:30 a.m. the rain
eased and almost stopped. I still put on full waterproofs and set
off on my dark ride to Preston. On the final approach to the railway
station the rain started again but it wasn't a problem.
Glasgow Central Railway Station
I waited at the usual platform 3 for the 6:40 a.m. to Glasgow. The
departure board showed it being on time but with 5 minutes to go
it's showed a delay of 4 minutes. As that time approached the delay
change to 8 minutes which turned out to be correct. Considering all
the recent disruption 8 minutes wasn't a problem. I got on the train
to find three of the four bike hooks were occupied. I had to strip
all my panniers off to fit my bike on the last remaining hook. I had
to get up again at Lancaster to lift my bike off and allow the bike
behind it to be taken off. On the final approach to Glasgow I took
my bike down to start fitting the panniers. The other two bikes were
road bikes with compact bags fitted in the frame and under the rear
seat. The cyclists came up to prepare their bikes and it turned out
they were going to ride back to Carlisle today. One was on a charity
ride and the other was his friend who would accompany him for the
first 2 days.
I wheeled my bike out of Glasgow Central Railway Station and then
cycled south towards the Clyde. My first objective was to ride to
Stockwell Street which was the site of the old Glasgow Metropolitan
Theatre. The original Theatre was damaged by fire but repaired. In
the 1970s was demolished for redevelopment. The theatre is
significant because it was the first where Stan Laurel began his
performing career. I continued riding along Stockwell Street then
turned right onto Trongate and stopped outside the Britannia Music
Hall which is still there.
Britannia Music Hall
Laurel (1890-1965) performed here
Stan Laurel (1890-1965) performed here
This was another venue for Stan Laurels performances and there is a
blue plaque on the wall outside. The rain returned and as I
continued east along the roads. I had to stop and put on full
waterproofs again. Fortunately I left the road to ride through a
park area of Glasgow Green Park but then I returned to the main road
which was London Road. It took me to the football ground at Celtic
Park. Across the road was the Emirates Stadium & Sir Chris Hoy
Velodrome but didn't have a sign on it from where I was standing.
I follow the roads to a foot bridge over the River Clyde which took
me into a delightful Cuningar Park Loop. I don't know the meaning of
the word loop. There was no one around as I followed the cycle
tracks and I headed south through the park and stopped briefly by
some concrete structures which were for bouldering climbing.
I left the park and follow the road for a while to re-join the cycle
track on the south side of the River Clyde. I was now on the same
route that I'd ridden on before. For a short where I was on a very
fast road which took me over the Clyde again where I join a cycle
track I've been on before.
I eventually left the river and joined the roads through Uddingston
where I came to the pedestrian underpass below the M74 motorway.
Some steep climbs took me through Birkenshaw and then along the
roads to a very muddy cycle track that was signposted off the road.
It took me through the woods and was very wet with some large
flooded sections where I had no alternative but to ride through.
Under the M74
A short steep climb took me up to the towpath of the old Monkland
Canal to Coatbridge. I continued on the final approach to the town
where the canal is damned off and afterwards is drained.
The cycle route took me to the town centre where the Canal Basin is
drained and made into a feature with interesting artwork and a large
Steel Plug feature where I parked my bike to take a photo. My next
objective is Airdrie and on previous rides I've used a cycle track
that follows the canal and railway routes. Unfortunately long
stretches had been ruined by vandals smashing bottles along them
which seem to have been deliberately done.
Because of this I continued on the road through the centre of
Coatbridge which turned out not to be a problem. I continued east
and along Alexander Street to the centre of Airdrie where I was able
to ride through the shopping precinct away from the traffic.
Eventually I reached the eastern outskirts of the town and a Tesco
store where I stopped to buy water and some doughnuts for my lunch.
The busy A89 road continued east through Planes but after a mile and
a half I was able to leave it for the cycle track that follows the
line of the old railway.
View from camp one.
My Ordnance Survey map shows the cycle track on the old
railway but as this has now been rebuilt to a working railway the
cycle track has been reconstructed to the north side of the line. I
crossed under the Railway on the approach to Caldercruix where I
reached the road and crossed over to follow continuing cycle track
buy Hillend Reservoir. I'd previously camped here and decided to
continue a short way to find a narrow past leaving the cycle track
then overlooking the reservoir from a slightly higher altitude. The
weather had improved and it was sunny though still quite windy. I
found a nice spot for the tent and even though it was still
mid-afternoon nobody passed during the remainder of the day.