An A to Z of Glasgow

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June 26th 2019
Published: January 21st 2020
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I had been thinking of an A to Z of Glasgow for some time and was keen to have a go before the holidays. Also, I thought it would be nice to have a bit company. It had been ages since I’d seen Audrey Macintosh We had met in Stornoway and then did the Cape Wrath Running Week during the mid noughties. Since then, I had continued to race locally and coached for a few years whilst Audrey had completed some mind blowing events by attempting a Global Odyssey to run 100 Km and a marathon on each continent whilst fund raising for Alzheimer’s Research. In contrast I had ran up and down a hill I can see from the windows of the house. We met at the Armadillo on Sunday – Audrey had agreed to meet me for her last long run before the Great Glen in a couple of weeks’ time. As an added bonus putting up with me for a day must be an ideal test of resiliency before the ultra run being planned in the Gobi Desert in August.

We had done our best to make the route interesting, however strove to keep it at a reasonable

length. . Despite Glasgow being a “greener place” this was almost totally road and we kicked off by a first trip of the morning along the Clyde Walkway to tick of The Barras.As it was still early for a Sunday the area was quiet and after a quick photo we ran up the High Street to reach the Cathedral.

Respects were paid to some dead covenantor martyrs before I took on the role of great sacrifice by visiting the Drygate brewery without going inside. This is presently one of my favourite places at present with an outstanding range of beers and decent food. It is now a venue of choice before gigs at the Barras. The early start was deliberate to avoid the risk of being stuck in the brewery all day and we turned westward to the Enoch Centre to notch up E on the way back along the Clyde Walkway to where we started the run. Possibly the biggest contrast of the day was between the runners skirting the city centre in alphabetical order and the early morning Sunday shoppers. I wouldn’t choose to spend a day of appalling weather shopping so the doing so on

the nicest day of the year seemed a total waste.

The Finnieston Crane was in a cluster of landmarks arranged alphabetically close together. The crane is a relic to Glasgow’s shipbuilding past in an area regenerated for entertainment. We crossed the river to see The Glasgow Tower adjacent to the science centre before looping back to the Hydro. Despite the early hour the kids were queuing already to see Katie Perry that evening. I suspect they were enjoying the heat and sunshine more than us as already I was thinking of scheduling a wee break.

The sun was becoming very warm at this stage and we headed into the city centre to King Tuts on St Vincent St. Another much-loved venue in Glasgow where many enjoyable nights have been spent. Personal memories are of a fantastic Wendys gig just as their first album came out in 1990 which was a few years before Oasis were spotted playing Tuts by Allan McGhee.
Fortunately India Quay – now an Indian restaurant named after a part of quayside dating back to the colonial days was close by before we headed back east along the Clyde walkway to Jamaica


We had held off stopping for a tea break as the next letter took us halfway along Woodlands Road to the Lobey Dosser statue. A fitting tribute to Bud Neill a great cartoonist when newspapers were in their pomp in the seventies. It seemed appropriate to have a wee tea break in the sun although it was sad to see that The Halt Bar had closed down – another haunt that had excellent live music. Over the street from a statue from a cartoon cowboy was a great place to pause and reflect that we had shot through to L in record time.

With the first half of the Glasgow A to Z featuring many of Glasgow’s excellent entertainment spots, next on the list brought some culture and peace and quiet to the journey. We were off to The Mitchel Library – another short leg to one of Glasgow’s most iconic buildings. Our memories were very different as Audrey mentioned the womens library of significant female authors and my visits seemed to be based on researching historic sporting events from the newspaper archive.

The tranquillity of the

library was quickly forgotten as we took a half mile hop over the M8 onto Sauchiehall St to visit NicenSleazeys before retracing our steps up Woodlands Road to get to the Old Schoolhouse. This is now a pub – and a good one at that- but was one of the first public schools in the city.

It was also handily placed for getting to Park Place which is almost straight up hill from the bar. Previously I have watched cycling in this area and Chris Upson of Cambuslang/ Westies took a photo of Cavendish. Millar & Kennaugh with me in the background at the 2013 British Road race Championships . The next year saw the Commie Games road race take place on a very wet day and there was a lot of sheltering in The Old School House as we waited for Pete Kennaugh to be swept up by Geraint Thomas who prevailed at the finish on Glasgow Green.

The park was busy as we ran over to QMU as the Glasgow Mela was taking place. As ever , a very colourful event and if I had known I would have chosen it for the letter

M. The chat on the way to QMU sprung up the names of some non running mutual friends which was a surprise and kept us going as we headed south to the Riverside Musuem . Fatigue was starting to set in again and it was prudent to rehydrate and shove down a bit cake to keep us going through the remaining letters. We found the take away café close to a Hillman Imp and other seventies British built classics. We had a sit down for a wee while looking at the Tall Ship reflecting on the glass front ( or back) of the building.

The fuel stop was well timed as the next couple of legs were a bit longer taking in firstly the Squinty Bridge – back close to the Armadillo again – and then an uphill section to the Tenament House . Due to a bit of poor navigation on my part we took in an extra S as we passed the Synagogue towards the top of Garnethill. Possibly the only thing worse than adding distance on at this stage was adding height as well. Neither of us had been in the Tenement House so a

possible visit to this traditional house may be an idea for another day. Gartenhill remained rocked by the recent fire at The Glasgow School of Art and with areas remaining cordoned off, the devastation was clear to see. A dreadful loss of an iconic building and a wider impact on the residents and buinsess who lived cheek by jowl with the Art School

. We were nearly there! U was a rather generic reference to the University however I was delighted that Audrey suggested we visited the building that was used for Theatre Studies when she was a Drama Student. Even more delighted that this was only about 400 metres from Voltaire & Rousseau’s second hand book shop which wasn’t open on a Sunday . The new build houses had destroyed the original look of the lane however I may come back for another look at a shop named after great enlightenment.

A combination of the heat , fatigue and the repetitiveness of toing and froing between the University and Charing Cross stimulated a rethink of the finish to the run. Audrey’s local knowledge was a total bonus adding the traditional Wellington Church to the route.

Using cross for X , we prudently went to the foot of Byres Road to Partick Cross rather than heading eastward to Charing Cross. The temptation to have a break in The Three Judges was great but the motivation to finish was very strong so we took the short run east to the site of Yorkhill Hospital. Now closed , the deserted buildings gave a strange sense of bewildering eeriness and even in beautiful sunshine , there was a dark edge to the place.

The finish was beckoning! And it as reasonably closeby . We dropped to a walk heading north up Byres Road due to the crowds out enjoying the West End festival and to avoid dropping the ice creams bought at the famous University Café. After running past the Botanics , we found that Queen Margaret Drive had been closed to traffic for a street party . To compensate for our final destination being closed – a Chinese take away called Zensation- a band struck up and started their set . Many locals were enjoying their day lazying in the sunshine contrasting with the distance we had ran – over 23 miles and our

very circuitous route to get there.

I think the day had worked ! Travelling the A to Z had taken us to many famous land marks and had been a fun way to see the city. The journey itself being more important than the conclusion! Audrey had called the day “a revelation” . Hopefully meaning an interesting version of city running going to places that would be missed while planning a more conventional training route rather than a dystopian biblical apocalypse – time will tell when I plan another one !

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