Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Cunningar Loop

For years, I’ve always meant to take a wander down to Cunningar Loop, from the Dalmarnock approach. But it never happened, and despite being nearby on a number of occasions, I never got around to studying the roads and maps to find out how to get there.

I had spotted lie of the land from the opposite bank of the River Clyde while on the Clyde Walkway at Belvidere, but had noticed that at least part of the approach was restricted on the opposite bank, as it appeared to be someone’s garden area in front of their house – and I’m not out to lay down the law as regards access, especially if there is better/easier access elsewhere. And there is, with easy access from a small road along from Dalmarnock Bridge. This was a little irritating, as I have walked past this many times, but never looked closely at what appears to be little more than a dead-end road, leading to a caravan site), yet it also leads to the loop.

Unfortunately, my timing wasn’t as good as my navigation, and at the time, when I got to the end of the road found that access to the area of Cunningar Loop was closed off – but at least not in a bad way. Plans to develop the neglected area had actually arrived, and the area was closed off as the land was occupied by contractors  clearing rubbish, and installing paths and recreation areas for visitors.

This marks the end of a number of plans I had read about in the past, promising all sorts of developments on the land, but which all sounded more like fantasies than any sort of practical reality. More recently, and in keeping with other developments promised for 2014, it seems that plans to reclaim the land for recreation have started, and are set for their first phase to be completed during that same years.

While I’d like to have visited sooner, and been able to get a feel for what the area was like before any work was carried out, I do know it was overgrown and messy, something which could be seen from the opposite bank, from the area of Belvidere. To be more accurate, nothing could really be seen, such was the volume of undergrowth and unmanaged wood covering the ground.

The land really did need to be reclaimed, since the loop was used for years as a dumping ground and a waterworks, both of which could have left contamination behind, and been hazardous for visitors. At one point,around the turn of the 20th century (I think) an aerial ropeway was used to transport rubbish across the river onto the loop, when it was used as a landfill site. I’ve also note a small ferry indicated on old maps of the area, together with the ropeway.

When it served the waterworks, almost the whole area of the loop was taken up with a reservoir and settlement ponds.

These maps give some idea of how the area was used:

View: The county of Lanark from actual survey. – Counties of Scotland, 1580-1928 – National Library of Scotland

Ordnance Survey 1:500 Town Plan of Glasgow mosaic, 1892-94

View: OS 25 inch to the mile Lanark, Sheet 006.16 – Ordnance Survey 25 inch 1st edition, Scotland, 1855-1882 – National Library of Scotland

I have also seen (but don’t know where it was) an old aerial photograph of the area, which shows the ropeway and support pillars that carried it from works on Springfield Road, and across the river to the loop, where it dumped waste from the works. As far as can see, this would have come from the Dalmarnock paper mill.

More recently, some time around 2006 or so, a few years after animal activists (maybe) or others managed to force Glasgow Zoo to close (which conveniently released its land for development, and that land is now covered with new houses), there were plans to parachute some sort of fantasy animal park named ‘Amazonia’ onto the loop, but that vaporised after a while, never to be heard of again. Although I did note some links to the project at the time, these have also evaporated over time.

More recently still, and available online, Forestry Commission Scotland produced:

Cunningar Loop Case Study

Notably, work on land in this area recently uncovered pipework attributed to one James Watt – a name possibly familiar to those who are interested in steam engine development:

Excavation Identifies Watt Pipeline

Pictured below is the approach to the loop as seen in early 2014.

Fencing and a controlled access for contractors block access while works are in progress, but from the (missing) pdf it seems that these should be cleared away by the summer, and once the contractors, their plant and machinery have vacated the area we will be able to have a closer look.

It will be interesting to see, since I was not a visitor to the area before these changes, but have been told by others that it was largely deserted, and that when they went down there, they seldom met anyone else.

Although the name Robertson can be seen on the site boards, after checking their web site and current project lists, I could not find any reference to this work.

Cunningar Loop works

Cunningar Loop works

Cunningar Loop works

Cunningar Loop works


March 4, 2014 - Posted by | Civilian | , , ,

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