This was a slightly odd find after I took a different path through one of my local parks.
It’s very like a one man (person?) shelter made from available materials, and only needs a tarp or similar cover over it to make it waterproof. You’d have to bring your own as there’s absolutely nothing natural in our parks to make any sort of sheet out of.
I’ve come across various hides built in forests and by riversides in the past, but there’s no way this could be a hide. It’s possibly not too obvious from the pics, but this in bushes only a few feet from public paths so no wildlife here – apart from the odd squirrel, or rat, or mouse.
Well, being in the east end of Glasgow, maybe it’s just a temporary ‘drinking den’ for some poor henpecked souls from the nearby houses.
While I say that in jest, sort of, there is another smaller park nearby, and the council eventually destroyed it by dumping a load of tree-cutting and logs to block access. I’d explored it before this was done, and it was strewn with empty cans and bottles, and various items of drug paraphernalia.
This thing looks largely like fallen branches in the flat 2D pics, but when seen for real, the thinner twigs and branches were clearly woven into the thicker supporting branches.
I tried to find the (or an) official Glasgow City Council web site or listing for the east end’s Early Braes Park (in case there was some sort of history or story behind it), but they don’t rate it as being big enough or worth the effort.
If you’ve missed it, or simply never heard of it, then you’ll find it occupying the land behind the shops at Barrachnie/Garrowhill.
I only found it by chance last year, while looking for a route to let me walk to the magic (cough cough) that is the Glasgow Fort shopping centre.
It used to be hidden from the main road by a small but fairly dense section of wood, but a few months ago the trees were all chopped down, and shortly after that the access was closed while new waterworks were buried in the ground which had been cleared.
Coincidentally, around the same time my neighbour asked me if I had ever heard of it, as he had just added a new dog to his family collection, and needed a decent walking route of a few miles in order to keep the beast exercised and calm. He’s been here as long as me, and had never heard of the place.
So, this is how it looks after the works were completed a few days ago, and they cleared away all the barriers. Rather than make a mess, these works have improved the visibility and access to the park from Glasgow road – and they even left a line of trees in place to hide the area they cleared behind them (on the right, in the view below:
The area behind the trees is largely bare, apart from an area which now has a number of access hatches installed in it. Although I tried to get a look down the big hole that existed while this project was underway, there was just too much rubbish and fencing around the area to get a look any sort of angle that showed anything more than the top of the hole, so I don’t really know what’s down there. But I suspect it will just be a fairly anonymous collection of pipes and control valves:
No clues as to the purpose and contents of the green cabinet, although I suspect some sort of sign has still to be added to the short pole seen to one side of the cabinet.
Life’s tough if you are unfortunate enough to be grass in Sandyhills Park.
I’ve mentioned the mess the council’s vehicles make as they straddle the paths and their wheels dig into the soft verges, or they drive onto the grass to get around the metal poles locked into place to stop stolen cars etc from speeding along them.
Then there are lorries driving over the soggy ground (which we have a lot of after a mild winter) to clear up the damaged trees and branches left behind by the high winds.
This year we have the additional benefit of Scottish Water taking over areas of the park in order to carry out drainage upgrades, which are needed and fall into the “Can’t make and omelette without breaking eggs” category. Messy, but necessary and unavoidable.
But some does seem to be avoidable…
To (if I’d known I would need it later, I would originally have taken a wider shot):
I have no idea why they found it necessary to make this mess.
A few years ago, they carried out some extensive drainage works about 100 metres west of this area (and they are digging up that same area today), but when they carried out that original phase they took the time to lay a wide temporary road over the grassy area. It may not have looked pretty, and still damaged the grass, but it avoided the creation of ruts and churning of the ground to make mud. After a while, the grass seemed to recover all on its own.
Probably not going to happen here, so we (who pays water rates?) will have to couch up for landscaping and restoration on top of the drainage works.
A cynic could be forgiven for thinking nobody cares about saving costs, providing someone else is picking up the bill.
There are plenty of variations on the story, but the tale of the drowning bird that gets rescued by a cat… thinks things are looking up… then gets eaten as the cat’s lunch, is always worth bearing in mind when preparing to complain or moan about something.
Case in point is the pic below, which I collected while looking around some of this year’s storm damage in a nearby park, and was an example of vehicle damage to the grass, probably damaged trees were being accessed. I picked this as a change from usual damage I photograph, caused to verges as the lorries drive along the footpaths, which they are wider than so their wheels and tyres churn up the edges.
What I didn’t realise was that Scottish Water was just about to arrive, and carry out some much needed work to the area’s drainage. There have been some attempt to address this in recent years, but the lie of the land has managed to defeat these, so it looks as if three working areas have been targeted this year, with some major works (compared to past years) being undertaken.
So, while I initially pointed to a couple of tyre tracks in soft ground, this has been replaced by the complete removal of the area to make way for the site works shown below – this pix is taken from the top of the hill as seen above, as it wasn’t possible to stand in the same place due to the work in progress, but you can see that the entire area has been consumed.
I’ve no idea how long these works will take, but the ground will be restored on completion – the earlier works were quickly hidden – so once that are done and the area has settled I’ll get the last pic in the set to show the restoration. It’s surprising how quickly the ground has recovered in the past.
When the National Park Authority (NPA) first announced and then appeared, I was wary.
As a result of contacts made in places such as Canada and Australia, where they have their version of national parks in place for a lot longer than Scotland, and where people live in the vast wilderness that we can only dream of, comments volunteered when I mentioned the arrival of such parks in Scotland were met with concern, particularly by ex-pats.
After listening to the words of people better qualified than me to comment, such as the late Tom Weir – who spent his life in such areas – I came to the conclusion that I would not see any demonstrable benefits from their arrival, and said so some years ago: The National Park – benefit or bureaucracy?
I don’t particularly like the word quango, but it looks very much as if that is all an NPA is, and for want of a better description, a few Jobsworth types have been given power without accountability, and as time get harder they are seeking ways and means to protect themselves, to justify their non-essential existence, and raise funds to pay their wages and hang on to their jobs.
I go by the evidence of what I see, and I see little that leads to conservation and the preservation of the environment in places such as the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. I see the arrival of rules and regulations, and I see these accompanied by charges, fees, bylaws, and fines that were never needed before – and would not be needed now if existing laws were properly enforced.
The NPA is now going to be charging for each of the 16 car parks it owns or manages, but has said it intends to concentrate first on the east shore of the loch.
In a remarkably perverse justification, the NPA justifies the charges on the basis of success, and apparently overwhelming visitor numbers that lead to gridlock, and that is worst on the ancient and single track roads found on the east.
In a similarly perverse application of logic, the NPA will be helping this gridlock by introducing the charges, which it fears may cause some motorists to react to by parking on roadside verges, so intends to close off “informal” parking areas.
I used to like having a family drive to Loch Lomond, and this tradition dates back not only to my parents, but also my grandparents, who were car owners in the 1920s, and started our regular trips to Luss.
Then, and I am unsure of the date, some ten years or so ago, Luss was ‘improved’ when the main road bypassed it, and the car park got bigger and charges were introduced – the main rural car park at Luss, owned by Argyll & Bute Council, charges motorists, and manages to raise around £80,000 a year. Well, I haven’t contributed to that, and won’t. Apart from being allowed to stop my car, I get nothing in return, other than handing yet more money to the council for nothing other than putting money in a ticket machine.
It’s rather like a little area laughingly described as a ‘Car Park’ just off the A9. I discovered this a few years ago when looking for a well-hidden local historic feature. It took me a few visits to find the little building concerned, and on one of the later visits I was amazed to see that the patch of ground where cars could stop had an ‘honesty’ car park box. I honestly couldn’t see any reason for putting a £1 in the box every time I stopped there. It wasn’t clear if the box was official in some way, or where the money went, and apart from someone making money, there was no reason for it. If I pay for parking, I expect to see someone doing something, even if it’s only a bit of security – and that doesn’t happen on a bit of roadside, where all that will happen is someone appearing to empty the collection box, and then going home with a smile on their face.
It’s also rather like Glasgow’s famous Burrell Collection. I haven’t been there for a few years, but notably, this collection is free – as are most of Scotland’s national museums. However, the Burrell lies within Pollock Park, and there is a Pay and Display car park, so you effectively pay the council to visit. This would be fair enough, and not worthy of comment, but for the fact that the Pay and Display car park is effectively unattended (unless the money collector is visiting of course), and regrettably, Pollock is not the nicest part of Glasgow. I guess the car park is seen as a soft-touch, as tourists visit with hire cars full of stuff they leave on view, and on each visit I have made to the Burrell (and I usually spend most of a morning or afternoon when I go) I have seen the police attend at a car in the Pay and Display which has had a window smashed, and items stolen. Owner’s fault, but you have to ask what they were getting for the money they put in the Pay and Display machine, with no attendant, and no security.
Returning to the Loch Lomond NPA, it has been suggested that it will follow prices set by the Lake District NPA, which runs car parks in places like Windermere, Ullswater, and Hawkshead, and during the peak summer season, visitors are charged a minimum of £1.50 for an hour’s parking up to £6.50 for up to 12 hours, while weekly passes are sold for £25.
By introducing charging for car parks, the NPA believes it can further crack down on misbehaviour while at the same time better managing its five million annual visitors.
Well, if they do the same as me, and stop only where and when no-one is looking, or simply drive on through without stopping – the NPA will be able to claim success. After all, if there’s no-one there, then there won’t be any misbehaviour, and their numbers will definitely become more manageable.
It’s a pity so many people just accept this sort of thing as if they sleepwalking.
I wonder what would happen if there was a co-ordinated campaign, and the reputed five million visitors who are to be controlled simply all ignored the new parking charges – could the NPA fine five million vistors, and take them to court for non-payment?
I’d like to see it try.
I had been looking at some past stories the other day, and wondered if the story of Glasgow City Council apparently doing its own thing in order to parachute a Go-Ape treetop adventure playground into Pollok Park had gone away, regardless of strong objections and a large campaign against the facility by those living nearby, and concerned for abuse of the park, with respect to the terms laid out by the family which gifted it to the city (not the councillors).
It seems not, and the plan is now history.
The Go-Ape facility was given the go-ahead by councillors in March of last year, despite the active campaign against it, after the made a visit to the site and held a special meeting. It would have seen platforms and zip slides installed into the trees near the Burrell Collection, but the company behind the scheme is now reported to have pulled out.
Go-Ape is reported to have said that the the venture is too expensive to pursue further.
One significant point worthy of note was the the Scottish Government’s decision not to call in the plan or issue any restrictions after it was referred to Scottish ministers because the council had a financial interest in it. Despite the objections of the protesters, it simply handed the complete decision to the local council.
Robert Booth, Glasgow City Council’s executive director of land services, said: “Obviously we regret Go Ape’s decision not to proceed with their facility at Pollok Park. Our main objective was to secure an additional attraction for park users at no cost or financial risk to the council.”
Save Pollok Park said it was “delighted” with the decision of Go Ape to abandon its plans. A spokesman added: “However, the council’s failure to consult and respond to the real legal and operational issues resulted in over two years of unnecessary work and a waste of taxpayers’ money which could have been avoided. We call for a detailed inquiry into the council’s futile posturing and mishandling of the Go Ape affair.”
Although the plan may have been sunk, there may yet be an aftermath.
Image from Save Pollok Park web site.
The Scottish Government has declined to become involved in the matter of plans to create a controversial tree top adventure course in Pollok Park, home of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, and a spokesman has stated that: “The council has been authorised deal with the application in the manner it thinks fit.”
Operator Go-Ape want to install platforms and zip slides in the trees near the collection, and the scheme was referred to Scottish ministers because the council has a financial interest in the venture – and had passed the application for the installation, despite strong local opposition to the proposal.
Campaigners against the scheme say they will now look towards mounting a legal challenge, on the basis that Glasgow City Council has no right to grant a lease (for 21 years) in Pollok Park, which was gifted to the city.
The countryside park with superb walled gardens and woodland walks was once part of the Old Pollok estate, and the ancestral home of the Maxwell Family for seven centuries. In 1966, the parkland and house was gifted to the City of Glasgow by the family, together with the remainder of the estate, used for farming and recreation purposes such as golf
Image from Save Pollok Park web site, where you can find further information about the campaign to save the park.
In the same week I found myself biting my lip and refraining from commenting about Glasgow City Council’s claim that local taxation would be “a disaster for Scotland’s economy” (I can’t afford to fight council backed lawyers), I was reminded of it’s approach to the “Wishes of the people” when the farcical story of the proposed Go Ape adventure area in Pollok park popped up in news once again.
Earlier stories recounted the council had carried out a consultation, which sounds good, but hardly anyone knew about it, and the results throw some doubt as to its validity, but what do I know – I never took part, and never knew about it.
The matter has been referred to ministers at Holyrood because Glasgow City Council has a financial interest in the scheme.
Opponents against the development believe a recent archaeological find in the park backs their claim that the council was wrong to back the scheme. A team from Glasgow University and Glasgow Archaeological Society have found what may be the oldest surviving road in the city, dating back to 500 or even 700 BC, comprising a a paved path between 50 and 100 metres in length, discovered beneath woodland and vegetation within Pollok Park.
Campaigners are due to hand a 5,000 signature petition in to Holyrood next week, against the development, and say that any support should have been conditional on the site being properly investigated before backing was offered.
Image from Save Pollok Park web site.
We blogged earlier about the efforts of Glasgow City Council to Hijack Pollok Country Park, and it looks as if we were right. In a move which many locals will see as reinforcing opinion that it does what it wants regardless of what the people it’s supposed to represent want, the council has voted in favour of the development of a commercial adventure course in the park, which was gifted to the people of Glasgow by its former owners. The proposal was voted through by 14 votes to 6, and backs the lease of part of the public park to the development company concerned, Go Ape, for 21 years, and comes after a special meeting and visit to the site.
In a statement, the convenor of the planning committee George Redmond said: “It was important, given the high level of public interest in this proposal, that there was a full and fair hearing to allow the interested parties to make factual representations.”
The application will now be referred to ministers at Holyrood because Glasgow City Council has a financial interest in the scheme. According to The Herald of February 8, 2008:
- Objections to the scheme have ranged from the disturbance expected to other park users, and visitors to the Burrell Collection, to the fact that adults will be charged £25 and children £20 to take part.It has now emerged that the operators expect a turnover of £1.3m a year but the council will make only £2.2m over the 21-year period of the lease.
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said Glasgow City Council had an abysmal track record in protecting its parks and greens spaces. He said: “They have permitted attacks on green spaces large and small, and they have earned the resentment of people throughout the city.”
Environmental campaigners have said they will continue to fight against the plan.
Image from Save Pollok Park web site.
Pollok Country Park is Glasgow’s largest park and the only Country Park within Glasgow. Its extensive woodlands and gardens are described as a quiet sanctuary for both visitors and wildlife, and lie to the south west of the city, just three miles from the city centre.
The countryside park with superb walled gardens and woodland walks was once part of the Old Pollok estate, and the ancestral home of the Maxwell Family for seven centuries. In 1966, the parkland and house was gifted to the City of Glasgow by the family, together with the remainder of the estate, used for farming and recreation purposes such as golf. It contains a number of facilities such as a Police Dog Training Facility, and the Glasgow Mountain Bike Circuit.
Notable features with the grounds include Pollok House itself, and the Burrell Collection. The collection was gifted to Glasgow by Sir William Burrell and his wife, Constance, Lady Burrell, and the collection of over 9,000 works of art gave the city one of the greatest collections amassed by one person. William Burrell had been an art collector since his teens, and the collection contains a vast array of works covering all periods and from all over the world. Pollok House is an impressive 18th century mansion, filled with outstanding collections of Spanish art, antique furniture, silverware, ceramics, and an impressive library.
It would appear that the peace of the park is may be set to come to an end, as ‘High Wire Forest Adventure’ operator Go Ape has plans to create one of its aerial assault courses and walkway in a secluded area of the country park’s woodland. They would charge £20 to £25 for access to their course of rope bridges, swings and zip slides in a formerly quiet area of the park. The private developer’s plans to create their adventure playground in what is a public park is reported to have infuriated the ancestral family owners of the land, and the Maxwell family has described the plan a “totally inappropriate” and expressed doubts as to its being in accordance with the terms or spirit of their gift to the city. Guardians of Pollok House, The National Trust for Scotland, have lodged an official objection.
A ‘Community Consultation‘ was held into the Go Ape proposal, however the principles involved in allowing a private developer access to public land mean that wider views should, indeed must, be sought with more publicity. The consultation is closed (I live in Glasgow and never heard as much as a whimper about it) and you can make up your own mind about the results and how it must have been carried out…
- In total, 237 responses were received to the consultation, both by post and e-mail. The total number of positive responses was 199 (84%) and the total number of negative responses was 38 (16%).
- The age range of respondents varied widely, with the majority of respondents (who listed their age) being in the range <17-24 years old (55%). 41% were between 25 and 54, and 4% were over 54. Of those who listed their gender, 54% were female and 46% were male.
Having a look through the details provided regarding the protection of the environment provides an impressive array of measures the developers claims will be carried out to prevent damage to the trees – but one can’t help but think that these would not be needed if the trees were not being abused in the first place, an of how effective, or ineffective, they may be in practice.
I notice the proposal includes a reference to not allowing any vehicles into the development, but that the facility will use the existing car parking facility provided at the nearby Burrell Collection – I wish them luck, and note that the local council have an interest in this. While entry to Glasgow Museums is free, if you want to visit the Burrell Collection you need to go by car due to its location, unless you are local and know the buses. To get to this particular free museum you are obliged to use the nearby car park, conveniently provided with a ticket machine, and attendant if you’re lucky. Pollok, sadly, is not one of the most desirable areas of Glasgow, and on each occasion I have visited the Burrell I have have been thankful that mine was never the car involved in the ‘Smash and Grab’ that ruined some visitor’s day out on each of them. Doubtless some unfortunate tourist, or someone unfamiliar with the area, who left too many goodies on show inside their car, and was relieved of them for their carelessness. However, it does make the parting of a few £s for the privilege of leaving your car unattended while swelling the council’s coffers just than bit more indigestible – if they did something for the money (like, god forbid, look after the cars in its car park) it might not be so bad, but all you get is usual disclaimers – fortunately unenforceable in law, but only if you already know that before they fob you off with “We accept no responsibility…”.
Oops, have I given a secret away?
Seriously though, if you care, do something about this nonsense in the park. One, we don’t need imported ideas of how to have fun; Two, why should a private developer be able to move in and make a profit from a public gift; Three, the park is just fine as it is, it doesn’t need any help to make it ‘better’.
You can find more details and comment on this related thread in the Hidden Glasgow forum.
Addendum January 20, 2008:
I thought this Comment deserved to be raised into the Main Body as an Appeal. Unfortunately, I see the original contributor got the month wrong, and the meeting date was in January, not February as originally posted, so the opportunity has passed.
However, you can read about the shameful behaviour of Glasgow’s councillors in this Herald report: Tempers flare at meeting over Go Ape plan. There is also a selection of reader’s comment following the report.
If you care about the future of Pollok Park send an ojection to the Go Ape planning application. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org quoting ref 07/0308. Please send a copy to: email@example.com and let your local elected representative know your feelings too.
Please come to the public meeting on Tuesday 22 Jan at 7.30pm at Pollokshaws Burgh Hall. Tristram Mayhew of GoApe who will make an audio-visual presentation as will SavePollokPark. We believe Glasgow City Council will send representatives too but they haven’t bothered to reply to the campaign’s official invitation. This will be an opportunity for all sides to air their points of view and microphones will be provided for comments from the floor. We expect a lively debate but we ask all participants to temper their passion with politeness.
It seems from the body of the meeting that I was not alone in wondering just when this ‘consultation’ was held, and who might have taken part. According to the the report…
The council has been derided over its public consultation in October, where a majority of respondents were in favour of the Go Ape proposal, half of whom were pupils from a local secondary school.
Like it or not, Glasgow’s councillors have also earned themselves a reputation for riding roughshod over anything or anyone that doesn’t happen to agree with them (granted, this may not always be a bad thing, but then again, is hardly democratic or representative of the people they are supposed to represent), and this proposal seems, at present, to be something they want, regardless.
When asked if they would reopen the consultation in light of the meeting’s outcome, their reply was a firm refusal, and a statement that the neither the National Trust, nor the Maxwell family, had any influence. “They have no right of veto. That is our legal opinion” said Mr Booth for the council.
The meeting concluded with a show of hands, where only 7 of the 550 people in the room were in favour of the Go Ape proposal.
Addendum February 17, 2008:
The proposal has hit the news again, with campaigners holding a demonstration in Pollok Park to highlight their feeling of being ignored and not properly consulted in respect of the proposed development.
Glasgow Govan MSP and deputy leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, joined protesters at the demonstration.
She said people loved Pollok Park and they wanted to see it remain as it was.
“There’s plenty of activities in other parts of the park but the North Wood is somewhere that people come to get away from the noise and bustle of the city, to enjoy the environment, to take walks and there’s a real feeling that we don’t want to lose that“, she said.
She went on to add that people do not feel they have been consulted.
“I think the consultation was flawed and I think it would be in everyone’s interest, not least Glasgow City Council’s, to take a step back from this and allow people to have their say and for that say to be listened to“, she said.
Tristram Mayhew, chief executive of Go Ape, said he was aware of local people’s concerns.
He said: “Go Ape is also firmly committed to encouraging a new generation of visitors to experience the woods from an entirely different perspective, in a way that will inspire them, we hope, for life, and encourage them to live their lives more adventurously.”
Image from Save Pollok Park web site.