New signage, vibrant panels and cycling trips planned for the canal as part of new project

Glasgow Canal Co-op is planning to create a new map, signs and add new vibrant panels and information markers along the stretch of the Forth and Clyde Canal in North Glasgow, as part of a new project to encourage more people to access and enjoy active travel.

The Co-op’s Getting North Glasgow Canal Active project will raise awareness about new and existing routes for travel along the waterway between Port Dundas and Firhill, enable people to access the routes through improved signage and information and support more people to walk and wheel along the canal.

A Glasgow Canal area map will give information on walking and cycling routes, access points and other local services, community centres, businesses, public toilets, sports venues and the Hamiltonhill Claypits Local Nature Reserve.

Attractive towpath

The new waymarkers and signs will help bring the culture and heritage of the canal to life and guide people around the area, including signposting key local attractions and points of interest.

Vibrant panels, hoarding and vinyl wraps will also be installed at various points between Port Dundas and Firhill to help make the towpath more attractive.

Get active together

The Co-op plan to team up with local cycling charity Free Wheel North to put on free rides, helping local people explore new routes and get active together.

Queen’s Cross Housing Association and teams at Possilpark, Springburn and Woodside Health Centres will also be involved to ensure as many people as possible can benefit from the project.

Getting North Glasgow Canal Active is funded by Smarter Choices, Smarter Places – Paths for All’s programme to increase active and sustainable travel throughout Scotland, grant-funded by Transport Scotland. Keepmoat Homes are also providing additional backing.

Rob Morrison, Co-Chair of the Glasgow Canal Co-op, said: “We’re working together to help North Glasgow’s stretch of the Forth and Clyde Canal become a valuable resource for local communities that provides a welcoming and accessible space for recreation and active travel. 

“This funding from the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme will allow us to make this stretch of the canal a more attractive option for those looking to get out and about and encourage people to use the towpath to get more active. 

“The new pedestrian bridge at the Claypits Local Nature Reserve has connected the communities of Maryhill and Hamiltonhill and opened up great options for walking and wheeling – this project allows us to capitalise on this and keep making improvements to the area.”

Norman Armstrong, Founder and Manager of Free Wheel North said: “2020 has been a defining year for health and active travel; Covid-19 has shone a light on the importance of biodiversity and climate change, and people have been exploring their local communities more than ever, mostly by walking and wheeling. 

“The Claypits Local Nature reserve is a place where people can restore their mental health and reconnect with the environment. Active travel is the key for building better after the crisis and Free Wheel North is happy to be part of a project that encourages people to get out on their bike and experience some urban wildlife.”

Graham McQueen, Senior Development Officer of the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund said: “The Open Fund is all about supporting innovative and creative ideas that encourage more people to choose sustainable transport options including walking and cycling for everyday journeys.

“This project will raise awareness of this welcoming and accessible space and the many travel options that are available to local people.

“It’s great to know that this will not only give a great alternative to using the car for short trips, but that local people will also reap the health benefits of being more active.”

The Getting North Glasgow Canal Active project will get underway in February, with new signage and way markers expected to be in place by the summer.

Get involved in Gathering Ground’s community crockery project

Gathering Ground, a social enterprise which runs food-focused events to bring the community together, is looking for people to get involved in its community crockery project.

They are looking to design and create a 90-piece hand-thrown crockery set based on people’s ideas, memories and stories of the canal district, and want local people to take part.

Take part at home

Gathering Ground are looking for people to complete an at-home project pack, which includes:

  • 2 Canal Heritage Postcard Activity: Use this postcard to share what springs to mind when you think of the canal area. A sentence, a drawing or even a few lines of poetry. We will collect these collective ideas & transfer them onto the crockery set using decals. 
  • A Paint at Home Crockery Activity: Partnering with ‘The Craft Pottery’ to include their Paint at Home Pottery kits, each participant will receive a kit with all the tools to help design a piece of crockery
Memories and stories of the canal will be added to the hand-thrown crockery

With versions for adults and children, Gathering Ground hope they will be able to capture the diversity and heritage of the community who live, work and visit the canal area in the final designs.

The final crockery set will consist of plates, bowls, saucers, mugs and sharing platter and will be made by Kevin Callaghan, an award-winning sculptor based in Glasgow Sculpture Studios.

Local community

Through storytelling and sharing, the social enterprise aims to explore how people identify with the Canal District, transferring these discoveries into everlasting pieces of hand-thrown crockery to be shared with the local community.

The crockery set will be displayed at Gathering Ground in Old Basin House at Applecross Wharf and available to borrow by local community members. 

As the pieces are continuously used, it will bring memories of the past into the present and inspire what the meaning of community and heritage is for the future.

Funding

The project is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and overseen by the Glasgow Canal Co-operative on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

The Gathering Ground were one of a selection of local groups and initiatives awarded a share of a £36,000 funding pot to helps the community explore and unlock the canal’s rich history and create exciting new activities across the area.

Cheerful Christmas festivities come to Possilpark

Possilpark Business Improvement District officially launched their Christmas campaign, #PossilparkLovesChristmas, with a host of festivities planned for the season.

Activity packs, a treasure hunt and memorial baubles are among the touching celebrations taking place as the local community and businesses come together.

Jackie Shearer of Possilpark BID said: “Possilpark has really come together this Christmas to lift the spirits in what’s been a very tough year and to bring joy to the area and celebrate the strength of community.”

A Christmas tree has been erected at the top of Saracen Street, bringing seasonal cheer to the area. It features hand-decorated memorial from St Matthew’s Centre.

The #PossilparkLovesChristmas celebrations have been made possible by help from the Canal Ward Area Partnership Fund, Glasgow City Council, NG Homes, Allied Vehicles Group and Foundation Scotland. Glasgow Canal Co-op also part-funded activity through the Heritage Project Fund.

Partners include Boom Community Arts, CHCP, Hawthorn Housing Co-operative, Link Up, NG Homes, Possilpark Community Council, Possilpark People’s Trust, Possobilities, St Matthew’s Centre, Thriving Places Ruchill Possilpark and Young People’s Future.

Canal heritage project awarded Coasts and Waters funding

Glasgow Canal Co-op has received funding from Historic Environment Scotland (HES) as part of Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters for a project to research and promote the heritage of the canal area in north Glasgow.

Historic Environment Scotland announced funding of £194,349 to 18 community-based projects to protect, promote or engage with Scotland’s coastal or waterway heritage as part of its Coast and Waters Heritage Fund.

Glasgow Canal Co-op was awarded £13,416 for a project to increase the understanding of the canal’s heritage through community engagement activities. 

The Coasts and Waters Heritage Fund is a one-off competitive fund which launched in March to celebrate Scotland’s themed year. 

Historically significant

Christine Kuhn, Chair of the Glasgow Canal Co-op, said: “Glasgow’s canal was built by ordinary people and played a key role in building and shaping our city. Today, the canal and the surrounding area continues to be shaped by people who wish to see its heritage celebrated.

“This funding from Historic Environment Scotland will allow us to connect with local communities and people across Glasgow who would benefit most from learning about, exploring and enjoying the unique environment and social history of north Glasgow’s stretch of the Forth and Clyde Canal.

“We look forward to working closely with our members from Hamiltonhill Claypits Local Nature Reserve, Navvies’ Barge, Scottish Canals and others, to explore the cultural evolution of the canal and share this special and historically significant part of the city with others.”

Empower communities

Amy Eastwood, Head of Grants at HES, said: “We are pleased to support these 18 projects as part of our Coasts and Waters Heritage Fund. 

“From Dumfries and Galloway to the Highlands and Islands, these projects cover a wide geographical spread and showcase the fantastic work that goes on within communities across the country to harness, highlight and help to place a spotlight on Scotland’s diverse coastal heritage.” 

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES, said: “The Coasts and Waters Heritage Fund was launched to empower communities to protect, promote and engage with Scotland’s coastal and waterway heritage as well as adapting to the effects of current challenges such as climate change. 

“I am confident that these projects will deliver significant benefits to local communities throughout Scotland and I look forward to seeing the progress unfold over the next few months.”

Glasgow Tool Library announces its return

The Glasgow Tool Library (GTL) has announced it will re-open on Saturday 24 October.

Open from 11am to 1pm at Civic House at 26 Civic Street, the Tool Library works the same way as a normal library, but instead of sharing and borrowing books, they share tools. 

Like many organisations, they have been shut for the past few months. They are now back with an improved service and new Tool Librarian who is dedicated to looking after and lending the tools.

Glasgow Tool Library has some new safety measures in place including a reservation only system and has extended memberships to make up for the time their doors were closed.

How do I join?

If you’re interested in taking up a membership with Glasgow Tool Library, visit their website for the latest info and how to get involved.

Collaborative economy

Established in 2017, the tool library is a community-led social enterprise and collective that promotes sharing, collaboration and learning as forms of resistance, empowerment and resilience.

By creating a communal resource and community-run library, it aims to challenge unsustainable relationships between use and ownership, promoting a more collaborative economy and society.

Their aim is to bring communities together through the act of sharing by providing people with the tools they need to improve the objects, spaces and places that matter to them.

Works at Stockingfield Junction

Scottish Canals are working on the development of the Stockingfield foot and cycle bridge, which will provide a new and important linkage between the communities of Ruchill, Gilshochill and Maryhill.

As part of these improvements, it will be necessary to temporarily close sections of the Forth & Clyde and Glasgow Branch canal towpaths and the canal itself.

To allow progress on construction the canal will be closed to navigation in this area from 1 November 2020 to 15 March 2021.

Scottish Canals will also be closing sections of the towpath between Maryhill, Lambhill and Ruchill between 16 November 2020 and July 2022

This will impact anyone walking or cycling the following routes:

  • Bowling to Falkirk
  • Bowling to Glasgow City Centre
  • Falkirk to Glasgow City Centre

Alternative routes

A 4.4km towpath diversion has been put in place for walkers and cyclists that follows the River Kelvin, avoiding the traffic-heavy alternative of Maryhill Road.

The route, which has been agreed with Sustrans and Glasgow City Council, will be clearly marked and letters are being distributed to local residents by our contractor.

An area of ground adjacent to the canal is also being provided for local dog walkers during this closure period, which will also be well signposted.

As part of the development new traffic signals will also be installed on Lochburn Road to manage traffic through the Stockingfield Aqeduct.

When complete the new bridge will provide a new access route for communities to the west end and city centre and allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross the canal at towpath level.

The increased access to the canal and the design of the bridge structure will significantly boost recreational activity and encourage greater use of the canal on what is currently a vacant site. 

Keep up to date 

Keep up to date with works at Stockingfield Bridge and other parts of the canal  on the Scottish Canals website: https://www.scottishcanals.co.uk/stockingfield-bridge/ 

Garscube Bridge opens connecting North Glasgow communities

Scottish Canals have officially opened Garscube Bridge and Panmure Gate Link in the North of Glasgow, connecting communities on either side of the historic Forth & Clyde Canal.

The completion of works on the new bridge and link carried out by McKenzie Construction marks an important milestone in the delivery of the Claypits project. The opening connects the communities of Panmure Gate and Woodside, giving residents direct access to Scotland’s sustainable transport network along the Forth & Clyde Canal.

Connecting communities

“I’m really pleased that the Garscube Bridge has now opened as part of the Claypits project, connecting two communities in north Glasgow and providing easy access to nature within the city.

Completion of the bridge will reopen the Forth & Clyde Canal to boaters as well as providing travel and leisure options for walkers, runners and cyclists. It’s great to see partnership working encouraging more sustainable travel in our towns and cities through high quality infrastructure.”

Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

The state of the art Garscube Bridge will deliver much more than a walkway for the local community. Serving Scotland’s boating community, the new electronic bridge will allow boats to pass through the north of the city along the Forth and Clyde Canal. 

Important milestone

The new link from Panmure Gate to Garscube Bridge which runs on top of the canal boasts one of a kind views of nature and wildlife in North Glasgow. 

“The opening of Garscube Bridge and the Panmure Gate Link not only marks an important milestone for Scottish Canals and our partners in delivering the Claypits project as part of the wider regeneration in North Glasgow. 

I am delighted that this project will connect the communities of Panmure Gate and Woodside giving them access to an urban nature reserve in the heart of the city. The Claypits project will deliver long term health and wellbeing benefits to the local residents as well as an additional boost to the local economy.”

Catherine Topley, CEO of Scottish Canals

Garscube Bridge and Panmure Gate Link are both a key part of the £6m Claypits project which will deliver a local nature reserve in North Glasgow which is due to open in spring 2021. 

The project emerged from the Woodside, Firhill and Hamiltonhill Development Framework, which received a Living Waterway Award in 2018 in recognition of the project’s success in engaging local communities.

The project has been delivered in partnership with the community and local groups, notably, The Claypits Local Nature Reserve Management Group which consists of local residents with a passion to celebrate the incredible environment and greenspace around the Claypits.

“On behalf of the partnership, I am delighted to see the opening of the Garscube Bridge today; a project that will reconnect communities in the area. Accessibility and greenspace are two of the key goals of the canal partnership in Glasgow, and the Garscube Bridge and the new bridges and greenspace at Sighthill and Stockingfield will benefit thousands of existing, and future, residents in the area.

Councillor Allan Gow, Chair of the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership

The Claypits at Hamiltonhill were originally used to extract clay to line the Forth & Clyde Canal, in turn, the canal was used to power the industrial revolution which transformed the nation. The Claypits will now transform to meet the needs of the 21st century by becoming a local nature reserve which will be connected to Scotland’s sustainable transport network.

“The Garscube Bridge and the new boardwalk open up the Claypits Nature Reserve for locals living in Queen’s Cross and Firhill. It’s more important than ever now to have space to walk, cycle, relax and exercise outdoors, and we are pleased to have been able to support this vital new link through Places for Everyone.

The canal, nature reserve and their connection to the National Cycle Network are a gateway to city and the surrounding area, as well as an important resource for Glasgow’s biodiversity. This is a unique project – creating a wild greenspace in the heart of industrial land – and we are proud to have been part of it.”

Karen McGregor, Director of Scotland for Sustrans

The Claypits project was funded by 17 organisations including; Sustrans, Transport Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Canals, Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership.  

Associated key partners within the project include; The Scottish Government via Queens Cross Housing Association and the Local Nature Reserve Management Group.

The Claypits local nature reserve in North Glasgow is due to open in spring 2021. 

Scottish Opera puts on outdoor performances by the canal

Scottish Opera, part of the Glasgow Canal Co-op, have announced a programme of outdoor performances for this September at locations across Scotland, including the carpark of their Edington Street Production Studios by the canal.

Following the Scottish Government’s update on 20 August to the route map out of the Covid-19 crisis, Scottish Opera were thrilled to announce the programme of seated outdoor events.

Tragic love story

Scottish Opera’s production studios at Edington Street, right by the canal, have a car park which has been selected as the home for a five-night run of Puccini’s La bohème.

Kicking off on Saturday 5 September, Puccini’s tragic love story La bohème will be given a powerful reinterpretation inspired by the current pandemic reality by Director Roxana Haines.

The production uses Jonathan Dove’s abridged score with a running time of around 1 hour 35 minutes and just seven singers and a reduced orchestra.

With its grand theatrical and emotional sweep, this very special production of Puccini’s heartbreaking operatic weepie is a celebration of love in all its forms: from passion to affection, friendship to fraternity. And it’s a poignant love letter to theatre, opera and live performance itself – to singers, instrumentalists, backstage and, of course, audiences.

Safety guidelines

In response to the ongoing physical distancing guidelines, La bohème will be presented with the audience seated in appropriately distanced ‘bubbles’ outdoors, ensuring they can once again safely enjoy the live music experience. Customers can only book a maximum of four tickets per performance.

Safety for all audience performers and backstage crew has also been built into the production’s underlying conception from the start, with physical distancing observed at all times by performers, backstage staff and the audience.

Whitewater tubing sessions launch at Pinkston

Pinkston Watersports Centre in north Glasgow has launched whitewater tubing – a new outdoor activity perfect for thrill seekers looking for a fun-filled experience.

Participants are given a rubber ring before taking to Scotland’s only artificial whitewater course for a ride down the rapids that they won’t forget.

Pinkston has already welcomed some well-kempt faces to the course who were game enough to give it a go, including comedian Gary Faulds who summed the experience up as, “Basically the Time Capsule on steroids”.

Joined by friends

Gary Faulds was joined by friends and fellow comedian Gary Meikle alongside unsuspecting fan Darren MacLeod, who answered Gary’s call on Facebook for someone to get involved in the fun.

Comedians Gary Faulds and Gary Meikle show STV’s Polly Bartlett how it’s done

Although not for the faint hearted, the controlled rapids allow the team at Pinkston to provide a full-on whitewater experience for people in a safe environment, with participants receiving wet suits, helmets, buoyancy aids and a full safety briefing.

The high adrenaline activity is the latest watersport to be launched at Pinkston, which is already home to a wealth of activities including kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and open water swimming.

Hannah BlairPinkston Watersports Centre general manager and Glasgow Canal Co-op co-director, said:

“We’re so excited to have launched whitewater tubing at Pinkston. This is an adrenaline-filled activity that lets people get up close with our controlled rapids.

“We’ve had a great reaction from people who have had a lot of fun taking part so far, including comedians Gary Faulds and Gary Meikle who gave us all a laugh. We’re based at Port Dundas just minutes from the city centre so people looking for a thrilling outdoor experience don’t have far to come.”

Urban and water sport destination

Pinkston is situated on the banks of the Forth and Clyde canal just 10 minutes from the city centre in an area that is fast becoming a destination for urban and water sport, with The Loading Bay skatepark, Everyday Athlete, Glasgow Wake Park, Glasgow Kayak Club, Scuba Diving Scotland, The Adventure Academy, Outdoor Pursuits Scotland and Red Bull Neptune Steps Challenge all calling it home.

Whitewater tubing at Pinkston is £35 per person or £250 for a group of up to 10 people and is open to people aged 15 and over. Book now at www.pinkston.co.uk or email info@pinkston.co.uk.

North Glasgow’s urban sports attractions team up

Three leading adventure sports businesses land funding from Experience Glasgow

Three of Scotland’s leading sports attractions have been awarded funding from Experience Glasgow to team up to create a unified adventure and alternative sports brand and must-visit destination for the city.

Located side by side around the Forth and Clyde Canal, just 10 minutes from Glasgow city centre, Pinkston Watersports, Glasgow Wake Park and The Loading Bay Skatepark are joining forces to establish a collaborative and exciting visitor experience in north Glasgow.

Working closely

As members of Glasgow Canal Co-op, the three cutting-edge organisations already work closely together in this part of the city, which has undergone significant regeneration and a renaissance in recent years, to ensure their fantastic sport facilities are accessible to the local community.

The Loading Bay skatepark

This boost from Glasgow’s Industry Collaboration Fund will allow the organisations to pull together and allow people from near and far to book truly unique, combined experiences online.

Host of activities

Nestled around the top of the canal in this up and coming corner of the city, the three destinations already individually offer a host of activities for beginners, large groups and adrenaline lovers alike, including kayaking, canoeing, white water rafting, stand up paddleboarding, skateboarding, BMXing and wakeboarding.

This collaboration will allow people to choose from a variety of activity packages from across the playground, including pick-and-mix sport packages and tasters, family watersports days and children’s residential stays and experiences.

The new set-up will mean it’s never been easier for the local community and visitors to experience the great outdoors in the city and get a taste for urban sport – all set among the canal’s unique industrial heritage, with breathtaking views across the city.

“The scale and quality of the sports facilities our three businesses offer are unique to Glasgow and rarely found in the heart of any city. Collaborating like this and coming up with new, joined-up packages will allow us to welcome more visitors than ever before and show them exactly what this exciting part of the city has to offer.

“We’re like-minded organisations who want to share our passion for our sports with as many people as possible. We want the local community and visitors to have a brilliant experience getting stuck in and see that anyone can try a new alternative sport right here in Glasgow. The funding from Experience Glasgow allows us to combine forces and create a digital presence that will help reach new people. We can’t wait to launch it.”

Hannah Blair, general manager at Pinkston Watersports

The Collaboration Fund is supported by Scottish Enterprise and aims to help deliver on the ambitions of Glasgow’s Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023 to develop innovative products and services for visitors and attract more people than ever before to the city.

The funding will support these three businesses to create a new shared brand, a website with online booking facilities and to trial their new packages to reach new visitors from nearby, as well as UK and international visitors.