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River Kelvin

River Kelvin

Reaffirming Glasgow’s nickname of Dear Green Place, the city’s second river offers a leafy and vibrant streak to the bustling city as it meanders down from the Dullatur Bog north-east of Glasgow to meet up with the River Clyde in Yorkhill. By all standards Glasgow’s second river is quite short, flowing for only 35 kilometers (22 miles). Even then, it holds within it one of the West End’s hidden gems, the River Kelvin Walkway, part of which is seen in this photo taken from the Queen Margaret Drive Bridge, hidden under the trees.

The current state of the River Kelvin ecosystem, after years of regeneration, is thanks to a society called Friends of the River Kelvin (FORK). Formed in 1991, they work to build public awareness and commitment to the care and maintenance of the Kelvin and its tributaries. FORK’s headquarters are at the Ha’penny Bridge House just a little further up the river from where this photo was taken. Their website offers some details on walks one can take along the River Kelvin Walkway.

The Kelvin used to be littered with paper mills, the ruins of some which can still be walked among by the River Side. Most of the mills on the Kelvin have been demolished or left to complete ruin. The easiest to reach remains of a mill within Glasgow are the remains of the North Woodside Flint Mill, which closed in the 1960s. The preserved remains are just behind where the photo was taken from. There are more remains of a mill just across the Kelvin from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. One still remains in operation, the Scotstoun Mill operated by Rank Hovis, south of Partick Bridge on Thurso Street. You’ll recognize Thurso Street from being the home of the Glasgow University Archives.

Glasgow Trivia #6: Because of the refuse from the mills, just fifty years ago the River Kelvin was by definition dead or dying. Decades on, wildlife has returned in large numbers to the ecological corridor, including (according to Wikipedia) the grey squirrel, magpie, grey heron, cormorant, blue tit, great tit, chaffinch, snipe, great spotted woodpecker, blackbird, redwing, carrion crow, kingfisher, mallard, goosander, roe deer, red fox, otter, water vole, mink and brown rat. Salmon and brown trout also inhabit the water of the river, and can be fished (with permit). If you look carefully at the photo above, you can spot a grey heron sitting on a branch in the foreground. All this just a few hundred meters north of Byres Road.

[Summer 2010 Poll: Where Are You From?]
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© 2010

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