Swanning around with our cycling group on different days is freeing up chances for more people to get involved. Billi, who proposed the idea of a cycling group, was able to make it for the first time and he and Mark had never met before. He also got to meet John – our new group leader from Free Wheel North, too.
John planned an interesting route along the canal side using the national cycle routes with which we’re becoming so much more familiar and better able to connect, to plan our own journeys. We saw an array of beautiful reeds and grasses along the way, as well as Clovers, Vetch and Birdsfoot Trefoil. That reminded me to bring a loupe and our Flower Keys Guidebook to take a closer look (and a breather) next time. We saw Heron and Swan to with Cygnets, much grown from our previous encounter.
After linking up routes I’d been (kind of) aware of but not known the connection points, I saw extended possibilities for creating my own safe cycling routes for daily, practical cycling needs. John painted a picture of the historical canal side, too, as we saw the remnants of huge flood gates built to protect Glasgow from the effects of flooding, should the Maryhill Locks fall victim to attack during WWII. Given the mass of water contained, the effect would have been devastating and this really opened our eyes to the abundant historical clues along the ways.
We even saw the site where the High Possil Meteorite was found in 1804. One of only four to have been recorded in Scotland it is now on display as part of the Hunterian Collection, which will soon be moving to the newly refurbished Kelvinhall – so another trip to plan together, to see that.
We also learned about the location of the remains of the miners’ cottages, giving a very different picture of the local landscape in years gone by, before heading back for our coffee and biscuits and even more of a good old chat.
While the prospect of social interaction may be a bit of a stressor beforehand, we see how a shared interest can help to overcome such barriers and leave us with some very pleasant experiences and memories. Thanks, John, for a really enjoyable trip – we look forward to many more, naturally!