Glasgow: Linn Park

The day after our Edinburgh outing we were going to go see another sight, but we found out the train doesn’t run from our local station on Sundays. So, rather than learn the bus system, we opted to stay close to home instead.

As it turned out, “close to home” meant the 200-acre Linn Park, the second largest park in the Glasgow area. A river runs through the park, and when I saw mentions of the White Cart Water, I assumed that was its name — but according to Wikipedia, it isn’t quite. The river is a tributary of the River Clyde, the large river which runs through Glasgow; our local tributary is called the Cart and it’s made up of the Black Cart Water and the White Cart Water. I don’t know why the single river needs all the different names, but I like to imagine a distant past when people would navigate their world by the bends and offshoots of their major waterway, and the various names would be stand-ins for the separate regions. But that’s just my guess.

One section of the White Cart Water, by houses

It’s only about a mile from our place to one of the park entrances, taking Old Castle Road. It turns out there actually was once a castle around here, and there are still supposed to be some ruins, but we didn’t find them. Another day perhaps.

Tiny flowers everywhere

We followed the river for a while and then turned into a more wooded area, avoiding a golf course (the only golf course I’ve ever seen where the grass was studded with little flowers like the yellow ones above). We saw a few walkers and joggers, but mostly we seemed to have the place to ourselves. (I feel like this is a regular refrain in these Scotland posts. Obviously we’re not in the heart of the city, as we were in Toronto!)

Woods in Linn Park

Snail on a tree

These signposts made me laugh. They read “Countryside Ranger Service, Glasgow City Council” and clearly they indicate the presence of trails, but I interpreted them as “Pants, this way” and smirked like a teenager every time I saw one.

Post indicating trail ahead

Everything we saw around us was beautiful and interesting, but it didn’t photograph that well. There are some greens that look fabulously lush on camera, and others that come out looking boring and commonplace. Add the overcast sky to the mix and I knew my photos wouldn’t convey the richness of what we saw. Then I remembered my camera had a high contrast black-and-white setting, so I switched to that.

Forest floor in black and white

That was a good move. There are scenes that don’t render so well in nondescript greens and browns, but once you take away the color, the eye can really absorb the complex textures, the contrasts of dark and light, and the shapes thus created.

Trees in black and white

The White Cart Water glimpsed through the trees (b/w)

Even mud looks intriguing in black and white. Thankfully, it didn’t rain while we were out, but I don’t think I’ve ever glomped across such deep mud before!

Slippy mud (b/w)

Erik picking his way across a muddy patch of trail (B/W)

About halfway through our walk we heard a thunderous noise and I knew we were coming up on the waterfall. In researching the park I’d discovered a headline about a 23-year-old man who drowned in the waterfall about a month ago. Poor fellow. That elemental roar did not sound like something you could mess with and come out to tell the tale. But it was quite a sight.


An equally magical discovery was an area of green grass — a gorgeous sight after the mud and the browns of the forest floor — dotted with trees just swathed in waving leaves.

Magical grove of trees with leaves climbing up their trunks

Best click on this one to enlarge.

I don’t know whether this is a natural feature or whether it’s something people put together — like the golf course — but either way, it felt enchanted. I kept off the grass for fear of more gloopy mud, and just admired the view from the path.

Magical grove with rainwater pooling across the grass

Leaving the grove

We saw a couple of magpies in this clearing, and I was delighted to take black-and-white pictures of a black-and-white bird.

Magpie in black and white: A black and white bird in a black and white landscape

Then it was back to the river, which we crossed via a little metal-railed bridge.

Bridge (b/w)

I’d read online that there are trout, eels, and sometimes salmon in the river. We saw this father and son fishing, but couldn’t tell whether they’d caught anything.

Father and son fishing along the river (b/w)

Erik got closer to investigate, and when he rejoined me, informed me that there were ducks.

Erik investigating the river (b/w)

We also saw clumps of mushrooms all over this stump.

Mushrooms on a stump (b/w)

Near the end of our walk, we found these big plants — I don’t know what they are; they almost look like lotuses, only they’re growing out of the earth and not the water. (Google search suggests they might be some kind of farfugium?)

Strange big leaves

At that point we’d been walking for maybe two hours and thought it was time for lunch, so we followed these ladies up some steps and out of the park.

Two women walking their dogs up some steps (b/w)

Light and shadow play in the treetops (b/w)

I added some other striking park photos to my Visual Inspiration collection on flickr — check them out by browsing my photostream.

Another two or so miles later, we ended at the only Whole Foods in Scotland, where we ate lunch and then bought some groceries.

Trailer outside Whole Foods, Giffnock

All in all, we walked more than five miles that day. But the park was worth it, and so was this chowder we made last night from the ingredients we bought!

Fish chowder with visible pieces of fish, carrots, bacon, and green onions