Rain didn’t stop play at the FORK Gala day on Saturday 9 June 2012. A line up of more than 11 groups performed despite heavy rain between the sunny spells at the annual event run by Friends of the River Kelvin. While the music flowed from noon till 7pm, stalls provided information and things to buy as well as ‘handknitted hamburgers’ . Children had an arts programme painting a collage of the natural environment around the River Kelvin, and an amazing puppet show. Professionally guided canoe trips were ‘just amazing,’ said one happy voyager. All of the activities were centred on FORK headquarters – the Ha’penny Bridge House in the Botanic Gardens at the junction of the tracks leading to Wyndford and Kirklee.
Said new FORK Convener, Sally Johnston: ‘This has been another exceptionally good and very enjoyable event, despite the rain. We thank everyone who helped and who took part. We plan to hold social evenings in Ha’penny Bridge House in the autumn for members. Before then, we hope to launch, officially, the very colourful boards painted by local school children, which protect the windows of Ha’penny Bridge House.’ For more information on Friends Of the River Kelvin, including their next Saturday morning litter pick-up on 7 July, see their website: www.fork.org.uk
The River Kelvin Angling Association (RKAA) are planning a clean-up on Saturday 2 June alongside FORK – Friends of the River Kelvin – who are preparing for their Big Gala on Saturday 9 June at their headquarters – Ha’penny Bridge House in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens.
Volunteers to help with both groups’ cleaning up activities are invited to be at Ha’Penny Bridge House (HBH) at 10.30. Pickers-up and gloves are provided. Said Allan Twigg, FORK treasurer who organises the regular FORK clean-ups: ‘We’ll be preparing HBH for the Gala and also want to clear part of the foundations of the Flint Mill which has become overgrown. Should anyone have loppers they can bring, they would be useful to cut back rhododendrons too, though we hope to borrow some from the Botanic Gardens.’
The FORK GALA on Saturday 9 June is a highlight of the West End Festival. Last year the event, planned to finish at 4pm – was still going strong at 6pm because so many musicians were happy to play, the weather was warm and people were having a great time browsing and buying at the stalls and listening to the music.
Said Allan: ‘On the day of the Gala, we need all the help we can get from early in the morning as we start setting up around 8 am, throughout the day to help with the Gala and late in the afternoon to clear up.’
FORK is an organisation of people who are keen to keep the integrity and the beauty of nature around the River Kelvin in the city and are committed to its care and maintenance on a volunteer basis. Founded 20 years ago by Mark Eden-Bushell who is now Ambassador for the work, FORK has been a social and an environmental success story which continues today under a new Convenor – Sally Johnston – and an enthusiastic team.
The annual gala includes a chance to try canoeing, find out about local campaigns and charities and volunteer activities and buy things like books and crafted goods. The Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Glasgow Conjurers are just two of the many organisations who take part and help to make the event a great success.
Burns Supper time will alter the flow of the River Kelvin Angling Association meetings. The anglers, who meet in the Islay Inn on Argyle Street, will be there on Tuesday 24 January instead of the regular last Wednesday of the month, because of a Burns Supper.
Guardians who fish on stretches of the 34 kilometres of the River Kelvin, the Association has been clearing trees around the Vet School to improve access to the river. Chairman Alan Atkins has been credited with doing most of the leg work to get the job done. Details will be given at the Association’s annual general meeting on Thursday 2 February at 7pm in Woodside Hall near St George Cross.
The arbour work has opened an extremely long stretch for fly fishers and those wishing to spin for salmon. Futher details on their website: www.fishkelvin.com
Weekly River Kelvin Clean Up
Saturday 13 August
Kelvindale Road/Kelvin WalkWay
Please wear appropriate outdoor clothing and boots for the anticipated weather conditions.
The Friends of the River Kelvin will provide safety advice, litter pickers, rubber gloves, yellow vests and bin bags.
The morning is an event that can be attended by all ages but children and young and vulnerable adults must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or carer.
It will take several hours for about ten peoople to travel from Kirkintilloch to Torrance – because they will go by canoe. All under the trained eye of Wild by Nature, a canoe company based in Kirkintilloch. In groups of ten, the flotilla will see the Kelvin from a different angle, enjoy new sounds, see both plant and wildlife and stop to explore interesting places along the way.
Paddle -ing from Kirkintilloch Bridge in the East of the town, the intrepid explorers will finish in Torrance. A group of FORKS (Friends of the River Kelvin) recently did this route. They saw buzzards, mallard ducks, sand martins, swallows, brown trout, cows and many tree species, wild flowers and river plant life.
Said Wild by Nature boss, Cliff Giddings, who has canoed professionally: ‘The trip was relaxing, very quiet and peaceful and provided gentle exercise,’ He said more strenuous routes were available for those who could take them. Charles Thompson, Secretary of FORK who was one of the participants said: ‘We got loads of fresh air and the day was excellently led by Wild By Nature.’ email:email@example.com or tel: 0141 777 6211.
Weekly litter pick-ups are still being held by FORK members every Saturday from 10.30am. And on Saturday 6 August they will tidy up the riverbank at Kelvindale Road. Said Charles: ‘We intend to uproot a patch of Himalayan Balsam (one of the three major invasive plant species on the River Kelvin.’. The organisation invites anyone interested to join them. Contact the Secretary on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel:0141 563 6498 and see website: www.fork.org.uk
FORK members were given an especially big thank you from Keep Scotland Beautiful because they’d collected an amazing 120 bags of rubbish and other debris over four Saturdays in April during the National Spring Clean 2011.
Paddling up the Clyde has long been an urban myth. But the Friends of the River Kelvin have organised a couple of outings to paddle along the upper reaches of the River Kelvin. There are still places left for the trip on Friday 22 July and on Wednesday 3 August. A maximum of ten can go on each outing.
Said canoe master and expedition leader Cliff Giddings: ‘This is a chance to be nudged along slowly by the current, learn some canoe skills and see this rarely paddled stretch of water. The upper and middle sections of the River Kelvin are classed as simple, moving, water. They do not pose any significant difficulties to negotiate.’ Except, perhaps an occasional redundant supermarket trolley! For more information contact Cliff direct: 0141 777 6211 or email: email@example.com at his Kirkintilloch headquarters.
by Lynsay Keough, photo Stuart Maxwell
As the residents of Otago Lane in the city’s west end await news of the planning application that will drastically effect their businesses and general environment, the question must be is the “Dear green place” a romantic sentiment that is becoming less and less relevant?
The “Green Corridors” of Glasgow, as recognised by Scottish Natural Heritage, are unique due to their lack of development. They are important as both a leisure and wildlife resource. The River Kelvin flows through a steep wooded gorge to the north and west of the city. The very fact that it does flow at a lower level through the area away from development helps the area retain it’s rural feel.
When the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership were setting down their Green Network Strategy in July 2007 they listed a Series of “Aspirational Outcomes”. Under their section of Biodiversity and Environment they listed the protection of “habitat networks”. Their strategy is a 25 year plan to help encourage local authorities to take a greener view of the environment in their care.
A habitat and protected species survey was carried out in Otago Lane and its riverbank area over a period of months in 2009. It concluded that the area represents opportunities for some local wildlife in terms of cover and as part of a wider widelife corridor along the River Kelvin, indeed potential otter tracks have been found just upstream of this proposed development site.
I have no doubt that landscaping some areas of the cities really do have a positive effect on the environment but surely a duty of care to protect something that is naturally occuring is also owed. I hope that the concerns of the Green Network Strategy are heeded when the Glasgow City Council end their deliberations.