Our news editor slacks off uni for a day and visits the dilapidated docklands down in Govan.

Concentrating on work does not come naturally to my flatmates and I, and often we find ourselves distracted by some scheme one of us has cooked up. So last Monday, deciding that the day was already as good as written off by 2.30 we set off to find and explore Govan Docks. Just across the Pacfic Quay from the IMAX and BBC buildings Govan docks have been abandoned since 1988 and are its fair to say untouched by development.

We walked down via McDonalds, where I ate a particularly bland burger that none the less burned the inside of my stomach an made me feel ropey all day. Pass the SECC we went and over the bridge and along to a large patch of wasteland. Then – realising that we should’ve got onto the road when we had a chance – clambered over a large spiked gate onto Govan Road. We didn’t know exactly where we were going, but trusting intuition we walked down a drive for some kind of  private members club. Long into the far left of the grass, sure enough a small gap in the fence allowed us to duck under and emerge in old docklands. Maybe there was a better entrance further on, but we were in now.

Three large Cadburys finger-shaped docks with stepped sides lie next to each other, in roughly an E shape. We approached the first and then walked over the wooded bridge across its mouth to the next one. Huge old rusty cast iron hold and fastenings are everywhere, obvious leftovers of massive machines that were once in use. Large holes in the paving filled with Tennants cans demonstrate past and present use of the area, and small trees and patchs of grass sprout from between the stonework. We continued further in, over the next couple of wooden bridges (perfect stable, still keeping the water levels in the docks and the bay outside different) to the very end. Here a small building survives. We couldn’t work out what it was originally for, but it had two halls  several smaller rooms, each of which was scattered with iron, broken glass and rocks. At one end stood a small tower, the ladder up and platform at the top of which even looked perfectly stable, but I erred on the side of caution anyway.  Further on and to the West more empty space, and evidence of barbeques, but a wonderful space. Abandoned and free in the middle of the city, unattended space, sticking right out into the river, but private due to the tree cover. We smoked some cigarettes, sat on the steep steps that form the walls of the docks, threw rocks in the water and sang Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay. At the vertical of the E shape we came across a shouty man, who was yelling incoherently about something with some passion. We left him be and went back to the middle dock and examined the broken bits of metal, trying to figure out what they were whilst picturing the scene when the whole place would have been crammed with sweaty Weegies, rather than slacking students.

Having satisfied our curiosity back we went through the fence, and we trampled off homewards. The journey home was a good chance to scope out some other abandoned areas to potentially explore as well, although I still felt shite after that McDonalds and wanted to lie down. The rain started coming on, and we trudged more directly towards the flat, the thought of a nice cup of tea when we get there our main motivator. Other adventures are planned, but I’m keeping shut about them for now, partly because I want them to be eerie and abandoned when I get there, not filled with you lot. But since I’ve been now, get yourself down to take a look at Govan Docks. Go in a group and you’ll avoid most potential hassle, and just as importantly go with a sense of adventure, and don’t be afraid to climb in, under or over things.

 [Theo Wheatley]

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