I have lived in the western end of the old county of Dunbartonshire for 35 years, although two of my abodes,including the current Chez Hall, have been realigned into Argyll and Bute. One of the most interesting places I was introduced to early in my policing career was the St Peters Seminary (priesthood college) in Cardross where certain crimes had been taking place. No. Not what you may have thought! These involved criminal elements from the Glasgow and Vale of Leven areas pillaging this Gillespie Kidd and Coia designed architectural gem in pursuit of the valuable scrap metal that was removed from the roof and structures of this wonderful site. By scrap I mean that it was scrap once removed by acts of theft and vandalism from this stunningly designed building. The practical use of such a building is another matter, but I think it fair to say that the building was seldom described as"stunning" by the staff and students who had to live within it's confines.
Fast forward several years and the pillaging continued and this led to it's being abandoned and left to descend into ruin. As an A-listed building, though it is protected and it is to the shame of the authorities that the Archdiocese has not been subject to an enforcement order to restore the building to it's former glory.
Today I was at a planning day, where a company called NVA led by an Angus Farquhar were making a presentation to the populace regarding a planned artistic project to restore the grounds to a publicly accessible trail and restore the grounds at least to something that will benefit the community. It's a large project that hopefully will harness education (HND training in landscaping and building) to at least make the building safe and gradually integrate the walks created into the structure. Some fine examples of similar works were on display and, as is my wont, I soon fell into conversation with Angus who, it turns out, is a 3.31 marathon runner(Lochaber 2010). He asked if I knew the site and, when I told him I used the paths on training runs albeit with some difficulty due to the neglect of the area,he told me that one of his long term plans was to have a Sunday morning running group to use the trails and embrace the natural surroundings as a year long arts project. Soon we had expanded his scope from the small area of the site to embrace Carman Moor, Stonymollan and even extending up the new Three Lochs Trail to Inveruglas. I feel an ultra race coming on!
So will I ever get running again, to be involved in this fine project. We turned to injury and he suggested Alan McInnes of Balance in Napiershall St, Glasgow. A two visit cure, he assures me!
In return I recommended his local club which would appear to be Garscube Harriers ;/. I dropped a couple of names of members I know so I have a feeling I haven't seen the last of Angus.