Mountblow Recreation Ground


Every sports club needs a home and, if they are serious about the sport, for athletics clubs that means a track and field facility.    The track is an all year round facility and for field events athletes an inside training area is a must-have for winter.  

When I first joined the club we trained in summer at Mountblow Recreation Ground in summer and from the Bruce Street Baths, described by a Dundonian after experiencing the facility for the first time in the 1970’s, as maybe the best winter training base in the country, in winter.    Mountblow had a four lane 330 yards red blaes track with jumps facilities outside the track and a half mile grass perimeter which held three football pitches in winter, one football pitch and a cricket area in summer.    We trained there on Tuesday and Thursday with the possibility of members training from there on Saturdays – we’d make our way down, pay the groundsman/attendant. Get changed and head off on out run.   It also had the superb pavilion – ladies changed upstairs, men downstairs – with storage space below for high jump stands, throwing equipment, etc plus the veranda that ran round two sides so that you could see what was going on.    Mountblow hosted inter-club fixtures and even the Dunbartonshire Championships.    We also had casual users from other clubs – I remember doing a training session with Davie Kerr of Garscube Harriers, and Tommy O’Reilly used to come in from time to time when he was working in Clydebank to do a session before going home.

Despite the occasional athletes from other clubs, it was our home track, our summer headquarters; it was where the club notice board was hung in summer.   It was also the venue where the Victoria Park of the 1950’s did their reps on a Sunday under the leadership of Andy Forbes – the perimeter was almost exactly half a mile.   It was also easily accessible by bus and train.   A very good facility indeed.   But limited – four lanes were not enough for a club with men and women, with boys and girls, a club which welcomed occasional guest users, the changing accommodation was good enough for training nights but was severely limited as far as showers were concerned, and which hosted county championships  and league inter-club fixtures.

When the eight lane track was laid at Whitecrook, the club was keen to head in that direction.   The venue had a new eight-lane 440 yards black cinder track.   Initially it had a soft surface with possible ankle twisting injuries capability, but that was soon fixed and it was even better than Mountblow – it had a bigger perimeter for a start, there was twice as much room on the track and the capability for sprinters doing their work on the outside lanes while the distance runners were well clear in the inside lanes.   The field events were all catered for in the infield with the high jump area being sufficiently big and well surfaced for Davie Cairns, an international high jumper from Springburn to come and train there.   The pavilion was quite roomy enough with several dressing rooms and showers, car parking was on site with more room on a quiet road outside and it was easily accessible by bus and train.  

Again, occasional athletes from other clubs were welcome: eg David Cairns the international High Jumper from Springburn Harriers came over on occasion to use the excellent high jump facility.  It was our club summer HQ , where we hung our notice board in summer, and we held our championships there and we even used it for the Christmas handicap for a while.   And again the County Association had their championships at Whitecrook.   

They were two excellent club facilities – the “homes” of Clydesdale Harriers.   We now have a new ‘home’ at Ste Peter The Apostle’s.   Built on the former campus of St Columba’s High School it has a good track but little else.   There is also a problem or two for the four-lane track   That’s for the next article.