The river Glazert runs through a considerable part of the parish of Campsie, and is the river on which Lennoxtown stands.
It is formed by the confluence of three burns, namely the Pu, the Finglen, and the Kirkton Burns, which flow from the Campsie hills and meet at Haughhead. No fewer than nineteen (19) burns are said to discharge themselves into the Glazert. It then flows over relatively steep ground for 9.5 Km to join the river Kelvin upstream of Kirkintilloch.
In its upper reaches, the Glazert used to receive the discharge sewage effluent from Lennox Castle Hospital White Water Treatment Plant (WWTP), but the closure of the hospital in February 2000 means that this problem no longer exists, and this has had a dramatically positive effect on water quality.
Contamination of the water by iron-rich discharges from the Kali Nailworks, into the Nailworks Burn, (which is a tributary of the Glazert), used to take place. Fortunately, the industrial operations which caused these discharges have now ceased. The factory site has been demolished, and is now being developed for private housing, and office block development. However, this land and the surrounding area still contain considerable levels of metal, which will ultimately leak into the Glazert and continue to adversely affect the water quality.
During site remediation, the culverted section of the Nailworks Burn and the contaminated silt deposits were removed with the culvert being infilled. Other contaminated 'hotspots' were also identified and removed, including a soakaway site.
Although the river is classed as A2 (good) in its upper reaches, it is still to some degree adversely affected by the Nailworks burn at Lennoxtown. Downstream the quality drops to Class B (fair). Nevertheless, it's reported to be a good quality river with a healthy trout population.
The Rev Lapslie, writing in 1793, said that salmon had not been seen in the Glazert for 18 years whereas, they had been plentiful before, and the area had been considered a great spawning place.
Cameron however, thought that salmon came up the Glazert until the erection of Killermont weir in 1798, but said pollution from print works, alum works, bleach works and distilleries may have been responsible for the fish disappearing in the lower reaches - but he still thought the upper reaches were well enough stocked to replenish them.
Although illegal, it was customary to 'burn' the water for salmon during spawning. This method of killing salmon, using torches made of dressing lint and long spears with which to strike the fish, was common 'sport' on both the Glazert and the Blane.
The Physical Regeneration Framework and Action Plan just published in April 2006, states that the rusty colour of the Glazert water is due to discharges from the iron bearing Leachate of the former Nail Works. Whilst this may in part be true, prior to work being conducted further up the South Braes, the water was never markedly discoloured.
However, in the 1970's, work (excavation, surveying or construction), was being carried out when an old mine shaft was disrupted, resulting in rivers of highly discoloured water pouring down the hillside, across the road (back road to Castle), and over into the river. The water ran in torrents, colouring everything around. The cars of hospital staff who used this road, were coated day after day in this rust coloured liquid, which tenaciously stuck to tyres and paintwork despite attempts to wash it away. The road was red for many months afterwards. At the time the consensus was that it was water, possibly from an old mine shaft or dam which was to blame.
*A local Ordnance Survey map shows 11 disused mine shafts listed in the area of the South Brae.
Zygopleura rugifera var; rowlandsi Longstaff; A fossil gastropod; (Mollusca, Gastropoda); Glenwhapple Burn, Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire
Back to: Points of Interest