A New Plan for Tourism in Rutherglen, Scotland?

2013 - Time for a Change in the Burgh

I come from Rutherglen. It's a town on the outskirts of Glasgow in Scotland. Between 1975 and 1996 it was even a part of the City of Glasgow. There are those that said Glasgow was bad for Rutherglen. Sure enough, during that period we lost our town hall but we also had a museum, a bustling main street and a tourist walking trail. It was in the late 1980's and early 1990's that the Rutherglen Heritage Trail was produced by Glasgow District Council. It featured a route plan through the Burgh portion of Rutherglen town. Taking the intrepid explorer around the heart of our wee 'Ruggie' - as the we locals call it - you passed statues, parks and buildings all dear to the Rugloanians who live here. Sadly, parts of this route are now gone, buildings demolished, park land lost. The Town Hall however has reopened and in many ways the schools and roads are much improved. However there is much still to do to regain our Royal title in more than just name. 

Rutherglen Public Park, over the course of a hundred years has been reduced to a small bike track, with an care home, Rutherglen Health Centre and some social housing now occuping the remainder. Nearby Overtoun Park itself is lacking in features - meaning few folk will choose to visit unless they live here already. The remaining tenemental housing in Farme Cross, Burgh, Clincarthill and Bankhead is in dire need of looking after and the green spaces all around need more care and attention. The proud folk of Blairbeth love their open field but in the recent downpour of 2012 it is clear to see it needs more regular attention. The burn flowing through the Spittal Green Space is a hidden gem but few know it even exists. There is a clear need to clean up the waterway and pond in Quigleys and Bankhead. Fernhill Park could use more regular maintenance and the Cathkin Woods near the boundary with East Kilbride region are often left to be overgrown before being carelessly mown. 

It would be nice if South Lanarkshire Council put more thought into it's care for Rutherglen, but as it seems, perhaps it is too close to Glasgow to be cared about. There are few monuments worth visiting outside of Rutherglen Burgh Area and hardly anything quite like the public art seen in Farme Cross elsewhere in the town's areas. The new developments at Cathkin and Fernhill are nice and pretty but there is also something rather generic about the whole thing. 

Student Tours Scotland proposes a return to local government in the town of Rutherglen. It could be used as a test example before rolling it out to other needy towns like Girvan, Sanquhar, Lanark, Cumbernauld and Motherwell to name but a few. Heritage Trails around all the areas would give something exciting for people to do if they chose to visit them. Unique shopping areas could attract local business. There are countless good examples of towns improving themselves around Europe. Perhaps it's time Rutherglen looked after itself?