Since our first visit way back in 2018, Glasglow has become one of our many autumnal adventures and it’s fair to say we’ve had a great time.
The folks at Itison offered us tickets to their pre-event for 2021. It also happened to be our 13th wedding anniversary so it was a lovely little bonus.
We left in plenty of time as the COP26 summit is taking place in Glasgow and a fair chunk of the city has been shut down. What a great idea, shut down the entire city so world leaders and their substantial staff can have the roads free for their environmentally unfriendly vehicles to travel to an event to discuss reducing the devastation we’ve already caused to this planet. We’ve even got we Greta coming by – maybe she can talk some sense into them?
Getting parked at the Botanic Gardens where the event was held was just not a fate we were destined for, leading to us parking a fair distance away at the car park behind Ashton Lane. Yay for blue badges!
The west end of Glasgow is well known for its affluence, but none of that money seems to have trickled its way down to the pavements. They’re cracked, broken, uneven and generally crap to navigate in a wheelchair. As we travelled up Byers Road, we could see the search lights at the top of the hill the wee one and her friend ran on excitedly.
As we approached the gates, an alert member of staff waved us down and ushered us in to save us travelling to the back of the queue, and we were in!
Travelling through, the theme quickly became apparent, we were to be reporters out to solve the mystery of the luminous gloop that has appeared all over Glasglopolis and discover who was behind this terrifying toxicity.
So I grabbed the family, hopped in the Dad Mobile (my chair) and got to work.
Our editor was very J.Jonah Jamieson, and you know what happens to the last guy that let him down.
The trail took us past a man-eating plant, a squad of radioactive squirrels and through a glorious wall of light. Despite the ominous gloop it all seemed very light hearted until we encountered some government officials who forced us to undergo decontamination before we stumbled upon the the villain’s lair, the wee one helped us keep our cover by playing a game of Are You Evil? With the villain’s henchmen. Her evil laugh saved us all!
With our cover still intact we stumbled upon a truck carrying a dangerous missile and leaking the glowing gloop everywhere! It was protected by a very vain security guard who was desperately trying to upstage the nuclear device with their beauty.
A little further along we found the peace camp, where a song about pollution played throughout and local schoolkids had their art on display. We even made a quick donation of £5 to the Pumpkin Fund charity and as a reward we were allowed to press the BIG RED BUTTON.
Then it was time for a Marshmallow Break!
Fully fuelled we carried on and discovered the man behind this terrible crime, Dr Norman Gloop! The trail told a tale of a young man who was fed pumpkin soup as a child, was teased by the other kids grew to concoct a wicked plan.
Our efforts enabled the apprehension of this evil man, and saved the Glasglopolis. Still full of marshmallow, we didn’t stop at the food village and went straight to the victory celebration. TV Screens showed news footage of Norman’s capture and a spectacular light display lay before us.
With the city saved, we were able to enjoy the amazing pumpkin display as a reward for our efforts! Our editor’s voice boomed a message of congratulations, only to be disturbed by Norman’s voice calling us, telling us that he’d be back!
It’s important to note that Glasglow takes place at the Botanic Gardens, which was built in 1842. As such there’s a fair bit of wear and tear to the grounds. With this not being a custom site, there are challenges in respect of accessibility.
Itison state that the event is fully wheelchair accessible, which it totally is, but navigating the route in a manual chair is hard work.
There are a number of steep hills, both up and down that require decent upper body strength from those who don’t have the assistance of a family member/friend/carer to push them. The descent in a manual chair means having to keep a good grip on your push-rims, which is difficult in the rain.
I encountered three tricky lips that I had to navigate by popping my front castors up, which may not be something other manual wheelchair users can do with ease.
In addition, the marshmallow area is situated on a hill, with the fire pits further down. Thick rubber matting is on the ground, which means no risk of rolling down at speed but the mats are built with circular holes, I assume to stop water pooling, which managed to catch my castors a few times, pulling me forward. I was able to catch myself but this may not be the same for others.
I feel the route is likely to be a lot easier for power chair users, or at least a manual chair user with a power attachment.
I fully recognise that the terrain can’t be altered in a massive way, but even having ramps at each of those lips would have made a difference. I’m not sure of an alternative to the rubber matting
Accessible portable toilets are in place for those with disabilities who require them, but I’m not sure of any change facilities, There are also council run facilities, but I wouldn’t recommend them. There might be a ramp, but you’re not turning a chair around in them!
Itison have done an amazing job again this year, creating a fun immersive experience which is now a tradition for our family. I’d encourage anyone who wants a fun and memorable day out to book up and witness the wonders of Glasglow.
If you enjoyed this blog and would like to leave a small donation – click the coffee cup below.