A brief walk this afternoon along the Kelvin at the Glasgow Vet School stretch (Garscube) showed just what the online water level gauges were saying only in a much more graphic way. Albeit a relatively new angler to the River Kelvin I don’t remember ever seeing the river just so low. On almost every stretch you could easily paddle across, except of course for the two deep holes on this stretch. On this subject I came across two teenage boys swimming and having fun at the top pool and in talking with them I explained that I didn’t wish to spoil their fun in any way but that they should be aware that the pool that they were swimming in became suddenly very deep within just a few steps therefore they should take care. I showed them the area in question and they seemed genuinely grateful. They asked about fish in the river and didn’t know that this was the River Kelvin. I bored them further by explaining the type of fish “normally” found and where the river ran before joining the Clyde at the Riverside Museum before wishing them well and heading back downstream towards the bridge and playing field section.
Passing the “Pool with the Sandy Beach” (aka Dead Man’s Pool: no disrespect for the souls lost) I nodded to a Mum with two you children playing on the sand. Continuing downstream to the end of the playing field stretch I couldn’t help notice the amount of weed that had accumulated since my last visit and fly session for trout session, hardly surprising I suppose given the low water and strong sunlight. Plenty of small rises in the normal runs and glides but no river monsters.
As I approached the “Pool with the Sandy Beach” once more on my return leg I was shocked to see one of the wee lads in the water at this very pool.
As I reached their picnic spot I said to the Mum that this was an extremely deep pool with undertow and I pointed at where the water suddenly became dark close to the water’s edge then this was a steep drop-off. I apologetically explained that I had no desire to spoil their afternoon or fun but I was really concerned at their chosen paddling and swimming area and a brief outline of the previous fatalities whilst I glanced at the empty lifebelt station beside us. She asked where would be better and safer for the children and I pointed out a few areas slightly downstream. She thanked me and immediately made to pack up and move.
I understand that it is the season and the weather for kids swimming in rivers, lochs or reservoirs, I did so myself. However once again this afternoon reminded me of the continued absence of any lifebelts on this stretch of river with it’s widely known dangerous pools that have already claimed several lives. The current very hot weather, the absence of these lifebelts and the lack of any warning signs indicating dangerous areas seemed to me like the “perfect storm”. I am sure I speak for all when I say that I have wish to read or hear of yet a further fatality that perhaps could have been avoided whilst there are measures available to help avoid or reduce the likelyhood of such accidents. I know from previous enquiries and emails to Glasgow University Estates Office that there are now lifebelts and other equipment within the security office. However given the distances and delays involved between theses areas and the Security Office I can see no real benefit of this equipment even where security were alerted to an emergency.
Apologies for descending into a melancholy note on what should have been a mere summary of river level conditions but far too often accidents or fatalities are wrongly labelled being due to “human error” or “unavoidable”. Here is a case where the risks are well known and fatal outcomes proven yet even the most simple measures to mitigate the risks or likelyhood continue to be ignored.
Returning to angling then “bring on the rain!”……forecast is rain for Friday but how much?