Glasgow's Hidden Water Paradise

What’s on the other side of the M8?

When I say ‘other side’ I mean the side that’s not Glasgow City Centre.

I took a stroll over to other side last week and I found lots of warehouses, a canal and that was about it

Well, except for the incredible Pinkston Watersports centre that offers an incredible array of watersports activities from kayaking and white water rafting team building activities – with raft building and zorbing coming later this year.

I had no idea a place like this existed within 5 miles of Buchanan Galleries never mind 5 minutes.

I was a little skeptical when I first found out the location of Pinkston, I thought to myself ‘what level of watersports can you really do just outside the city centre?’.

You need to drive for hours and do a 4 hour gorge walk before you can get to a spot where you can some real watersports don’t you?

Isn’t the water going to be, to put it in classic Glaswegian terms, ‘manky’?

I had images in my head of a day out at Pinkston being the equivalent putting a garden slide in your paddling pool as opposed to going to a proper water park with towering flumes, wave pools and diving boards.

I was wrong (yet again).

First off, the water is bathing quality so, if you think you are going to have to kayak through shopping trolleys and glass bottles of irn-bru then you can rest easy.

This is no different than kayaking through the water that flows through the glens of our amazing countryside.

Pinkston has both a flat water basin and a white water course so whether you fancy a casual paddle or an exhilarating white water ride, Pinkston has you covered.  

If you want to do some kayaking or canoeing then Pinkston is the ideal place for you, they offer a safe, clean and fun environment for you to learn in and are able to offer some of the highest quality teaching you can get through their partners at Outdoor Pursuits Scotland.

Kayak clubs also operate onsite which is a great option if you are new to the activity (not to mention it’s a fraction of the normal cost).

The kayaking and canoeing alone were enough to change my skeptical mind however, this was just the tip of the iceberg.

Pinkston also offer some amazing group day out activities that are sure to deliver thrills, spills and plenty of laughs.

Fancy going down white water rapids in a 6 person raft?

What about building your own raft as a group and then testing it on the water? Just like Tom Hanks in Castaway except Wilson won’t float away into the open ocean so there will be no tears.

In amongst my amazement at all this site has to offer, and the amazing work they have put in over the four years they have been open, I realised what really sets Pinkston apart.

It’s the location.

Now, I know I have already mentioned the location but think about the logistics of doing these sorts of activities anywhere else with your friends or work colleagues.

That usually involves a long drive on a mini-bus followed by a long journey back to get to a pub or a restaurant.

You can do all these incredible water sports at Pinkston and take the 5 minute drive, or 15 minute walk, into the city centre where you can fill your boots with pubs and restaurants galore.

This takes away all the stresses and logistical challenges of organising a group day out and allows you to focus on having a great time and planning the pub crawl for afterwards.

Another thing that I was really impressed with was the social enterprise aspect of Pinkston.

They are very involved in after school clubs, community groups and charity work which is highly commendable and I hope they get the chance to continue to grow that side of their business.

So, the next time you have a works day out, a day out with friends or if you want to try out some water sports in a clean, safe and fun environment then you need look no further than the other side of the M8 and Pinkston Watersports.


You can find more information about Pinkston on their website and also by following them on Facebook & Twitter.


Written by Chris Burns, performance coach and published fitness writer.