DENISE MINA, AUTHOR

Where is it?

Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow.

Why do you go there?

In the early days of the Year of Sundays – as lockdown felt for many of us – when we were not to stray too far from home and time beyond the front door was time-limited, I got to know Kelvingrove Park in a completely new way.

How did you discover it?

I've always known the park. When young, I hung out on what we called Hamburger Hill – this generation call it The Beach. It is a long, smooth stretch of south-facing grass that gets the sun all day. It's a promenading point, a place where young people go to sit and check each other out.

HeraldScotland: Author Denise MinaAuthor Denise Mina

I never felt very comfortable there. I burn very easily and the other young people were intimidatingly together and good looking. I smoked very heavily at the time and needed cups of tea and a loo and something to read. Also, a notepad and maybe a cushion. Maybe the outdoors wasn't for me.

What are your favourite memories?

Since then, I've known the park for its uses, as somewhere to walk the dog or take the children to the swing park, a place to run down hill on the bogie we built or as a route to primary school.

READ MORE: Castaway returns: Ben Fogle on his new TV series celebrating Scotland's islands

But since lockdown I feel I've seen it for the first time. The random groups of dog walkers checking up on one another by shouting across paths every morning. The family of herons down by the old mill on the Kelvin. The smell of wild garlic by the river.

What draws you back?

It's the stillness that has changed everything. I travel a lot with work but, being in one place and going there every morning, I've seen a continuity in the park I never would have otherwise.

The uncoupled seat of an orange plastic chair has been working its way down the river, shoved by floods and fallen trees, and now it has made its way to the Island of Sticks behind Otago Street.

HeraldScotland: Author Denise Mina and her dog Ruby in Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow on Boxing Day last year. Picture: Gordon Terris/The HeraldAuthor Denise Mina and her dog Ruby in Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow on Boxing Day last year. Picture: Gordon Terris/The Herald

How have you seen the park evolve?

For a short season, teen gangs gathered to drink and fight and cry until their makeup ran in wild rivers down their faces and they got huckled and had to call their mums from the backs of vans. They migrated, moved on through a process of policing, locked gates and CCTV. I don't know where they went. Perhaps we should have chipped them.

The cuts in council funding has meant that parts of the park are no longer manicured: the herb garden has been allowed to run to meadow and the insects are delighted to the verge of smug.

READ MORE: Author Denzil Meyrick on a special corner of the Kintyre peninsula he has loved since childhood

What else makes it special?

Unseen hands built a cairn on the flood plain of the river, only to have it washed away in heavy rain. When it is washed away, they come back and rebuild. I like to think it's a reminder of someone or something important and neither snow nor rain can take the memory of them or their time.

Rizzio by Denise Mina is published by Polygon, priced £10