Did you picnic at The Plum? Watch processions come down the Old Coffin Road?

Maybe you remember the legendary Misses Kincaid, who once owned the Red Tub Tea Rooms?

Or perhaps you recall the old foundries in Kirkintilloch, or the time (right up until 1968) when Kirkintilloch was dry?

The rich and varied history of East Dunbartonshire’s towns and villages is slowly being brought to life in an illuminating series of heritage, arts and sculpture trails across the region.

Trails and Tales, created by East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture (EDLC) Trust, is a programme uniting artists, groups and residents to celebrate local history.

The ideas for the routes and places visited have grown from the communities themselves, including Twechar, Torrance, Milton of Campsie, Lennoxtown, Lenzie, Kirkintilloch, Bishopbriggs, Auchinairn, Baldernock, Bearsden, Westerton and Milngavie.

Work will begin this month on 40 artworks, including a mixture of sculpture, heritage films and artworks attached to existing buildings, along 11 trails across the region.

Examples include a unique tree installation at Kilmardinny House, replicating a Lennox Castle window at Lennoxtown Community Hub, and film projections at Kirkintilloch Town Hall and Bearsden Community Hub.

The project is due to be completed by March and once work has finished on the heritage routes they will include wayfinding and QR codes, engaging people with local stories as they walk.

Trails and Tales has been two years in the making and has involved people of all ages, in care homes, sheltered housing, community groups, schools and nurseries.

At a Torrance and Baldernock event, local people turned out in force to share their memories of favourite picnic spot The Plum, the fairy glen, and local trails including the Old Coffin Road and the Artist’s Walk,

Councillor Jim Gibbons, Convener of East Dunbartonshire Council’s Place, Neighbourhood and Corporate Assets Committee, said: “The Trails and Tales programme - supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, East Dunbartonshire Council and Creative Scotland - will create a series of outdoor sculptural arts and heritage trails across East Dunbartonshire.

“A huge amount of work has been carried out by the Trails and Tales team within local communities and it will be very interesting to see how the project develops as the artworks are installed.”

Sandy Marshall, Chair of EDLC Trust, said: “I am delighted that so many people from local communities have been helped to engage with artists in new and innovative ways.

“The heritage learning is also very apparent, particularly in the school environment with teachers applying some of the artists’ practices to their own teaching methods.”

The 13 artists working with Trails and Tales include Alex Allan, Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva, Jacqueline Donachie, Katja Larsson, Marion Smith and Rachel Barron.

Other Trails and Tales projects include stone carving, metal forging and photography and the exhibition, 110 Objects of East Dunbartonshire, provided a fantastic insight into local heritage at the Auld Kirk Museum in Kirkintilloch.

It covered a host of fascinating characters from the area, including Rita Cowan, the muse of Japanese whisky, and Robert Lille, who left his estate for the building and furnishing of the Lille Art Gallery in Milngavie.

Rita was born in Kirkintilloch in 1896. She fell in love with Masataka Takersuru, a Japanese Glasgow University student, who, through his studies in organic chemistry had become fascinated with the secrets of making whisky.

The couple moved to Japan, where Masataka opened a distillery and founded Nikka whisky, with great support from his wife. She faced difficult times as a Westerner in Japan during the Second World War and her story featured on Japanese television and in Japanese Penthouse.

For more information on the routes and artists visit or e-mail