Illuminations enchant visitors to the Electric Glen festival

The prospect of walking around a park on a night of torrential rain in February is not a very appealing thought.

It’s so dark you can barely see your feet move in front of one another and so wet that even an umbrella, hood and welly boots can’t cut it.

But what if the muddy route could take you past a colourful collection of Chinese lanterns, an enchanted waterfall and performers acting out stories from the park’s past?

That’s the concept behind the Electric Glen, an illuminated trail around the picturesque Rouken Glen in East Renfrewshire.

Within days of it going on sale more than 7000 people snapped up tickets to the sensory experience for all ages and interests.

And due to demand, East Renfrewshire Council had to add an extra day and release extra tickets.

Thousands of eager visitors and adventurers looked out their waterproofs for the preview on February 13.

Councillor Jim Fletcher, the leader of the local authority, explained: "Rouken Glen is such a wonderful park with the waterfalls we felt to do something in the central belt would be really welcome. It really lends itself well to this type of event with the waterfalls and trails through the park.

"It’s obviously a new initiative and we weren’t sure how popular it would be when in fact we sold over 10,000 tickets, and sold out within days.

"We could have sold the tickets three or four times over so we’ll see how it goes this year. If it’s a success, and I hope it will be, we’ll try and make it bigger and better next year and try and make it an annual event in the park."

The event runs between 5.30pm and 8.30pm until Sunday, February 17.

Rouken Glen

The trail itself starts at the boating lake where moments from the past and present have been illuminated on the pond and then moves along to the dramatic lights of the waterfall.

The walk makes its way down to the glen where the ancient landscapes and stone formations come to the fore with "19th century chemist" and businessman Walter Crum on hand to explain some of the geological sights.

The Rouken Players have also been brought back for the first time since 1910 and have been performing extracts to visitors at the base of the glen. The adventure comes to a climax by walking up the devil’s stair case.

The project was devised as part East Renfrewshire Council's A Place to Grow campaign, aimed at encouraging people to visit the area. The illuminations have been brought to life by Northumberland project and production management company Culture Creative.

The team spent one week installing the projections and lighting at the 140 acre park and have been working with the council, park staff the Rouken Glen Model Boat Club and Friends of Rouken Glen Park to create the sound strands and make the festival a full sensory experience. The dramatic extracts were performed by the Walking Theatre Company.

Creative producer Zoë Bottrell, explained: "It’s a beautiful site and the route that we’ve got is a wonderful mixture of quite a formal pond which is nice and structured with nice tarmac paths and then down through the most wonderful waterfall to the glen, and you really feel like you’re in the countryside.

"This weather isn’t really helping us at this moment but it will fill the waterfall up and it will just become more and more dramatic and that in the darkness is a completely sensory experience compared to you seeing it during the day.

"It’s an old cliché but I think people want to see a place that they know in a brand new light.

"It’s a place that’s obviously loved by lots and lots of people near and far. It’s very well known, lots of people use it during the day - we know that just from being here the last week setting up.

"I think that has really struck a chord in their own imaginations to see if it can really live up to a really different way of experiencing their own local park."

For more information go to the Electric Glen website.

Video by Ian Hendry.

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