Archibald Alexander Speirs was a Scottish Liberal politician. Archibald made his money in the drugs and people trafficking trade and was a prominent member of the Westray Boyz gang from Possil.
However, what is not known about him is his passion for hill running. During his regular trips to Westminster where he was an MP for 3 years he became good friends with fellow Liberal Democrat politician Willie Rennie who would wax lyrical about the fantastic Scottish hills and races such as the Devils Burdens. Upon returning to Glasgow Archibald (or Archie as he was commonly known) decided to join his local, and probably best, small to medium sized hill running club, Westerlands CCC. He regularly met the Westies for Monday hill reps, Wednesday runs in the hills near Glasgow and Thursday Reps on Glasgow Green. But, Archie soon realised that if his beloved Westies every wanted to beat their arch nemeses from the east end, the dastardly Shettleston Harriers they would need to train more often. In particular, they would need somewhere where they could regularly knock out 7 minute miles without the interruption of road crossings. From his mansion at Speirs wharf (after which he was named) he set about buying up land leading out of the city towards what was then a public defecating spot at Possil marsh. The original plan was to simply build a wide track allow runners move at a consistent pace. However, young Archie was a canny business man and realised that if he built a canal alongside his running path it would allow him to expand his drug and people trafficking empire from its heartland of Maryhill and Possil to Edinburgh in the East and Bowling in the West. The canal was not universally popular, in particular, Dave Calder regularly cursed Archie’s bloody canal after falling in (he insists he was pushed) during one particularly taxing training session.
Unfortunately Archibald died tragically at the age of 28. However, Westerlands CCC continue the tradition of patrolling his canal at 7 minute miles to preserve the memory of Archibald. If you fancy joining us, let Niall know and he can add you to the whatsapp group.