Sunday 6th December was the date of this year’s annual Santa Dash through the streets of Glasgow city centre. For about an hour, or so, the streets of the Dear Green Place turn into a sea of red and white.
Assembling around George Square, some 6,000: men; women; children; and even the occasional dog, all clad in their Santa Claus costumes, initially ascended the steep hill on St Vincent Street. Once over the apex, the Santas are rewarded with a downhill section before turning left, down Finnieston Street, and left again, along Anderson Quay and the Broomilaw. With the Clyde on their right hand side, they make their way back to George Square, via Queen Street.
In, surprisingly, decent weather conditions, I stationed myself near the top of St Vincent Street. A great vantage point, as I sought to capture an iconic photo of one of Glasgow’s main thoroughfares turning into a sea of red and white.
Unfortunately, the street is so named to commemorate another sea of red, the Battle of Cape St Vincent, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. Following the 1796 decision of Spain, to ally itself with France, the British Fleet, under Admiral Sir John Jervis, blockaded Spain in 1797, in order to stop them trading with their American colonies. The Spanish Fleet responded and the two navies fought it out on the 14th of February, of that year. Whilst Sir John, aboard the HMS Victory, defeated the larger Spanish Fleet, it was not without loss. Seventy three members of the British Royal Navy lost their lives, 227 sustained serious injuries and a further 100 minor injuries. The loss to the Spanish was even greater, with some 1,000 being killed or wounded and a further 3,000 taken prisoner. One of the four vessels captured by the British was the San Nicolas, which alone suffered 144 casualties. Whilst the British renamed the vessel HMS San Nicolas and three years later turned it into a prison ship, San Nicolas himself would later metamorphose into Santa Claus.
I had loads of friends participating in the Santa Dash but it wasn’t easy to spot them, adorned in their Santa suits and many of their faces covered by long white beards. The STV camera operator, who joined me at the top of the hill, informed me he was also covering the race Finish,in George Square. He suggested that he would have about 30 minutes to get there, I advised him that the winners would probably get there in around 18 minutes. Yes, even in those costumes. I was proved correct, when father and son, Richard and Kieran Cooper, completed the 5k course, in times of 18:12 and 18:36 respectively, but today was more about having a good time and, hopefully, my photos will give you a sense of the fun that the 6,000 Santas had on their annual Dash.
My Santa Dash Photos are here