One of the strongest points of the Glasgow 2014 hosting bid was the mix of new, purpose built venues and the usage of existing venues that have been refurbished, changed to suit or otherwise upgraded to reach expected international standards. The venues are as different as the sports that they’re hosting so a few general hints and tips might well be useful to spectators making their way to Glasgow this summer.
For the most part, the venues are highly accessible and have excellent facilities for use by everyone. Able Magazine was invited to take a tour of some of the key venues (in and around the centre of Glasgow).
Each of the venues will have slightly different levels of access and provision so we’ve put together some general advice for spectators:
Safety and Security
Most of the venues and in particular, those within the city of Glasgow, will have a security cordon placed around them. This will affect people that had hoped to drive to the venues since many of them do not have drop-off points or on-site car-parking for the duration of the Games.
Airport style security
This isn’t unusual at big events so expect to take a bit of time to get through the gates. The organisers suggest taking just one bag per person (which should have soft sides and be able to fit underneath your seat) as well as limiting drinks to 500ml (there is a limit of 100ml for alcoholic drinks) with a ban on glass.
Public transport Games
Glasgow 2014 is aiming to be a carbon neutral Games and to this end are promoting it as the ‘Public Transport Games’. Lots of the roads around the major venues will be shut except for Games vehicles which will include ordinary public transport options (subject to special timetables) and accessible shuttle buses etc. Every venue has its own transport options so it’s well worth downloading the information found at: www.glasgow2014.com/games/venues. Each venue has a specific guide providing detailed information on travel options, access and facilities.
To plan your route to the venues, download the Traveline Scotland Journey Planning app: travelscotland.com
(Some Games tickets include free travel in specific areas.)
As in other parts of the country, rail assistance is available to help you to get to the venues by train. Booking is highly recommended.
ScotRail Assisted Travel Helpline: 0800 9122901
To book accessible facilities call: 0800 4584444 (Textphone: 0800 8778844)
The SPT subway in Glasgow is not considered accessible at all. People with mobility impairments that want to go to venues such as Kelvingrove and Ibrox should look at other transport options.
Parking areas around transport hubs are likely to be very busy. It may be a good idea to book a taxi to take you to the venue shuttle bus. Glasgow Taxis have an entirely accessible fleet.
Tel: 0141 4297070
Most of the venues can be reached by shuttle bus services from transport hubs. Mobility scooters cannot access the buses.
The venue guides include maps that point out public transport options as well as walking and cycling routes. They also indicate the secure areas around the venues to help plan taxi drop-off and collection points.
Even amongst the older venues, access is well planned, although it is a good idea to read the official information before you arrive since there are differences between venues. For instance, a few have different entrances and exits for wheelchair users. See the detailed venue information at: www.glasgow2014.com/games/venues as well as: www.glasgow2014.com/accessibility.
Note that some venues are more accessible than others or are further away from the transport hubs. Venues have different levels of service provision including wheelchair loans and wheelchair pushing services. At Barry Buddon Shooting Centre, for example, a buggy will take mobility impaired people from the transport hubs to the venues because of the distances involved. (200 specially trained volunteers have been recruited to work across all of the venues specifically to help and advise disabled people. They’ll be wearing green shirts.)
At some of the venues, only spectators with an ‘accessible ticket’ can bring a wheelchair into the seating area. All other ticket holders with wheelchairs, prams or pushchairs must use the storage facility. (Check the venue guides.)
All of the venues have accessible toilet facilities and several have disability friendly changing spaces. (Each venue guide has full details.)
Concession stands including those selling food and event programmes will only be able to accept cash. With this in mind, take enough to cover public transport tickets and snacks. (Merchandise kiosks do accept various credit and debit cards.)
Ticket sales have been a huge success and every venue is likely to be busy. Build in time to get to your seats (including time to queue for transport tickets and to get through security).
Not only should you plan your journey properly in advance but you should also have a preferred meeting point agreed by members of your party for if anyone gets separated from the group. There are lost and found points at venues for people and property and plenty of volunteers to show you where to go and what to do if you find yourself lost.
Re-entry to venues
Dress for the weather. Some venues like Barry Buddon Shooting Centre are largely open to the skies and not all venues can provide a pass-out re-entry system so you should be sure to take everything you might need for the day. (There are no cloakrooms at venues.)
Barry Buddon Shooting Centre, Carnoustie
The centre is one of the satellite venues, located on the east coast of Scotland. All of the shooting events will be held here. The walking distance from the transport hubs is particularly long but a buggy will be available for people with impaired mobility. (The full bore firing range is standing only.)
Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails
The nature of the event means that the bike trails are situated on varied terrain. There are designated accessible viewing areas at the start and finish. Cathkin Braes is situated on the south side of the city.
Celtic Park, Opening Ceremony
The surrounds of Celtic Park, which sits opposite the Emirates Arena have recently been refurbished making them more pedestrian friendly and generally accessible. The stadium itself is one of the finest in the UK and has a reputation for being one of the loudest.
Glasgow National Hockey Centre, Glasgow Green
The city’s oldest public park now boasts one of the newest sporting centres in the region. The Glasgow National Hockey Centre has been specially built to host the Glasgow 2014 hockey competition, and consists of two synthetic hockey pitches, as well as athlete and official support areas. Glasgow Green will also host the start and finish points of the marathon and the road cycling and time trial events and is the closest venue to Glasgow city centre.
Hampden Park, Athletics and Closing Ceremony
Hampden has seen a huge transformation in readiness for Glasgow 2014. The playing surface has been raised by 1.9 metres in order to make it suitable to host international standard track and field events. As the home of the national football team, Hampden Park is a revered place not just for Glaswegians but for all Scots. It will host the Closing Ceremony.
There is a steep hill on the way into Hampden Park. Volunteers will be on hand to assist spectators with limited mobility.
Ibrox, Rugby Sevens
Ibrox stadium provides the setting for the rugby sevens competition (a truncated form of rugby union). The stadium is well appointed and is noted for its intimate and sometimes intense atmosphere. Many spectators will access the venue via the Ibrox Subway station (unfortunately the Subway is not accessible).
Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre
The Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre provides one of the most graceful settings of the Games. The lawn bowls competition will take place in the shadow of the stunning Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and overlooked by the equally spectacular Victorian edifice of Glasgow University. Additional seating has been installed specifically for the Games. (Again, spectators should note that the nearby Subway is not accessible.)
Royal Commonwealth Pool, Edinburgh, Diving
The Royal Commonwealth Pool has an already impressive Commonwealth Games pedigree having hosted events for both the Games of 1970 and 1986. The venue has again undergone significant refurbishment in order to meeting international standards. (Tollcross Pool in Glasgow does not have a diving pool facility.)
Scotstoun Sports Campus, Squash and Table Tennis
The multi-faceted Scotstoun Sports Campus will form one of the precincts of the Games, hosting both the squash and table tennis competitions. Curiously, despite housing the National Badminton Academy it will not host the badminton competition (see Emirates Arena).
Scotstoun has six new permanent squash courts and at Games time will feature a glass-walled show court. The table tennis competition will take place in eight match courts and two show courts in the Scotsoun precinct.
Strathclyde Country Park, Triathlon
This is another satellite venue, situated 15 miles to the south east of Glasgow city centre. The swimming aspect of the triathlon will take place in Strathclyde Loch with the cycling and running stages taking place along the surrounding network of roads and pathways. The course has been upgraded for the Games, leaving a legacy for future events and training.
Tollcross International Swimming Centre
People already familiar with the venue will immediately note that they are entering through what is usually the back wall (with the usual foyer becoming a changing area and back of house). Entry will be from Tollcross Park, which has slight gradients. An accessible buggy will operate from Tollcross Road to the venue.
The venue has been extensively refurbished and extended with the existing 50 metre, 10-lane pool joined by a new 50m, six-lane warm-up and training pool, ensuring world-class facilities for the Games. (The venue has already been tested by hosting international events)
Spectators should note that the atmosphere is warm and humid (so take a t-shirt) and don’t be alarmed if you feel the stand move; apparently it bounces a little bit when things get boisterous.
SECC Precinct, Boxing, Gymnastics, Judo, Netball, Wrestling, Weightlifting/Powerlifting)
The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre Precinct will form the largest venue precinct of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The SECC is also located very close to the city centre and sits on the banks of the River Clyde. The newest addition to the precinct is the SSE Hydro (opened in 2013) boasting cutting edge architectural design by Sir Norman Foster. The SSE Hydro has superb sightlines and plenty of accessible viewing areas on each level.
There will be no access from the existing covered walkway joining Exhibition
Centre Station and the SECC Precinct. If you’re attending an event within one of the SECC Halls, check your ticket to ensure that you’re entering by the correct entrance.
Emirates Arena, Badminton
The Emirates Arena and adjoining Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in the East End of Glasgow form one of the most versatile structures of its kind in Europe. The facilities are genuinely state-of-the-art and include a 250 metre indoor cycle track designed by renowned track designer, Ralph Schuermann and provide a national training centre for athletics, basketball, netball, track cycling and volleyball.
The Emirates Arena will host the badminton competition across its six courts. Whilst the accessible viewing area is at a good height and well positioned to see the action, it’s best to keep fingers off the glass screen in front of your seats since smears and marks will show up in the artificial lights affecting your view.
Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Cycling
Named after the multiple Olympic and Commonwealth Games Champion cyclist, the velodrome will certainly be one of the most intimate arenas in Glasgow this summer. The accessible viewing areas are well placed at the tight ends and almost at track level but be sure to wear layers that you can peel off since the competition temperature is 28°C. Spectators with a wheelchair ticket can bring a wheelchair into the seating area. All other ticketholders with wheelchairs, prams or pushchairs must use the storage facility. Ask a member of staff for assistance. (People with visual impairments should take care since some of the corridors underneath the temporary stands are not brightly lit.)