Sometimes - indeed often - working with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce I get a genuine surprise at what is being achieved in our city in an unexpected corner. Last week was one such example.
Thanks to Stewart Pitt in his role as a volunteer trustee of Glasgow Watersports Limited, we took a group of Chamber members on a Behind the Scenes tour of the Pinkston Watersports Centre at Port Dundas on the Forth and Clyde Canal, next to 100 Borron Street Business Park.
I'm not a natural enthusiast for an early start, so hauling myself into a taxi on a cold, dark December morning to head for Port Dundas wasn't promising, but it turned out to be well worth the effort.
In itself just to say that Glasgow will soon have its very own competition standard watersports centre literally five minutes from the centre of town is pretty remarkable. So too is the fact that it will be the only one of its kind in Scotland.
But we also had an Olympic champion and a World No 1 to give us the tour of the centre and explain the opportunities it offers for kids in Scotland who want to give canoeing and other watersports a try.
Tim Baillie won a gold medal with his partner Etienne Stott at London 2012 in the C-2 canoe slalom event. David Florence is the fresh new 2013 world champion in both the C-1 individual slalom and the C-2 with his partner Richard Hounslow. He is of course also a double Olympic silver medallist, once at Beijing and once in London just behind Tim in the C-2.
Frankly we never tire of meeting folks who are the best in the world at what they do, and both David and Tim give a deeply entertaining commentary on what it takes to be at the top of your chosen sport. The fact that they compete against each other adds an extra touch of spice to the show.
Watching the playback of David's run at Beijing and grasping just how small the margin was between the gold and the silver medal that he won beggars belief. A barely perceptible brush of a slalom pole with his left elbow was all that did it. Lovely guys telling a fascinating tale.
With this endorsement from the very best, we are therefore taking the potential for Pinkston Watersports Centre very seriously. It has firm backing from Scottish Canals and Glasgow City Council and has benefited from support from the Scottish Government's shovel ready programme, as well as from the People's Lottery amongst a number of funders.
From Easter next year we will have a centre that can provide a specially designed whitewater course - essentially the canoe equivalent of an artificial ski slope - with a short course freestyle feature and facilities for canoe polo on a flat water basin. This will all be supported by training rooms, club containers and changing facilities.
Three pumps will send seven tonnes of water whirling down the concrete courses with oversized Lego-like bricks churning up the white water just as you want it. It will be an ideal platform for starting anyone in the world of canoeing and other watersports. And it's all been the work of volunteers.
Stewart Pitt is himself an Olympian, having represented Great Britain at the 1996 Atlanta games. He has helped to make a powerful case for the project and is still searching for the final slugs of money that will finish off the centre to the standard that Glasgow Watersports want. There's already around £3m invested, but your company could help to add those finishing touches, and so I've included contact details at the foot if you want to know more.
There were a few more surprises thrown in. Start a watersports centre in the heart of Glasgow and suggestions for what else it can do come thick and fast. Already, for example, Scottish Fire and Rescue will be using it for underwater rescue training and have a car already available for placing in the water. And since the water in the centre will be fresh and clean, open water swimmers have expressed a desire to use the flat water basin when the canoe polo players aren't using it.
Sadly canoeing is not a Commonwealth Games sport - both Tim and David would be prime candidates for Scottish gold - but once 2014 is over and done the Pinkston Watersports Centre will remain, another jewel in our fast expanding portfolio of sporting facilities.
I'm looking forward to cashing in my free ticket for a test run down the whitewater course - probably in July!
- Stewart Pitt can be contacted by emailing email@example.com