A weekend without rain!

In honour of a weekend of glorious weather, I’m taking a break from my holiday diary to add some pictures of Scotland basking under blue skies. It doesn’t happen often enough.

The Glasgow Alphabet Map

Through social media, I’d been aware of Rosemary Cunningham’s gorgeous Glasgow Alphabet posters for some time. I just hadn’t got round to buying any yet. Sorry Rosie! Then I read that she was creating a map and was looking for people to talk about their memories of the various letters. As J was for Jordanhill (the Campus where I used to work) I jumped at the chance and some of my words now adorn the back of the map. Rosie has also been offering guided walks through the summer, and on Saturday John and I joined her and eight other people to stroll through Glasgow from the Lighthouse to the People’s Palace, both of which I’ve written about before. Some of the letters, such as W for Wellington, were exhibited on the Lighthouse windows – I love that the People make Glasgow slogan on City of Glasgow College is clearly visible too. On one of our first stops, we met the Wellington statue for real. The cone is a Glasgow tradition, though his horse doesn’t always join in.

Glasgow Alphabet exhibition
Glasgow Alphabet exhibition
Duke of Wellington and cone
Duke of Wellington and cone

Just a few of the other stops are shown below….

…. and we added some of our own sites on our way back to the Subway. The kelpie sits atop the Briggait, the mural represents the Year of the Tiger 2010 (commissioned by Tiger Beer) and the statue is La Pasionaria, a heroine of the Spanish Civil War. She is one of only three statues of real women (as opposed to idealised muses) in Glasgow: the others are Queen Victoria (and doesn’t everyone have one of her?) and 19th century philanthropist Isabella Elder. See Isabella on my Elder Park post.

You can find out more about Rosie’s work on her website, and she also has an Etsy shop where you can buy the maps. Although the current season of walks is over, she is doing one for Doors Open Day next month. Booking opens on the 27th, so get in quick – it’s great!

Fast Castle

On Sunday, we headed over to Berwickshire on the East Coast. I’d read about Fast Castle on Undiscovered Scotland and was keen to see it. There’s not much of it left – you hike down for three-quarters of a mile to a rocky promontory with a few ruins clinging to it – but the walk was beautiful with a new view at every turn. The sea really was that blue and the heather was even more purple.

Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII’s sister, stayed here on her way to marry James IV in 1503. We amused ourselves on the way back imagining the reaction to Fast Castle of a girl (she was only about 14) brought up at the Tudor court – and pitied her.


We pressed on to the village of Coldingham for a late lunch (thumbs up to the New Inn) and a quick walk round the priory ruins and parish church before heading for our final destination, St Abb’s Head.

St Abb’s Head

We spent about two hours on a circular walk here, another beautiful spot.

When we were at Fast Castle we noticed a helicopter hovering and a lifeboat circling, but we thought they might just be on an exercise. By the time we got to St Abb’s there were several more boats combing the sea and it was obvious something was wrong. Apparently, a group of divers went out on Sunday morning and one failed to resurface. The search has resumed today (Monday) and, as I write, the diver is still missing.  This tragedy (I can’t see a good outcome) cast a pall over what was otherwise a very happy weekend. My thoughts are still with his / her family.


  1. Such beautiful pictures. Such interesting places to see close to your home. I get frustrated living in Minneapolis. There’s really not many options for places to see close by.


  2. These are beautiful pictures! The one statue-is that a saint with a fish? The old gravestone (gravestone??) looks like a skull and crossbones. the walk must have been beautiful but , where your husband is standing looks ominous to little ole moi:) Happy to hear that you got published in the maps but sad to hear about the diver. It is one thing to hear about it in the news but different when one actually sees what is going on.


    • That’s Glasgow’s patron saint, Mungo. He always appears with a bird, a tree, a bell and a fish, all related to events (myths?) in his life. The search for the diver was called off on Tuesday – very sad.


    • Thanks – it is! But we were so lucky with the weather. Having said that, it would have had another kind of charm in grey weather but I wouldn’t have liked the walk down to the castle in anything other than perfect conditions. Too steep and slippy.