Glasgow Gallivanting: June 2019

Monzie Castle

Despite a wet forecast earlier in the week, the first day of June, a Saturday, turned out to be a good one. We headed for Perthshire to two castles with lovely gardens. One is above, and the other – well, wait for the full post to follow soon!

Lambhill Stables

The second of June was less good so we settled for one of our local canal walks, eastwards this time to Lambhill Stables and Possil Loch. The Stables were built around 1830 when horses pulling barges were the main means of moving goods along the canal. Today they have been restored as a community facility with a café, heritage displays, and a garden. The Stables are closed on Sundays, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see. We enjoyed a stroll round the Community Garden which has some interesting sculptures.

Possil Loch is a nature reserve which we walked round, but it’s very marshy and you don’t get close to the loch itself. The best view is actually from Lambhill’s garden. On previous visits, we had to peer through the hedge. This time, there was an official gap with an information board explaining the same view in Roman times. The route of the Antonine Wall, the Empire’s northernmost outpost, is very close.

On another, solo, walk I went to find the new statue of architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh which was unveiled last year. Well not find exactly, as I knew exactly where it was and had walked past it before but without time to stop. For those who know the Falkirk Kelpies, Andy Scott sculpted both them and this statue. It’s in a part of Glasgow called Finnieston which, as far as I know, has no specific connection to CRM, nor does the new housing development it fronts come anywhere near him for architectural flair. But for whatever reason it’s there, I like it – although I do wonder why his wife, Margaret MacDonald, could not be included. As Mackintosh said, she had genius whereas he had only talent. Yeah, I know I said that last week too but it can’t be repeated often enough in my opinion.

On the way home through Kelvingrove Park I stopped at Lord Kelvin’s statue, one I know well – but not with a traffic cone on his head! If you have been following me for a while, you might remember my Gallus Glasgow A-Z Challenge a few years ago. ‘W’ featured the permanently be-coned statue of the Duke of Wellington. ‘K’ was for Kelvin – the river and all things named after it, including physicist William Thomson, Lord Kelvin. It seems the cones are spreading!

Lord Kelvin joins the Traffic Cone Set

We have a new public art trail in Glasgow at the moment – in fact it’s nationwide, covering Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness as well. Oor Wullie is an iconic comic strip figure who has appeared in the Sunday Post since 1937 with his spiky hair, dungarees, and an upturned bucket, often used as a seat. Now 200 artists have given him a makeover in Oor Wullie’s Big Bucket Trail. In September, all the statues will be auctioned in aid of local children’s hospital charities.

So far, I have bagged quite a few Wullies and will no doubt find more before they disappear from our streets at the end of August. In fact, I spotted my first one before the trail even began. Late one night, we were waiting for a taxi outside Central Station and saw him being delivered. I met him again a few days later.

The Wullie in the collage below could almost serve as Scottish Word of the Month, but I’ve already written that bit! Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye (what’s meant for you won’t pass you by) is by Natasha Zelen Forrest.

And what was I saying before about the Duke of Wellington and his cone? Triple whammy below! Wellington, his horse Copenhagen, and Wullie all have cones.

In addition, there are over 300 Wee Wullies painted by local schoolchildren. I found these cheeky chappies in the Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens.

I’ll leave Wullie there for the moment, but he will no doubt appear in future months’ Gallivanting posts as I collect more. A more sombre piece of street sculpture appeared temporarily in St Enoch’s Square. Rubble Theatre by Syrian-German artist Manaf Halbounis recreated a scene from war-torn Syria where he lived as a child, and was part of Refugee Festival Scotland. Halbounis hoped to make people think about the issues around forced migration. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in conditions like this – I’m grateful I don’t have to.

Also part of Refugee Festival Scotland was the Refuweegee exhibition at Kelvingrove, a section of which is shown below. Refuweegee is a community charity which makes up welcome packs, including letters from the locals, for forcibly displaced people arriving in Glasgow. The name is a combination of refugee and Weegie, a shortened form of Glaswegian. I’m glad to know that my city is (mostly) welcoming to refugees.

Refuweegee could also be a Scottish Word of the Month, but here’s the one I prepared earlier. I don’t think I’ve ever discussed the meaning of Glasgow before. It’s thought to derive from the Gaelic Glaschu which, roughly, means green place – and that still describes it. We are the UK’s second greenest city with 32% green space, only beaten by (gulp) Edinburgh with 49%. The scenes below are both about 10 minute’s walk from my house in the west end of the city, the Botanic Gardens and the Forth and Clyde Canal respectively.

Finally on Glasgow, a word about pronunciation which visitors often get wrong. The ow in Glasgow rhymes with “oh” and not with the ow sound as in “ouch”. In Glaswegian it often comes out Glesga. So now you know!

And finally, finally – an unexpected meeting. The women’s history walk season is well under way, and on Saturday I was one of the guides on the Women’s Library Merchant City Walk. As you can see it was wet! We had the full gamut of weather from sunshine to thunderstorms, but that’s Glasgow for you.

It was a lovely surprise when one of the attendees turned out to be Natalie, pictured with me above, of Wednesday’s Child. Natalie is a Glaswegian but now lives in Manchester, so although we’ve chatted online we’ve never met in person before – next time, we’ll have to make it a proper scheduled meet-up when we can chat properly.

So who can believe we are now half way through the year? Here’s to July – may it bring you all you wish for including, if you live in the UK, summer. She has tantalised us with brief glimpses but doesn’t seem to want to stay.


  1. Hi Annabel! I like to ride my bike on the canal – I pass the Lambhill Stables and I have tried to walk the nature area….very, very marshy. I haven’t actually gone into the garden at Lambhill but now I have a reason to! That is once I am back on my bike, I’m recovering from ligament surgery and it’s a bit of a slog. Coffee? My treat this time!


  2. That rubble sculpture looks so thought provoking. I wonder if it’ll be there this weekend? I’m thinking of popping over to Glasgow. I actually forgot I should be on the hunt for Oor Wullies while I’m there too – I’ve been spotting them all over Edinburgh, and even stumbled across the one at North Berwick the other week. 😀


  3. Love the funky sculpture and that cone on the head of one of the statues is kind of funny, I have to admit. And then there were more. 🙂 The Wullie walk and colorful statues are another fun addition to the Glasgow scenery and shows a sense of humor. Too bad it’s only a temporary appearance.

    Have a wonderful summer, with plenty of blue skies, Anabel! I can’t believe the year has half passed already either! I’m slowly catching up on blog reading after a few weeks without time and internet…


  4. Love the Wullie statues, not heard of them before. Glasgow is looking better and better but we’ve never made it there unfortunately. perhaps that means we need another trip up North next year?


  5. I love the little robot guy in the garden! I remember Wellington and his cone well, but I have to wonder what happened when the cone thing first started. Did someone keep removing the cone, and someone else kept replacing it, or did they just let it stay from the start? Is someone actually buying the cones, or just taking them off the road? They look too clean to have been used!


    • The council kept removing it to start with, but it kept reappearing. Now I think it has given up. Sometimes there are embellishments, hats, scarfs etc. When the Olympic gold post boxes came out he had a gold cone. That wasn’t lifted from the road! I have seen videos of people climbing up and it looks highly dangerous to me.

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  6. The Oor Wullie’s look like fun! I wonder if there is a prize for spotting them all. 😉 I first remember reading him (and The Broons) in my Gran’s Sunday Post – I would eagerly pick up the paper and turn to the centre pages when we went to visit her on a Sunday.
    I’m often trying to explain how to pronounce Glasgow correctly, but even when I say it in my own Scottish accent, some folks still struggle to get it right!


    • I don’t know if there’s a prize – you get little rewards when you enter some of them in the app. I loved Oor Wullie and the Broons too. I’ve had one confession to mispronunciation in the comments, but I bet there are more not owning up!


  7. You’ve had a very busy and fun-filled month, Anabel. So cool that you were able to meet Natalie from Wednesday’s Child. I LOVE blogger meet-ups – both planned and spontaneous.
    I also enjoyed the Wullie figures and look forward to seeing more in future posts.