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. Excellent post, but I have to say that I am not a fan of the traffic cones. Wellington – ok – we came to live with that but I don’t find the rest amusing at all. A friend recently toured Dundee and took photographs of all the Wullie statues she found around there. I didn’t know about the Glasgow ones at all. Australians also have a bit of difficulty with Loch and have a habit of adding an R to words that end in W i.e.l Law =Lawr. Nice to have an unexpected meeting. I had one such meeting a few days ago, where we chatted about my boys and my grandson and various things – if only I could remember who he was :o)


    • Ah, thank you for that – ever since Bob commented I’ve been trying to remember what the phrase that annoys me so much with an intrusive “r” is – law and order! Or Laura Norder, whoever she is 😉. We had some warm weather, but nothing like the European heatwave.


  2. Hi Anabel, Your note on the wet forecast reminds why the area is a beautiful green colour. I like how they restore the stables. Very interesting sculptures. The phrase “she had genius whereas he had only talent” is noteworthy. The other phrase that resonates and stands the test of time “what’s meant for you won’t pass you by”. Wullie is new to me although likely not the last time I will see him. Thanks for sharing all:)


  3. A good varied collection. Never knew all those sculptures existed at the stables. Only drawback of Possil Loch is that you can’t see the loch or any wildlife on it- but great for nature that likes real privacy. Hope the cones do not spread anywhere else- one statue is enough. Talking about mispronunciation I’ve lost count of the number of celebrity folk, even Scots but English based who pronounce Loch as Lock Lomond, Lock Ness etc. There was even a recent programme on TV called The Loch but the entire cast pronounced it as The Lock. You would not think it would be hard but I’ve recently realised most English folk are completely incapable of saying loch after I heard a few Welsh folk on TV pronouncing it properly with no hesitation at all as they use the same strong ‘ch’ sounds in their words. Drawer is another one in English as in ‘Let’s all drawer a picture of an apple.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It was lovely to meet you too! And let’s definitely do so again!

    I’ve yet to see the CRM statue, but I agree that it would be nice to see Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh commemorated as equally as her husband. The May Queen is one of my favourite pieces of art.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Snap, I had a thought a while back about doing a post about our time finding big Wullies, one day! What an excellent opportunity to be a guide on the Women’s Library Merchant City Walk, I would follow you 🙂

    Our NZ good friends are having a wonderful time on their road trip up in the Northern reaches of Scotland, and they also enjoyed Glasglow very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What fun the Wullies are. I look forward to seeing more as you find them. And I just love the word and the concept of “Refuweegee”. Well done, Glasgow.


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