Glasgow Gallivanting: July 2021

Eilean Donan Castle

If you have a good memory, you might recognise Eilean Donan Castle from my posts a couple of years ago when we had a lovely holiday in an apartment nearby. Unfortunately, I could not gallivant this far myself in July, but John did. I’ll explain why in a later post: suffice it to say he made me very jealous with some of the photos he sent back.

While John was away, I spent a couple of nights at Mum’s in Paisley. You know how keen on swans I am, so I was pleased to spot this large brood in Durrockstock Park.

Our own swans at Firhill Basin on the Forth and Clyde Canal, though not so numerous, are growing up fast too.

In connected news, I made my first museum visit in over a year, meeting friends from Edinburgh in the People’s Palace. In an exhibition of photographs from 1955 I spotted a picture of the very same Firhill Basin with a pair of swans! I wonder how many generations have passed since then? (Unlike the swans, the bridge is no longer there, having long since been replaced by a modern road bridge.)

Sticking with the canal: on the last weekend of July more new paths opened at the Claypits Nature Reserve, including the fabulous new access point from Garscube Road with quotations from the late Alasdair Gray. On a quiet day when no-one is looking, I might have a go on that big chute.

In July I did my first guided women’s history walk since October 2019. It felt good to be setting off in my suffrage coloured pin and necklace, and even better to talk to a real, live group of people rather than a screen.

I posted a few entries in Becky’s TreeSquare challenge in July, and I was sad to have no spare capacity for Jude’s Life in Colour, which was blue. It was still July when I drafted this part of the post, but life ran away with me and the challenge has now moved on to red for August. However, since they were already prepared, here are my blues anyway. I might even get to red before the end of August!

This new mural off Great Western Road at Woodlands has a lot of blue.

And here is a gallery of blue doors. The first two are square! That’s because I took them two years ago when Becky had a blue squares challenge, but I never got round to taking part. I was pleased to capture the man in the blue T-shirt walking away from the old Police Box (which is still there, and functions intermittently as a takeaway coffee or snack bar). Unfortunately, the lovely blue door at Number Two has now been repainted a much duller black. The other three doors are from various lockdown walks over the last year and a bit.

A sad story now. A few months ago, I did a short series on some of the Glasgow churches that I passed on my lockdown walks. I had a few more churches lined up to write about, including this little beauty.

St Simon’s on Partick Bridge Street is the third oldest Catholic church in Glasgow, dating from 1858 when it was known as St Peter’s. By the turn of the century the congregation had outgrown the church, and in 1903 a new St Peter’s was opened on Hyndland Street. The old St Peter’s served as an extension (known as the Bridge St Chapel) until the Second World War when soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces needed a church. Since then the building has also been known as the Polish Church, as evidenced by the plaques outside, and it was renamed St Simon’s, St Peter’s original name, after the war. Mass continued to be said in Polish each Sunday until last week when this tragedy happened.


An overnight fire almost completely destroyed the church. I don’t think a cause has yet been established but it looks likely to me that it cannot survive, which is awful. It’s such a beautiful building, a last little oasis of history in amongst modern apartment blocks, and means such a lot to the Polish community. The adjoining clergy house, where the church’s keeper was staying, was also damaged but is structurally intact, so it might be salvageable. I do hope so.

For completeness, here is the “new” St Peter’s on Hyndland Street.

Finally, I had a birthday in July! In the first lockdown last year we read about a rum distillery in Partick of all places, and decided to make it the destination of one of our walks. This was slightly disappointing as there was nothing to see but a locked door in a small cluster of industrial units. However, we have now been inside for a tour and tasting, my birthday treat from John, and that was much more interesting. Wester Distillery is a very small company: just the two founders; Ellie, who does the tours; and another employee who does the bottling and packaging for mail order sales.

We enjoyed spiced rum, pineapple rum, coffee rum, and chocolate rum, as well as two cocktails: Pina Colada using pineapple and White Russian using chocolate. Needless to say we came home with a bottle of rum and some cocktail recipes. I shall report back if I’m sober enough. Hic! Enjoy the rest of August.


  1. Oh, I love rum! Especially the flavored kinds you mention. Take me there instead of the whisky distillery, please. 🙂

    So awful about the church. I’m glad you managed to get out and about in person to lead a history tour again, Anabel. And, I’m sure those are not the same swans – in the museum photograph and in real life. 🙂

    Happy belated birthday!! Im glad this one was more pleasing than last year’s.


  2. I’m sorry to read about the church fire. Happy belated birthday – your rum tour sounds almost too appealing! I have only ever been on a beer one which was not much fun, not liking beer. I hope we’ll soon see a picture of you on the water chute.


  3. What an emotional roller-coaster ride this post is. Such a shame you and your Mum couldn’t hop on the back of John’s bike , and the church news is devastating – but yay for blue doors, future slide runs (I’ll join you!) and Birthdays! Wishing you a very happy Belated Bday xxx


  4. How sad to see that lovely building gone. But I enjoyed the rest of your post Anabel. And you featured somewhere we’ve been – Eilean Donan Castle. Mr ET did his Highlander impression (from the movie) on the bridge there, unaware that others were watching. It was funny.


  5. It looks as if you made the most of your time alone! And I’m glad you’re finally able to go out again and meet people in person. It’s been a long haul, hasn’t it?


  6. Oh man, that is hard to see an old building go up in flames. We actually lost one of my favourite buildings here. It was not as nice looking as this church but the history! The old Welland Hotel was actually the end of the Underground Railroad led by Harriet Tubman who made St. Catharines her home. The hotel was a spa because of the underground springs plus big stars stayed there like Grace Kelly. In its late life, students were living there and then developers wanted it. Even though it was an historic landmark, it was never confirmed or whatever. Last year, the preservation society won a stall to having the developers raze it. The historic society was just ready to win when it caught fire and became a 6 alarm blaze! You can find it on YouTube. I know this was arson because this has happened before but they will get away with it. Sorry for going on but it really steams me. On a much nice note, I want to go down that slide! I love the blue door.


  7. The burning down of the Polish church of St. Simon was on the news here in South Australia. Not sure why since we never had a Polish community here. The Rum Distillery came as a bit of a surprise – actually a great surprise – in Partick even – and I wouldn’t mind having a go on the chute myself :o)


  8. A good varied assortment. I’ll need to get out to that claypits area sometime. You got me with Durrockstock Park. Had to look it up and even though I’ve walked across that district several times I never knew it was called that or noticed a park there although I can see five square ponds nearby on map that I’ve never seen before either, probably because they are hidden inside a works compound. Must have a visit there now my curiosity is stirred.


  9. Anabel, it is lovely to go away to celebrate a birthday and sounds like you enjoyed it. Like most “tourists” we too visited that famous castle it seems to have a shroud of cloud over it. Beautiful area of Scotland.


  10. A belated happy birthday to you! I don’t think I could celebrate with Rum, it seems to give me heartburn. 😦 Nice to see you back doing your guide walks again. X