Becky at The Life of B has a new square picture challenge for December – #timesquare. Follow the link for guidance if you have a timely contribution. As for me, I don’t have time to take part every day (well, it’s already on Day 7) but I’ll pop in when I have a minute to spare.
Last night, we attended an evening event for Glasgow University staff in the Hunterian Museum. On the way out, I spotted the Blackstone Chair. (Forgive the fuzzy photos – the light was poor and I’d had prosecco.) Can you believe that until the mid-19th century, all examinations took place orally on this chair? Your time was up when the sand ran through. Click on the gallery below for a full explanation.
A Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2017 will be good to us all. I’m trying to polish off 2016 by clearing out old photos and ideas for blog posts. Some will get an entry to themselves; this is a catch-up for the rest – the ones that nearly got away.
You’ll all be familiar with John, my partner in life and photographer-in-chief. He had a big birthday this year – can you guess which one from the pictures below? Not hard! He also had a presentation to mark 30 years of service at the University of Glasgow (top image), which means we’ve lived 30 years in Glasgow as we moved up from Yorkshire when he got his lectureship. That’s over half my life – in the first half I lived in 9 different towns or cities, so I think I can now call myself settled.
The other big family milestone last year was my Mum’s 90th birthday which I’ve already written about (here). Earlier in the year, she and I paid a visit to the village she grew up in, Kilmacolm. We’ve been before, many times, but this time we took some photographs where her home used to stand. The name of the building was Low Shells – now, there is only a grassy area and some benches but the name lives on.
Mum at Low Shells
Mum at Low Shells
Dams to Darnley
Dams to Darnley is a newish country park which sits between Barrhead, Darnley and Newton Mearns to the south of Glasgow. We found it almost by accident when we were looking for somewhere else and enjoyed a pleasant Sunday afternoon stroll there. Centred on a series of reservoirs and bisected by a railway, it’s not particularly spectacular but I’ve included it because I’m impressed that two councils (it falls between Glasgow City and East Renfrewshire) have co-operated to make the most of limited green space and not build all over it.
Old water tower
Railway bridge and Waulkmill Glen Reservoir
Palacerigg is another minor country park within half an hour of Glasgow. Again, the local council, North Lanarkshire this time, has made a big effort to introduce nature trails, birds and animals, particularly with children in mind. This was July, but I see I am wearing winter clothes. The joys of a Scottish summer!
In December we had a couple of nights in Perth. I’ve started some posts about that, but I don’t think I’ll get round to writing about the lovely walk at Loch Leven we did on the way home. Here’s a slide-show of some of the best images. It was a stunningly crisp morning as you can see.
Finally, speaking of the ones that got away, whatever has happened to WordPress’s stats helper monkeys? You know, the ones that send you a report with fireworks that tells you how your blog did that year? Or is it just me they’ve decided not to visit? *Sulks*. Anyway, being a resourceful type, I’ve looked at the 2016 stats all by myself. They’re up by over 50% compared to 2015, which is lovely, and of the ten most read posts nine were about Scotland (one of my Yellowstone posts just scraped in at number ten). I guess you like reading about my home country! There will be much more of the same this year so I hope you will keep visiting. I’m grateful to everyone who has read, liked, commented or all three. As a TV series of my youth used to end “Thank you for coming to my little show. I love you all!” (Brownie points if you can identify which one….)
The Forth and Clyde Canal, which runs sea-to-sea between the two rivers, has passed through Glasgow since the eighteenth century, though it ceased to be navigable in 1963. However, the multi-million Millennium Link Project saw it reopen in 2000/2001. Inspired by the Maryhill Walking Trails and Glasgow’s Canals Unlocked booklets, we set off on Sunday to walk from home to the end of the spur leading into the city centre. There is still some dereliction alongside the banks, but there is also green space and some (for Glasgow) quite exotic-looking new housing. The booklets helped us imagine how the canal would have been in years gone by, with a multitude of industries using its waters: iron, lead, rubber, oil, glass and timber were all produced here.
We joined the canal at the nearest point to our house at Kelvindale. The photos will guide you along the same route that we took.
Soon after joining the canal, we reached our first aqueduct. The rest crossed roads, but this one straddled the Kelvin. The disused piers in the river once carried railway lines across it.
Next, we reached Maryhill Locks –
– and not long after that, we left the towpath temporarily to visit Maryhill Burgh Halls for a delicious lunch at the Clean Plates Café. When opened in 1878, the halls had 20 stained glass panels depicting the trades then carried out in Maryhill, and eleven of the panels are now back on display. The walks booklets point out where the scenes from the stained glass might have taken place. More modern is this panel showing the different trades’ badges.
Back on the canal, we soon reached Murano Street Student Village, site of a former glassworks. Apparently, Maryhill was once called the Venice of Glasgow on the grounds that it had a canal and a glassworks named after the famous Murano works. I wasn’t entirely convinced, but we’d already passed the Mondrian Flats which looked very European to me, so I was beginning to wonder if we really were still in Glasgow.
We took another detour at Firhill up a steep path to the flag pole atop Ruchill Park. From here, Glasgow University dominated the view. Nearby, the 165-foot high water tower (1892) is almost all that now remains of Ruchill Infectious Diseases Hospital.
Continuing along the banks, the University remained prominent and we met several swans.
We passed Firhill, home of Glasgow’s other football club (i.e. the one that’s not Celtic or Rangers), Partick Thistle, commonly known as the Jags.
The picturesque Applecross Workshops are probably the oldest remaining buildings on any canal in Scotland.
Spiers Wharf, formerly mills and a sugar refinery, was converted into flats in the 1990s. The blue painted shop front is Ocho where we stopped for a coffee.
Just after this, the canal spur ends in a huge construction site which will soon be Pinkston Paddlesports Centre. After having a look at that, we retraced our steps to Spiers Wharf and took the path down to Cowcaddens from where we could get the Subway home. The underpass here is decorated with 50 Phoenix Flowers, called after the former Phoenix Park which was destroyed to create the M8 motorway above.
Before leaving Cowcaddens, we took some photographs of Dundas Court, formerly Dundas Vale College and before that the Normal School for the Training of Teachers (1837), a precursor of Jordanhill College where I worked for over 20 years. It’s now offices.
An urban walk can be just as enjoyable as a country walk – I feel I learned a lot about my home city on this one.
Last weekend, my sister and her younger daughter were visiting, staying with my parents. It’s hard to find activities which everyone from 13 to 85 can join in with, but we scored an unexpected hit with…… universities! This wasn’t as dull as it sounded. I work for Strathclyde University Library at its Jordanhill Campus, which is a lovely parkland site in the West End of Glasgow. My Mum and Dad have never been there and, as the campus is closing in the summer, I wanted them to see where I worked before it disappeared. Jordanhill was originally a teacher education college (read about its origins in Wikipedia), starting in this building, the David Stow, in 1921:
Subsequent building has not been as attractive! The Library is housed in the Henry Wood Building:
Inside, the Library is more visually pleasing though:
And the campus is lovely, here’s the sunken garden for example, outside the Crawfurd Building:
This was such a success that we repeated the exercise the next day at Glasgow University where John is Head of the School of Engineering. It is very historic, dating from 1451, though has only been on its current site since the nineteenth century:
We visited, amongst other things, the recently-refurbished Hunterian Museum…….
…….and an engineering lab, also recently refurbished:
Again, the campus as a whole is lovely with the historic cloisters…..
……and views across the park to Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery:
My niece seemed to enjoy herself (well she didn’t complain), especially standing at the microphone in a lecture theatre and giving us all a talk. She went away with bags of freebies: badges and bookmarks etc, including some for her big sister who had been left at home studying for her GCSEs. So there you are: how to entertain your teenage niece in one easy lesson. Take her to university!