Kelvin Walk Part 1

My wife and I set off onthe kelvin walk on Saturday. The weater was not promising but we decided to chance it anyway. We decided to park down by the Kelvin at the side of the Kelvin Hall and walked over to our starting point on the old Partick bridge.

The University from the Old Partick bridge

The University from the Old Partick bridge

This is the second time we have taken this walk and decided not to stick by the river on the way through the park. We took the top path to get a flavour of the history of the place. I noticed some memorials had been placed, some on benches and some on trees. Some record long forgotten Glasgow characters.

From the days of music hall?

From the days of music hall?

Heading along the path we came across Glasgow’s own copy of the Port Sunlight worker’s cottages. This seems a bit out of place or is it just an unexpected treasure? I’m still not sure of the significance.

Port Sunlight in Glasgow?

Port Sunlight in Glasgow?

Coming out of the park we visited the now refurbished Bandstand. It looks really good now. It should be a venue for all sorts of events – if the weather permits. That’s not guaranteed this summer, I’m afraid.

The Upgraded bandstand.

The Upgraded bandstand.

A walk throught the other side of the park (The Kelvin Way divides the park here) reveals  a place of relaxation for all sorts of people. Families out for a stroll and an attempt to tire out the children, teenagers having a kickabout with a ball and cyclists finding a safe route through the city.

Passing under the bridge that takes Woodlands Road over the river we find ourselves in a less frequented park that follows the river up to Great Western Road at Kelvinbridge. The artwork on the bare walls gives the space an out of city atmosphere.

Through the bridge.

Through the bridge.

This space has a play park and a Park and Ride facility for the subway station. At the other end we come to the magnificent bridge that takes Great Western Road over the river. There is even a pub where you can stop for food and refreshment.

A watering place by the water.

A watering place by the water.

Once through the bridge we get a good look at the torrent of water that is flowing in the kelvin today. The heavy rains of the last few weeks have changed the character of this normally placid stretch.

Fast flowing water today.

Fast flowing water today.

The next stretch is quieter but still has  walkers and cyclists regularly passing. On the opposite bank we see a well designed building which seems to incorporate an office and living quarters. The building ins nicely set into the bank and gives a beautiful, peaceful outlook. I’m not sure how you would get much work done looking out over the river.

Riverside office.

Riverside office.

Walking on we pass under the beautiful arch of the bridge carrying Belmont street over the river. From street level you get no idea of the beautiful arches that support the road. From the waterside the view is more spectacular.

A spectacular arch.

A spectacular arch.

We move on and cross the river to find the old flint mill. There is only a ruin left but the mill race still flows, showing how the slight drop in water level produced power. I would never have imagined that this quiet place was once a hive of industry.

The Old Flint Mill

The Old Flint Mill

Soon we are heading up to the bridge at Queen Margaret Drive where once the BBC broadcast to the nation. we pass under anothe beautivul arch and come to the iron bridge that takes us out of the River Walk and escape to the Botanic Gardens.

The wee iron bridge.

The wee iron bridge.

This is enough for one afternoon. The Botanics becons and just beyond lies Byres Road and all the wee shops. Perhaps we can get a bite toeat there. The walking has made me hungry. I’m determined to do the next leg of the journey soon. I’ll post the results as soon as I do.

Exit to the Botanics.

Exit to the Botanics.

Carfin Grotto

I’m just back from Carfin Grotto. I’m over there regularly and I wondered if people knew just how beautiful it is. That’s why I’ve published this post.

Canon Taylor

The History of the Grotto

Canon Taylor was the parish Priest of St Francis Xavier parish in Carfin, near Motherwell, Scotland. He led a visit of some parishioners to Lourdes early in 1920 and was inspired to build a replica of that shrine in Lanarkshire to give access to the many who could not go to Lourdes. With the help of many workers, out of work in the depression, he built a magnificent grotto which has become the National Shrine of Scotland.

Saint Bernadette at the grotto.

Saint Bernadette at the grotto.

The little grotto with statues of Saint Bernadette and Our Lady was the original part of tthe shrine which opened in late 1922. It has expanded greatly since then. There is the Saint Theresa Chapel which overlooks the site and has been a focus for pilgrimage masses and rallies for decades.

St. Theresa Chapel

Another glass chapel was added in more recent times. The Glasgow Garden Festival was held on the banks of the Clyde in 1988 as a spur to regeneration of the old industrial areas of Glasgow. The site had a small glass chapel where visitors could go for a few moments of quiet reflection. After the Festival the site was being dismantled. The glass chapel had influenced many visitors and there was a demand for the chapel to be retained somewhere. In the end it was moved to Carfin and it now stands in the grounds of the grotto.

The chapel

The chapel

There is exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in this chapel every weekday.

The Blessed Sacrament in the glass chapel

The Blessed Sacrament in the glass chapel

The one o’clock mass is always well attended by people from Lanarkshire and beyond. The chapel has become a favourite with many who feel a special quality in the tiny chapel.

Memorial to Irish immigrants.

Memorial to Irish immigrants.

 

One area of the grotto has a memorial to the victims of the Irish Famines of the 1840s and the immigrants who came to Scotland to find work.

The memorial was opened by the then Taoiseach  Bertie Ahern on behalf of the government and people of Ireland.

The Irish immigrants and their descendants have formed a large part of the Catholic population of Scotland.

Other immigrants from Europe who came to Scotland to work in the iron and steel industry as well as the Lanarkshire coal mines have made their mark on the catholic population. They have also made their mark in the grotto.

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The shrine is a popular stopping place for visitors and has a new visitor centre and cafe where you can rest and enjoy a lunch or just a cup of tea.

 

Statue

Pope John Paul II

 

The memorial to John Paul II marks the great love Scotland’s Catholics had for him.

John Paul Plaque

John Paul Plaque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A hidden gem in the grotto is the Chapel of the Angels. This is a tiny, underground chapel, unknown to many of the visitors. When you go there (and you must) you should find this little chapel and spend a few minutes there. A prayer would go down well too.

Underground Chapel

The Angel Chapel

Glasgow Taking 2014 to Heart

Well, the Commonwealth Games are underway and Glasgow is pulsating with games fever. The city has pulled out all the stops to make this a great experience for the athletes and all the visitors who have come to join in. Roads have been closed off, facilities taken over and peole are working all hours in the heat.

Yes – the heat! Who would have imagined that Glasgow would stay dry, never mind sunny during the annual Fair Holiday? The weather has surpassed anything we can remember for this time of year. The whole city is getting in on the act – even the old buildings.

Athletes

Partick Image 1

Even the non-sporty types (like me) are enjoying the fun. It’s great to walk around the city with voices  in various languages coming from all sides. At last we have no need to apologise to visitors for bad weather spoiling their visit. Glasgow is truly continental. This has been a wonderful experience for us and even although we know the weather can’t possibly last, we feel that Glasgow has lived up to all it promised – and more.

Mural

A gable end but not the end.

Thank you to all the workers who have prepared the city for the games and thanks to all the visitors – you are most welcome.

Housing Crisis?

Toilet

Wow! That’s what I call a housing crisis

There has been much said about the current housing crisis in the UK. We are not building enough houses for the people who need a place to live. I know it is difficult to find a decent house and even more difficult to find one at an affordable price. I was amazed to read about the flat in London that sold for £140,000,000 last week. Ah, London, how absurd I thought.

Today as I was returning to the car park in Glasgow I spotted a property for rent. As you can see from the picture it is a little down. It is, in fact, underground. It is a disused gentleman’s urinal and toilet. I had noticed that this public convenience was closed some time ago. I wondered why. Is there a glut of public conveniences in Glasgow? Have they been crowding the betting shops out of the main thoroughfares? Now the place is up to let (although it is down in the ground).

Who is going to rent an old toilet? It is convenient (pardon the pun) for all amenities, shops, stations, churches and pubs.Do we really expect someone to go down and live there? I’ve heard of people living in the gutter but this is lower even than that. No doubt the estate agents will point out the amenities like running water, plumbing and no long stairway to climb up at the end of a long, tiring day. You could literally fall into it.

Perhaps it could be converted into a Bijoux betting shop or theme pub? Where more appropriate for P###ing away your hard earned cash?

Blue Jasmine – As I Saw It

I went to the GFT last night to see this film. I was enrolled in a Contemporary Film course by my younger daughter who thought I should be exercising the brain cells. I was tired after a long day and a long class.This was not the attitude for cinema visits.

As soon as the film started that all changed. This was Woody Allan at his best. I think it is his best ever. This is a film about all of us and our current situation.

Who do we think we are? Who are we really? What happens to us when we lose the place?

In a society that has lost the place completely, we all need to see this film. The brain cells were jangled into life – and I recognised places in San Fransisco I visited last year.

the cast is superb, and not just Kate Blanchett.

Go and see this. Find the place again. Find out who you really are.

The Missing – Who Were They?

I was working today. I had a class at Glasgow University in the morning and another in the afternoon. It’s a hard life!

I had a two hour break in between and had a wander out to look at the buildings in one of the drier spells (less wet to be more accurate). Looking at the south face of the old buildings I noticed something strange.

Glasgow University

Do you see what I can’t see?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I noticed that there were spaces for statues. You can see the places where they should be on either side of the main window here. There are about two dozen spaces on the south face of the building and more in the quadrangles inside. There are no statues.

I wondered which statues were supposed to be there. If it was a cathedral then I would expect saints, but a university? Glasgow University was founded by a Papal Bull so there are religious connections but these buildings are definitely post reformation so – Saints? – probably not!

Was it intended to have statues of scholars or great Scottish heroes? Who were these missing celebrities? Why were they never put in place? It cretainly looks as though there were never any statues in place.

I was puzzled but I had to move on; another class awaited. However, there must be someone out there who knows something about the ‘missing’. It’s time the truth was told. In the words of the great Ali McCoist, “We want to know the names of these people.”

A Walk in the Park

I had a class to take yesterday (Thursday 4th) and it was such a beautiful morning I decided to take my camcorder and record my stroll through the park. I get the train to Charing Cross (Glasgow) and walk through Kelvingrove park to the university. It is so pleasant I felt I had to share it.

I held the camera in my hand as I strolled through and, of course, the video is bumpy as I walk. I used the YouTube skake corrector which steadies the picture. I didn’t realise the side effect. As I pass near to stationary objects they seem to be alive, bouncing like objects in a Pixar cartoon.

I kept it like that because I think it’s funny and adds something to my walk. Have a look and see what you think. I’d be interested to know.

Glasgow is really a beautiful city. I love the old buildings and the open spaces. It has a sense of history for me and I know many visitors enjoy the same feeling as they walk around.

Enjoy your mornings. Enjoy today.

Joseph