Wednesday, 30 July 2014


I spend the day with friends in Glasgow soaking up the atmosphere.  We ended up at the BBC on the Quay and found a crowed gathered around some moutain bike activity.

It turned out to be Danny McCaskil and a few other fellas doing their bike tricks on some boxes  that look like the sort of thing the BBC uses for lugging kit to their gigs.

"Danny MacAskill is a Scottish trials cyclist, from Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye. [A few years ago] he gave up his job as a mechanic so he could ride full-time and now lives in Glasgow.... In  2010 [he] released a new video Way Back Home ... which showcases locations around Scotland."  [photo and text from Wikipedia] 

His website here.  His film, Way Back Home, has, as of today, 32,466,155 views!  I must check out his other more recent ones.

We had tickets for the Hydro which is the space-ship type building behind the Finneston crane.  It is a recently built events hall and before the Games' events was being used (and will continue to be used) for large rock concerts etc.

 The above photo shows the security setup, somewhat similar to any airport.

The security was tight to get into this and other events being held at the same time in adjacent buildings on the site of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.  All the approach roads were blocked or were single lanes to make way for pedestrians coming and going.  It has been a bit of a pest for locals who are going about their everyday life but when you become aware of the huge numbers of people moving about (e.g. the Hydro's capacity is 8,000 people) one feels they are in control of the huge logisical exercise involved!  

There have been complaints about people not managing to get to events because of the numbers trying to get on the above-ground and below-ground (Glasgow's subway which is a double circular track of 15 stops).  More buses have been laid to help ease the situation. 

I also now realise that trains have been cancelled not because the rolling stock is not working but because they have to stop the numbers of people entering the system where the risk areas are not just squashing on trains but probably more related to possible crushes in, for example, stairwells and escalators.  (Glasgow has bad history of crowd crushes at sports events.....)

We watched the men and women's gymnastics all afternoon.  For a break they had us doing a Weegie Wave around the hall.  This involves each section standing up and waving sequentially around the hall.... a great laugh and a good way to stretch the legs.  In order to get up all shouting they put up the text on the balcony flashing notice: Gee it Laldy! (1/3 way up, horizontal blue banner in photo.)

The big screen in the centre is a standard feature in all halls. Also every pub and bar in the city is putting up their big TV screens so everyone gets to follow events over their pint! 

I took thes following photos in order to show our neighbour, Helen.  Her grandson is a piper in the Scots Guards regiment.   She was telling us that he is playing at the beginning of the medal ceremony.

Is this him under that busby (the bearskin hat) coming into the hall? 

A close-up of him on the big screen makes me think this is not a 19 year old. Never mind, if you don't look too closely you would never know.

Here are the women's medals for artisitc gymnastics being presented.  The gold went to England, silver to Australia and bronze to Wales.

Monday, 28 July 2014


Another glorious day!  The whole city continues to be buzzing with folk on trains, walking along the river, or wherever, as they either head to an event or just enjoy the whole atmosphere.  

There are helpers in red jackets along the various routes to the venues; police and security folk dotted about the place; volunteers holding sticks with a large pointing hand to indicate where the throngs of people should head in and around the intersections and junctions en route to Games' sites.  They have great fun giving you a High Five* as you pass by!

I headed for the river to simply enjoy the view and the various street and riverside activities. I continue to discover places I had never been before.  One of the reasons is that a lot of this river property is now being used in a completely different way.  All the docks and yards have been made over ... well ... most them.  You can still see the old graving docks where ships were repaired.

The above photo shows the Finneston crane (one of many icons on the Clyde). Behind it is the Hydro auditorium which looks a bit like a space ship.

Here is the Clyde auditorium which is known as the Armadillo and is often booked for conferences, musical events, trade shows.  They may not be building ships on the Clyde any more but they still have the cash registers ringing with the rock concerts and such like that are laid on.

The far left is a glass fronted hotel where the reflection of the Armadillo is seen on its front, east facing side.

The Science Centre and the BBC building are both on the river opposite the Armadillo and Hydro. Today, all around these 2 buildings, there were  lots of upturned pallets made into benches to sit on.  A rather good idea, I thought.

The silver roofed Science Centre had some folk on the domed roof today.  I waited for them to abseil down but I think they were either stuck or just practicing.

Occasionally they hold an outdoor broadcasts here. Also there is this large, super-wide screen for people to watch (when they are not doing live TV) from the comfort of these (presumably the BBC's) deck chairs.


High Five " is a celebratory hand gesture that occurs when two people simultaneously raise one hand each, about head-high, and push, slide, or slap the flat of their palm against the flat palm of the other person. " [Wikipedia]


This is a 1:24 minute video entitled MCL cinema Hong Kong Mobile phone car crash is well concieved safety notice!

Saturday, 26 July 2014


The Clyde has not seen so much activity in years!  The RYA of Scotland organised a 250 boat flottila to sail up the river to Pacific Quay today.

People were out on the banks of the Clyde in various places giving the boats a wave as they went by. Brian and Maggie kindly asked me to join them at Bowling Basin where we based ourselves to see the sail past.

Head of the fleet was one of the MacBrayne ferries - a familiar vessel not just on the Clyde but on the west coast generally.

And then there were lotsa yachts....


And finally ....

 Under the Erskine Bridge and on upriver to the city centre where they will be moored until Monday.

We have been associated with Bowling Harbour for many years as we still keep our boat in the basin (though she is in Plockton at the moment). Outside the harbour, on the river there are still ruins of old piers and  hulks lying in the mud. However, we did notice that there has been some cleaning up of the shore nearby which I think is partly because they are making improved cycle pathways along this section.

I chatted to this couple who enjoyed the sailpast from the park higher up the river bank.

The city of Glasgow grew up around the river and while not as busy on the water as it has been over the centuries the river impinges on everyone as they use the tunnel, the bridges, the (rather good) motorways or one of the ferries which plies the lower reaches of the Clyde.

Friday, 25 July 2014


John organised tickets for the badminton events in the Emirates Arena built next to Celtic Park in the east end of Glasgow. Iain and I joined him and Ishie and Alastiar and had a day out starting with an early morning ride in on the train to the sports area and finishing with a general exploration of what is going on around other parts of the east side of the city.

The weather was glorious the whole day (reached hottest day of the year so far: 29 degrees Celsius or 84 degrees Fahrenheit).

We enjoyed watching Canada and Wales in the badminton but were very intrigued with these floor sweepers who diligently tidied the court between matches.  John and I reckoned we could each take one home for help in our respective homes!

We were impressed with the regeneration of the east side of Glasgow.  This huge Emirates Arena was given the once over by Iain.  The velodrome cycle track is on the other half of the building from where we watched court games.  Outside the whole area has new roads with their own cycle lanes, landscaping and affordable plus owner occupied housing built to meet the (ever pressing) housing requirement in that area.

 Ishie and Alastair enjoying the Clydie mascot statue at Bridgeton Cross.

The clock on top of Bridgeton Cross Victorian octagonal  structure which I assume is a band stand.

Glasgow Green was buzzing with activities for children and families.  It was tightly gated with airport type security at the entrance.  There was no charge and once in there was lots to see and do. This young pipe band was giving one of their members a shot on her violin.

We took a ride on the ferris wheel!  It must be 60 years since I have done that!  I have such happy memories of the Salmon Arm Fall Fair in the 50s having a ferris wheel and other small stalls where we could shoot at ducks and try and get Teddy bears.

The massive ferris wheel was situated right next to an obelisk which related to battles that Nelson was associated with.  Being in the wheel it was easier to read the words "Trafalgar" on one side; "Copenhagen" on another.

I was intrigued to see a section of the River Clyde which is usually is not seen from the road.

In Glasgow's industrial hey-day this bridge brought the workers from their huge tenement housing schemes over the river to the various 'works' that were situated in the area.

Finally, it was too hot to do any more exploring so I sat on the grass in front of the big stage with its huge banks of speakers and big screen to the side.  Those black vertical blocks in the photo are 12 speakers suspended in a cluster on each side of the screen. And that doesn't count the ones that were situated on the stage itself (out of the photo to the right)!

Anyhow ... I took this photo because I wanted to show Iain (who had gone home at this point) one of his old students from Strathclyde University: Aidan O'Rourke.  He is 20 years older than we remember him but he and his fiddle are obviously doing well! He was playing with a (his?) band called Lau.

So all in all a good day!

Thursday, 24 July 2014


John organised a trip on the paddle steamer, The Waverley, out of Brodick for 2 hours. It was a glorious hot day so everyone was out on deck in sunshine (except for those folk who like to spend the whole trip below looking at the crankshafts and pistons!  As one Highlander said to his friend when asked why he wasn't up on deck enjoying the view: "Ach! Why spoil a trip for the sake of the view!")

Brodick has been greatly enhanced by the building of a promenade.  Iain and I remember the days when we anchored in the bay and it was a bit of a haul to get the dinghy up on the beach knowing that it was not unknown for guys coming out of the pub heading for their yacht to just grab the first dinghy they came to and row out to their boat.


Iain and I joined John, Mairi and the children for a holiday on Arran, at Kildonan, where John had organised a holiday house for one week.

We are familiar with the north end of Arran because of the anchorages and mountains but Kildonan on the south end, opposite the island of Pladda, with its lighthouse, and Ailsa Craig in the distance, was a new experience for us.

A warm evening in the garden of Kildonan hotel.

The furry lump in mid-photo is an otter, one of two I watched on the rocks on the shore.

We had a 'safari' jaunt in this huge vehicle!   I tried to explain to Alastair how I spent all my summers on the beach as a child.  Because my father had access to lots of big truck tyres I was always the kid on the beach with the biggest inner tube for playing about in the water.


We drove through some of the forests above Brodick and Lamlash.  We remember parts of the island from 40 years ago, in the days when tree planting tended to be all Sitka spruce. It is more diverse now.  This is Lamlash Bay looking toward Holy Island.

We visited standing stones on several occasions.  There are remnants of quite a few stone circles on Arran.  Alastair wanted his photo taken in front of one of them.

Ishbel  found stone circles and burial mounds, 'really boring'. To help things along I pretended we were doing a fashion magazine photo-shoot.  So here she is being a model for a cover shot.  (She is, after all, 7 going-on-14 years old!)

 Harriet is the opposite.  She thinks piles of big stones are for climbing.

The beaches at Kildonan were wonderful.  The kids larked around in the water while I spent time on the sand with Harriet (wearing Maggie's sweater that she knitted for Ishbel 7 years ago).

 What it must be like to experience squiggy, wet sand for the first time!

 Bottoms up!

John brought a kite which gave lots of play for the kids. Ailsa Craig in the distance.

And then there were those stairs to contend with.....