Virtual Loose Ends III: Old houses, hills and railways

Well, hello,

Welcome to another Virtual Loose Ends. Another seven instalments appear today. We left off at Craigmillar Castle.

Craigmillar Castle is very near to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Next to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary is the St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, which has a Zen garden, one of very few in Scotland. I haven’t been into the museum in a few years though it has a decent permanent exhibition all about religion and indeed its impact on life, art, and pretty much everything else. It is scrupulously balanced, which is a must in Glasgow as anywhere.

Glasgow Cathedral and surroundings: a picture looking towards a cathedral, an elaborate, Victorian-looking hospital to the right and a building with a black roof and yellow edifice on the left amidst trees.
Provand’s Lordship: the yellow and grey edifice of an older building, a chimney between the triangular tops of the building. 

Across the road is Provand’s Lordship, the oldest house in Glasgow built in 1471. It is also a museum talking about the history of the house, which was originally a hospital, and of the city more widely. It has a pleasant garden in the back where I sat when I visited about a year ago.

Tenement House: a red tenement building on four levels with bunting on the railings in front.

Another house and another place steeped in Glasgow’s history is the Tenement House, which is in Garnethill. I have been there just once though walked past when doing a Streets of Glasgow walk on Buccleuch Street about a year ago. The Tenement House belonged to a shorthand typist called Agnes Toward and she kept her flat very like it was when it was built, even well into the twentieth century when more technology was around.

Hill House: a grey house with a tower in the centre, with an outbuilding with a turret in the foreground.

Also managed by the National Trust for Scotland is the Hill House in Helensburgh. I have been there a couple of times. It was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for the family of publisher Walter Blackie. The harling is currently being protected by a large transparent box for conservation reasons though I haven’t seen it in that state yet. The trudge up from the train station is enough to prevent too many repeat visits to the Hill House, a fine place though it undoubtedly is.

Fort William statue: the statue of a man in an old motor car. The statue is on a modern street.

The West Highland Line leads from Helensburgh Upper station, just down from the Hill House, to Fort William and as far as Mallaig. Fort William is fine, notable really for its setting, on Loch Linnhe and under Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in these islands. The statue of a Model T Ford driven up Ben Nevis in 1911 sits in the town centre, which is a bizarre story I told in a post here last year.

Edinburgh Waverley: railway platforms at night with a ferris wheel, lights and a lit-up, rocket-shaped monument above.

Edinburgh Waverley station sees just one train to Fort William a day. It is where the Caledonian Sleeper divides, one part each making its way to Fort William, Aberdeen and Inverness. Waverley is named after the Waverley series of novels by Walter Scott. I seem to have spent much of my life at Waverley, changing for journeys home or day trips. Waverley sits in a valley in the centre of Edinburgh, tracks running through what was once the Nor’ Loch, which separated the Old and New Towns. Now it is Princes Street Gardens.

Arthur’s Seat: looking towards a hill with a lion-shaped summit and a ridge protruding to the right. Nearby is a cairn, a pile of stones with a fire pit on top.

This post concludes above the station, on Arthur’s Seat, one of Edinburgh’s seven hills and surely the most prominent in the capital. I have walked up it a few times though personally prefer Calton Hill, since it is an easier climb. Arthur’s Seat is allegedly named after King Arthur, though there are different theories on where the name comes from. It can be seen across Edinburgh and the Lothians and looks different from different angles. Its summit is called the Lion’s Haunch though others, including Chiang Yee in The Silent Traveller in Edinburgh, think the hill looks like an elephant, which I concur with, particularly from the west. It connects with Waverley since Arthur’s Seat can be seen from various parts of the station.

That’s another Virtual Loose Ends adventure done. We continue next week, just down the hill. Until then, keep safe. Cheers just now.


2 thoughts on “Virtual Loose Ends III: Old houses, hills and railways

  1. Alli Templeton

    All looks lovely again, Kev. Provand’s Lordship is one place that escaped my Scottish medieval module, but seems well worth visiting. And as for Arthur’s Seat – anything linked with King Arthur has to be on any of my itineraries… and it looks beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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