End of the line: Milngavie

Scotland is the best in many respects, not least in place names that are pronounced much, much differently than how they are spelled. Off the top of my head, there are Cockburnspath (Co’burnspath or Co’path), Athelstaneford (Alshenford), Strathaven (Straven) and the daddy of them all, Milngavie (Milgui). Milngavie is a small town a wee way north of Glasgow. It is known for being the southern end of the West Highland Way, which stretches 96 miles all the way to Fort William (pronounced Fort Wilyum, incidentally), and also for being quite well-to-do. It is the kind of place that has a Waitrose, for example, the mark of somewhere with a lot of Range Rovers. I had never been there before and I decided one very warm April Bank Holiday to change that.

‘This is Glasgow Queen Street Low Level. This train is for Milngavie…’ went the train. Milngavie is quite well served by trains and I could get there from either Glasgow Central or Queen Street. Indeed the train I got from Queen Street had come from Edinburgh. I was going to wait for the Central train but Glasgow was mobbed and I wanted out – summer had arrived with a vengeance. As I write this, it’s cool and wet outside but this day wasn’t. I sat by the window and watched the city pass by, most of the journey via Charing Cross, Partick and Hyndland very familiar, a shadow on the grey Riverside Museum roof, the river shimmering with the unfamiliar sunlight. From Westerton it was all new, houses on either side, some very red people sunbathing in their gardens. These quickly gave way to dearer brick and stone houses. ‘They’ll tell I’m working class’ came the unbidden thought. No wonder I ended up humming ‘The Red Flag’ on regular intervals on my walk.

Milngavie station, with its low hanging roof, was quite busy with young folk heading for the beach or wherever. I felt quite old walking through them, not quite old enough to be their faither yet, but certainly an older brother. The underpass to the town centre was rather fine with a series of murals about the area’s history and the West Highland Way. To my surprise, given Milngavie’s reputation, the town centre was fairly run down and wonderfully the West Highland Way, that well-kent footpath, began right by Greggs. I desisted from buying a steak bake this particular day and started off for Mugdock.

I walked up past some quite posh houses and soon reached the banks of Mugdock Reservoir. I had never been there before and it was rather fine on that gorgeous sunny day, the water calm, the vista pretty perfect. Lots of people were out walking, running and enjoying the sunshine. I knew only that this was where my water comes from. Loch Katrine in the Trossachs is a major source of Glasgow’s water and it gets piped through 26 miles of tunnels and aqueducts to end up at Mugdock and Craigmaddie Reservoirs. This was one of those wonderful Victorian innovations designed to solve a major public health crisis in the city and the design of the gauge basins were enough to remind of a grander civic age. As I walked, I forgot I was so close to Glasgow – indeed I could see some of its high buildings – and I sat by the reservoir, ate my sandwiches and read a book. It was brilliant.

After a fashion, covered in a couple of Loose Ends posts recently, I walked back down into Milngavie, only heading the short distance to Bearsden for a Roman diversion. I was glad finally to have reached Milngavie, the source of much amusement over the years, and to be able to put a place to a name. I think I’ll go back on a colder day, the kind of winter day where the sun is intense but bitingly baltic, to see the view to its best effect. It was pretty fine that day, to be fair, another end of a line and the beginning of another.

Thanks for reading. The Loose Ends posts featuring Milngavie and surrounding districts are John Frederic Bateman monument, Craigmaddie Gauge Basin and Bearsden Bathhouse.

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Loose Ends: Queen’s Park

I didn’t expect to get to Queen’s Park so soon. I had various ideas, different routes, some even sketched out on paper, but I wanted to pause looking out on a synoptic view, like at Calton Hill last year. From the flagpole at Queen’s Park it is possible to see far across Glasgow, including to the University of Glasgow, which holds a collection about the Antonine Wall. At one time it would have been possible to see the wall stretch across Scotland from the Clyde to the Forth. I walked up from Victoria Road and the park was busy with people in the warm sunshine, playing, sunbathing, whatever. Glasgow was in holiday mode and it was great to see. As I sat under the flagpole I heard many voices and many conversations.  My focus was just to observe and to write. I felt relief. Loose Ends is great to write but it gets exhausting after a while. This iteration started at Calton Hill and went up and down the country from Inverness to Berwickshire and quite a few other places in between. I knew I wanted to pause here; it was just making it happen.

It was quieter on the motorway, only a few cars coursing along the horizon. Everybody and their granny seemed to be in the park, probably far better for the planet in the long run. I could still hear cars but birdsong too. I was glad to be able to look at the best view in Glasgow in a sweep from the Campsies to the Cathkin Braes, Ben Lomond and so many prominent landmarks. Cranes showed renewal. The old and new Glasgow could be seen, the names often the only link. I’ve been there in heat and hellish cold, on the 21st of May 2016 after the Hibs went up to lift the Scottish Cup, and on many other days. Every time the view’s always a bit different. I like that.

As for the next connection, that will be a few months away, once I’ve caught my breath, but it will start from Queen’s Park, high above the city before going down amongst it. In the sunshine it just felt right to be there, gathering up loose ends then scattering them and onto the next.

Thanks for reading. Loose Ends does indeed pause now but there will be something different here next week. In the meantime, there are a grand total of 42 other posts in this series, accessible through the Loose Ends page.

Glasgow amidst the art

All too often recently I’ve had a purpose when going about Glasgow. I’ve had streets to walk or hills to climb. I’ve been crossing town to go somewhere else rather than stopping. Even my recent trip to make sure the Gorbals Vampire was still in situ (it is) was on the way to Haddington, which is at the other side of the country. Last Friday I decided to change that and to spend the afternoon just dotting around Glasgow. I got a bus to streets that I could walk down, to quote the Proclaimers, and ended up at the Mitchell Library. Given my line of work, spending my day off in a library seems a bit like a busman’s holiday. The Mitchell, however, is one of the finest buildings on the planet and I never fail to feel inspired there. I did a little research and just wandered for a bit. Whenever I’m there, I tend to have big thoughts and I came away with one or two creative ideas.

I walked in the rain to Kelvingrove, spending some time around its very fine art collections, particularly in the French room. Each room I visited had a favourite for the day, colourful sails in Venice from the Scottish Colourists, a portrait from Bessie MacNicol – a Glasgow girl – and the pointillist painting by Paul Signac in the French. I forgot to go into the Glasgow Boys collection, which is another favourite. The anthropology gallery is another highlight and I took my usual keek at the displays about St. Kilda, also reminding myself of past OU studies as I looked at the Benin bronzes on show. I made sure I got a look at the early Scottish history gallery too, which is probably the best displayed selection of such artefacts in the land. Even though it’s about ten years old (the gallery, not the stuff in it), it is still fresh and current in style.

My next journey was up the hill to the Hunterian Art Gallery. I hadn’t been to the Hunterian Art Gallery in ages, making vague notions to go on various Sunday afternoons but never getting round to it. It was getting refurbed with staff working even late on a Friday and the displays were thematic, portraits joined by Scottish Colourists and Glasgow Boys, which was quite a beguiling mix. The German Expressionist exhibition, featuring work from between the First and Second World Wars, was dark in almost every sense, interesting, though, and I would recommend it. Sometimes we need darkness to make sense of the light.

I stopped off across the road at the University. The University is known for looking quite like Hogwarts and it’s a fine place, sitting atop Gilmorehill. I stood in the cloisters for a few minutes, thinking and soaking up the architecture, before I headed down to Dumbarton Road for a bus home. One soon came and as it headed under the Clyde, I thought about the afternoon just gone, feeling happier and not a little inspired by where I had been, familiar places all. Glasgow is my adopted home but an afternoon is never wasted here, between the shelves and amidst the art.

Loose Ends: Bearsden Bathhouse

Bearsden Bathhouse linked quite neatly with Craigmaddie Gauge Basin through water but also they’re nearby. I got the train the couple of miles to Bearsden and I managed to go the wrong way twice trying to find my destination. I came to Roman Road and soon reached a very loud gate. A brown tourist sign pointed over the wall to the remains of a Roman bathhouse, part of the fort on the Antonine Wall built and ultimately abandoned in the second century AD. The walls and traces of the structure sat between different strands of a c.1960s housing development, the Historic Scotlandness of the place with its plaques and interpretation boards so incongruous in a modern setting. I wandered about imagining the life of the soldiers and then sat down under a tree to scribble. I had been meaning to come to this place for years, since I was at school, and it didn’t disappoint, conveying a lot with not a lot.

I knew what the next connection should be. I just had to find a link first. Anywhere on the Antonine Wall would do or even a museum with a Roman collection. The best I could manage is that I could see one of those museums from the next destination, which I was just about to head for.

Thanks for reading. The last of the current iteration of Loose Ends follows next week.

This post is part of a series. Links to all of the Loose Ends adventures can be found on the Loose Ends page.

Digest: May 2019

Digest time again. May 2019 is over and done with and it’s been a wee bit busy with life. Wednesday 1st May saw me journeying from work across Glasgow to the Forge on a shopping mission. The only picture from this was the Hovis factory which I took as a joke.

Friday 3rd May saw me in Edinburgh on that mission, this time successful. I walked along Montgomery Street towards Easter Road, which was a new one for me. A long, diverse street.

Monday 6th May was a public holiday. I had considered quite a few options but ended up going for a decent walk through the north of Edinburgh, from the New Town to Newhaven via Warriston. It was a nice walk, an old railway with a fair bit of history. I published a post about it the other Thursday. On the way back, I went to the supermarket and came home via Craigton Cemetery, which was a wee bit beautiful.

Saturday 11th May saw Hibs play Kilmarnock. The day was bright and sunny but the game I won’t allay, as the Proclaimers sang.

On Sunday 12th May my dad and I walked around Cumbrae. It was beautiful. Great views, sunshine and interesting.

Friday 17th May was a day off and I bopped around Renfrewshire and Glasgow. From the express bus into town, I undertook no fewer than six Streets of Glasgow walks, including the longest one in that series so far. It was sunny, warm and varied, to say the least.

The following week I worked a lot. Coming home from work one night I got the train from Paisley and the train that pulled up was a class 385, one of the new Scotrail trains that mainly run to Edinburgh but are going across the country now. Being a little bit of a train nerd and despite having been on these trains a fair bit, I quite liked getting a snazzy new train the couple of miles home.

Monday 27th May was a bank holiday. After a quick bit of blog business in Glasgow, I journeyed across to East Lothian and Haddington. In Haddington I had a walk in the sunshine by the river Tyne before popping into the John Gray Centre (pictured above), which had an exhibition featuring parts of the Traprain Treasure, Roman loot found on Traprain Law in 1919. It also had a rather decent photography exhibition by the Haddington Camera Club. The Traprain Treasure exhibition was great and it’s on there for the summer. It was weird to be back at JGC, a building I used to work in, but a nice weird.

On Friday 31st May, yesterday, I had a Glasgow afternoon despite the rain. I went to the mighty Mitchell Library and spent a wee while doing a bit of research. I also seem to have good thoughts in the Mitchell Library – I decided to go back to studying through the Open University after one visit, for example – and I had an interesting writing idea I might explore. After the Mitchell, I walked along to Kelvingrove and wandered around some of my favourite galleries there, with the French art gallery my particular highlight as ever. I walked up to the Hunterian Art Gallery, which is in a state of flux at the moment. I can recommend the German Expressionist exhibition which is dark but interesting. I also stood for a few moments in the cloisters of the University, which was rather fine.

So, that’s the May digest. For the blog it’s been a busy month. Both of the main series, Loose Ends and Streets of Glasgow, are winding down for the summer. I did the last Streets walks of the current run in one epic day and it felt fine. I often pack a lot of blog stuff into one day but six walks was a bit knackering, particularly Great Western Road. In June I’m hoping to get some new adventures, maybe not so far but to places I’ve never been before.

Also in the book for June is a friend’s wedding and at least one football-free Saturday.

Anabel at The Glasgow Gallivanter usually brings a Scots word into her monthly digests. Since I nicked the digest idea from her, I might as well bring a little Scots into things too. A word I didn’t used to like but use fairly often is ‘shan’, an east coast word to describe things being particularly bad or unfair. Another is, of course, ‘ken’. One of my colleagues said that I never say that particular all-purpose word but I don’t go as east coast at work as I might at home.

I was just looking through my likes for the month and a post I particularly liked is Yenn Purkis’s insightful post about giving and receiving gifts, an issue I often struggle with. Yenn Purkis is an intelligent writer about autism and life in general but this post really struck home.

Anyway, enough of my pish. Loose Ends returns tomorrow and it is a Roman one. Streets of Glasgow is back on Wednesday and it is on the edge of the city centre. A proper Saturday Saunter will appear here next weekend. Anyway, thanks for reading, commenting and following. Have a lovely month. Peace.

Posts this month –

Digest: April 2019

Saturday Saunter: Book talk

Loose Ends: Marjorie Bruce cairn

Streets of Glasgow: Argyle Street

Saturday Saunter: Writing, walking and special interests

Loose Ends: Democracy cairn

Streets of Glasgow: Sinclair Drive

The end of the football season

Saturday Saunter: Cumbrae, ferries and hay fever

Loose Ends: John Frederic Bateman monument

Streets of Glasgow: Victoria Road

Street art of Glasgow

Saturday Saunter: Haircuts, day trips and Underland

Loose Ends: Craigmaddie Gauge Basin

Streets of Glasgow: Cowcaddens Road

Railwalk: New Town to Newhaven

 

 

 

Loose Ends: Craigmaddie Gauge Basin

Only a few minutes after the John Frederic Bateman monument, I came to the Glasgow Corporation Water Works at Craigmaddie Gauge Basin, a fine example of civic architecture. It was a similar design to the Mugdock Gauge Basin along the way, only this one bore the name of its engineers and designers and that it was built between 1885 and 1892. The Mugdock reservoir has only been completed in 1859 but the city’s demand for water quickly exceeded supply. The new reservoir was built by John Gale, a monument to whom stands at the other end. I stood there for several moments looking at the architecture and not for the first time celebrating the genius of Victorian engineering. The crest of the city sat on the left flank and I looked through the central arch, wondering where it led.

My next connection could be through water or Glasgow. I knew what I had in mind, though, and it was of a decidedly more ancient vintage.

Thanks for reading. The next Loose Ends adventure follows next week.

This post is part of a series. Links to all of the Loose Ends adventures can be found on the Loose Ends page.

Saturday Saunter: Haircuts, day trips and Underland

Well, hello,

It’s Saturday Saunter time again. It is being posted a wee bit early because as this post appears, I will be on my way to work. As ever, though, it is being written on Tuesday night. It is about ten past nine and there is quite a bit of sun in the sky. It has been a beautiful, sunny evening here in Glasgow, warm even. On in the background is a certain football match which took place three years ago today (Tuesday). Anthony Stokes has just scored the first.

On the way home tonight I got a haircut. I hate getting my haircut. I don’t like people being near my head and I usually close my eyes. Same at the dentist, incidentally. I tried a new place and it was efficient, back out the door within ten minutes. My hair is fairly short anyway and now it is even shorter. Unusually, though, I left feeling absolutely great. I’m not so confident about my appearance so any positive feelings like that are to be cherished. The chair span, which was cool and suited the little boy in me. I resisted the urge to say ‘Whee’.

This is also a bank holiday weekend and I am off tomorrow and Monday. I have no immediate plans for the weekend and might go out on a bus somewhere on Monday. It might be Dumfries though I have a feeling it could be East Lothian. If it is to be my home county, I haven’t been to Prestongrange for ages or I might finally get to the Hopetoun Monument or Chesters Hill Fort, which will require an OS map and walking across some fields. Then again I might feel like sitting on a bus and end up in St. Andrews. All options would suit me fine.

I’ve been going on regular day trips for eleven years. Eleven years this weekend, actually. The first real solo day trip I took was Durham, a place I had never been to before. I had only read about it in a Bill Bryson book and decided to book train tickets for the following day. It was a balmy May Saturday and I walked from the train station up to the Cathedral, walking about that magnificent building for a couple of hours, also spending some time sitting in the pews. Afterwards I walked by the river and sat for a bit there too. At the time life was a bit interesting but that day I felt that everything was going to be all right. I’ve been back many times since and that sense doesn’t change. This weekend, wherever I go, I’ll be celebrating that day and the many benefits it has brought to my life, to give me things to talk about and write about, to open my world to new possibilities I might not have considered before.

Last weekend I started reading Underland by Robert Macfarlane, getting about 55 pages in. I plan to read it in stages, savouring Macfarlane’s prose rather than bolting it down as I do with so many books. He wrote about going caving, which made feel claustrophobic even reading it. Macfarlane is an excellent writer and he managed to scale back his words to reflect his limited physical space and broaden them out to fill all the dimensions resumed when he hit the surface again. The closest experience I’ve had to that was going to St. Andrews Castle, which has a mine and countermine dug during a siege in 1546-1547. The countermine is much more narrow and you have to stoop down into it then the mine is much more comfortable, reflecting the lack of urgency in trying to dig into the castle.

A lot of my news comes through social media. Not politics, normally, since I’ve heavily culled political accounts from my Twitter timeline. I suspect I am better off. A happy bit of news was that a book has been written about Walnut Tree Farm, home of Roger Deakin, a place of wildness and wonder in the heart of Suffolk. Roger Deakin was an incredible writer about nature and I try to read a bit of Notes From Walnut Tree Farm, a posthumously-published volume of jottings, every month. Waterlog and Wildwood are also class. Anyway, Roger’s son Rufus and the farm’s owner, Titus Rowlandson, have published a book about Life at Walnut Tree Farm and I will procure myself a copy on pay day.

Before I go, a bit of blog business. The other day I was tagged into a blogging challenge. Please, oh please, don’t do that. That is especially pertinent when it’s not about what I tend to write about. Right now I’m keeping to this format of Saturday blethers, Sunday Loose Ends and Wednesday Streets of Glasgow. Occasionally Thursday something else. I write around my life which can be quite busy so please don’t make this harder than it needs to be.

Anyway, rant over. On a more positive note, it’s Saturday and it’s the weekend. Thanks as ever to all readers, commenters and followers. Loose Ends is back tomorrow and it’s back in Milngavie. Streets of Glasgow is on Wednesday and it is down south again. Another north Edinburgh Railwalk will be here on Thursday. Next Saturday is the May digest. Have a very good weekend. Peace.

Loose Ends: John Frederic Bateman monument

Edinburgh gave way to Milngavie. As I stood by Mugdock Reservoir, I realised that the monument to engineer John Frederic Bateman, a plaque on a slab, linked just fine to the cairn on Calton Hill, a monument by another name. Bateman was given the task of sorting out Glasgow’s water supply, a task ever more urgent as the city grew in the 19th century. 26 miles of aqueducts and tunnels link Loch Katrine with Mugdock, quite a project. It was opened in 1859 by Queen Victoria. I was there on a beautiful sunny day and the monument didn’t attract too many glances. The surroundings are beautiful, right enough. Mugdock has since been joined by Craigmaddie Reservoir, established barely two decades later as the city grew still more.

Craigmaddie Reservoir

Quite a few links could result from the monument, back to Glasgow or through water. In the end the next connection came just a few minutes later, in a burst of civic style.

Thanks for reading. The next Loose Ends adventure follows next week.

This post is part of a series. Links to all of the Loose Ends adventures can be found on the Loose Ends page.

 

Saturday Saunter: Cumbrae, ferries and hay fever

Good morning,

Saturday again. As this is posted, I will probably be out and about somewhere. I am in the midst of a long weekend and tomorrow I will be going to Edinburgh for the last game of the season as Hibs play Aberdeen. It is Tuesday night as I start this post and as of yet, I don’t have any plans for the weekend beyond the football.

Last Sunday involved a walk around the island of Cumbrae. It was a beautiful sunny day and I ended up very red as a consequence. The walk was brilliant, relaxing and varied. Every few hundred yards the view changed, from Largs up the Clyde to Bute, Arran, Little Cumbrae and back to Largs again. My feet were lowpin’ by the end, mind. Walking is wonderful for clearing the mind and despite Cumbrae being ten minutes from the Scottish mainland, it could have been a lot further. There was only the occasional car for most of the route. More often we were passed by cyclists and even walkers, which is a novelty for a person who walks as fast as I do. We were also passed by quite a few yachts and even paddleboards. The eastern side of Cumbrae is home to the National Watersports Centre, funded by sportscotland, and it operates various courses to teach folk how to sail. I’m told they’re great. The folk on the water certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves. The land was just fine for me, though.

Going on a ferry feels like going on holiday, regardless of the distance. The trip down to Cumbrae gave me notions to go on other ferries in the west, not least the run across to Rothesay from Wemyss Bay. I like Bute and the view to Mount Stuart from Cumbrae was very tempting. I’m not bothered about going into Mount Stuart again – I’m not a big stately home kind of guy – though the grounds are gorgeous and I would like to explore more of the island while I’m at it. A turn across to Arran would be good too as I would finally like to get to Lochranza Castle, maybe even go around the island as so far I haven’t ventured beyond Brodick. This might be a quest for my football-less Saturdays in the coming weeks.

Wednesday night now and I’m starting again with the aid of caramel digestive biscuits. It’s been quite warm here the last couple of days and I’ve been working so enjoying the sunshine hasn’t been possible. That’s probably fine since my sunburn has cooled, I have epic hay fever and I don’t massively like the sun anyway. The hay fever hits this time of year and it is grass and tree pollen this weather. All the fresh cut grass and seeds, they just make my eyes and nose go. This has been a runny nose day, which is especially mortifying in a public-facing job. Plus the heat which as a pale east coast person is making me generally a hot, sticky mess. To be fair I’m that in most weathers, except less hot.

I am considering a trip to Dumfries this weekend. I’ve only ever done the bus down there once and it broke down, somewhere on the outskirts of Dumfries. I remember standing by the side of the road waiting for the replacement bus to rock up. The journey down was quite pleasant, only stopping at Hamilton, Lesmahagow and Moffat, as memory serves. Lesmahagow is a splendid name for a town. Also on that road is the Forest of Ae, which has the shortest place name in the country. Come to think of it, I may try and visit Ecclefechan, the birthplace of Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle. Ecclefechan is an interesting name and ‘eccle’ is ecclesiastical, meaning religious, and ‘fechan’ suggests it may have been the place of the church of Fechan. Wikipedia suggests that may be a good assumption though it may just be the place of the small church in Brythonic. More than likely it would be a trip to Dumfries and a wander to explore that town. I don’t know it very well, which I can’t say about a lot of places in Scotland anymore.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, with the theme body image, a very topical subject. Tonight I read that the National Museum of Scotland has a new exhibition opening next week called Body Beautiful discussing bringing diversity into fashion, with all sorts of bodies represented. It opens on Thursday 23rd May and it’s free. I am overdue a trip to NMS so I will try and have a look in the next few weeks.

Sticking with the mental health theme, this morning I saw a clip on Twitter which resonated with me. It included, of all people, Prince William, the Earl of Strathearn as he is known in Scotland, talking with some insight about being bereaved at a young age and how people should talk about their pain and grief. I am no fan of the Royals so it’s unusual for me to praise their work. All power to Prince William for speaking so openly and honestly about what is a horrifically difficult thing to talk about. Here’s the link to the Tweet, which is taken from a BBC documentary to be broadcast tomorrow.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today. Tomorrow’s post is back to Loose Ends, which is by water this time. Wednesday’s Streets of Glasgow is in the city and there is a post on Thursday, which is a walk in Edinburgh. Have a read at this week’s posts, particularly Streets of Glasgow on Sinclair Drive. Have a very nice weekend, whatever you end up doing.

Thanks for reading. As a bit of blog admin, for each of my series I will now be putting a link to the series page at the bottom of every post to keep up the continuity and link to other posts. In that spirit, other Saturday Saunter posts can be found on the Saturday Saunter page.

 

The end of the football season

I plan a lot of my life around the football season. Whenever the fixtures come out, I stop everything and take out my diary and the work diary and plan what annual leave I need to take, what swaps to negotiate. The TV schedules often require some adjustment too, usually a lot of cursing at another early start to get to Edinburgh by lunchtime. The season comes to an end on Sunday as Hibs play Aberdeen at Easter Road. Traditionally I celebrate the end of the season by going for a long walk somewhere after the game. Last season, it was a scorching summer’s day and after Hibs sensationally drew 5-5 against The Rangers, I ended up out at Aberlady Bay lazing on a beach. I’ll take myself for a chippy at the very least this time.

Aberlady Bay

After Sunday, I have two whole months without football. I’m a club before country person so I don’t really care about the national team’s games, only taking a polite interest when a Hibs player is involved. I usually feel a bit at a loss, without a major part of my routine.

Culross
Abbotsford
Belhaven Bay

Then I plan day trips. That’s often the best part of any adventure. Last year included Culross, St. Andrews, Abbotsford and Dunbar. This year is going to involve quite a few end-of-the-line places, those where trains terminate and others which I’ve only visited to watch football. Argyll is a contender. Maybe I’ll finally visit New Lanark. I haven’t been to Doune Castle for a while. I might take a trip up to the Mearns or into deepest Fife to Kellie Castle. Even braving Englandshire to Northumberland or a place I’ve longed to visit, the Derwent Pencil Museum down in Keswick. My favourite building, Durham Cathedral, is overdue a visit too.

Dunnottar Castle
Durham Cathedral

In short, the historian in me loves the summertime. A lot of out-of-the-road places are only open in the summer months. Plus I get to satisfy those urges that have built up over the football season, those places I’ve maybe passed but made a mental note to go back to. Over the summer, until July, the League Cup and pre-season friendlies, I’ll hopefully cover quite a bit of ground; a lot of it will probably be written about here. Any suggestions will be gratefully received.