Streets of Glasgow: Addison Road

Way back in March last year, I picked Buchanan Street for the very first walk in this Streets of Glasgow series. I did it at lunchtime one day I was in town for a course. Buchanan Street is one of the busiest streets in Glasgow though it struck me later that there was another reason why Buchanan Street was appropriate, given that some of my ancestors were Buchanans, even if the street wasn’t named after them. It felt appropriate for the last of the current series that the street I chose had a personal resonance. For those unfamiliar with Addison Road, it is in Kelvinside, near the Botanic Gardens. In fact it leads from one part of the Botanics, the bit nearest the Kibble Palace, to the arboretum.

I had the taste of crisps on my tongue and in my teeth. Good crisps too, Mackies Aberdeen Angus Steak, purchased as I walked from Firhill Road via the West End. It was starting to rain, only getting heavier as I walked the few hundred yards towards Kirklee Road. I could hear birdsong with only a wee bit of road noise, that and the flats to my left the only obvious sign I was in the biggest city in Scotland and not in the countryside. Despite how short the road was, I still had to check Google Maps as the road split to make sure I was still going the right way. That seemed appropriate.

To my right was the Botanic Gardens and a couple of bridges across the Kelvin. The rain didn’t quite spoil the fleeting contented feeling I had as I looked towards the river nor that when I reached Kirklee Road and the end of this walk. It was the end of the current series but not of the adventures I could have in this city on foot or by motive power. I walked back to the Botanics and sat out the rain in the Kibble Palace, scribbling notes and making plans.

This is the thirty fifth Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Nearby streets covered in this series include Byres Road and Queen Margaret Drive.

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Streets of Glasgow: Firhill Road

I realised recently that during this Streets of Glasgow series, I had walked streets near the grounds of Celtic, The Rangers, Queen’s Park and even Third Lanark but not anywhere near Firhill, the home of Partick Thistle. That needed to be remedied, especially after I discovered on Google Maps that there is a rather cool mural at the side of Firhill. What I didn’t realise is that Firhill is right next to the Forth and Clyde Canal, proving that Google Street View has considerable limitations and there’s no substitute for actually going somewhere and seeing it with your own eyes. The view from the top of Firhill Road wasn’t too bad, towards the Cathkin Braes and the city, though I was tickled by the row of shops that soon came up on my right, including an off-licence with the unbeatable name of Bammy Beverages. I didn’t go to see what the bam’s beverage of choice is, though I’m sure it will have a rich and varied selection.

There were a few walkers by the canal, even on an overcast afternoon. A sign by the tow path pointed towards such exotic destinations as Maryhill Locks (1.5 miles), Clydebank (6 miles), Kirkintilloch (8 miles) and the Falkirk Wheel some 22 miles away at the eastern extremity of the canal. It was quite busy generally this walk, with a few folk up and down on their phones and a guy shouting for his pal Billy at the top of his lungs. Billy probably lived in Oban or somewhere.

Firhill, or the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill as it is officially known, is home to Partick Thistle. Or Partick Thistle nil as the old joke has it. The main stand faces onto Firhill Road and inside it is basic, wooden-floored and with a major lack of leg room. Cracking pies, though. Outside it is quite old-fashioned with old ticket prices lettered over the turnstiles at either end, which is quite endearing. On the side of the stand was a big ‘Welcome to Firhill’ sign, a product of the very adept Partick Thistle PR department. The mural on the lane up to the Jackie Husband Stand is superb, though, featuring the club crest, a player’s boot, a ball, a crowd and the city skyline. Even with the parked cars, I got a good look at it and I was really impressed. Partick Thistle may be mince – indeed they’ve just been relegated – but they are a real community club, the only team in Glasgow, some might say.

Further down towards Maryhill Road was a grassy bank, with trees and daffodils coming up nicely. Spring finally seems to be here though I suspect we haven’t seen the last of the snow yet, even if the rain continues unabated as it did just after I finished this walk. Firhill Road was quite short but a reminder of how so much of this city is unfamiliar to me. I knew the way to Firhill but a few hundred yards away was the canal and I didn’t have a clue it was there. In nearly five years, I’ve seen a fair bit of this city but every time I go out, I see something new. However long I live here, I hope that continues whichever corner I turn.

This is the thirty fourth Streets of Glasgow post from Walking Talking. I wrote here recently about Queen Margaret Drive, which is fairly nearby.

This post featured first on my football blog Easter Road West. It has been adapted very slightly to reflect that Partick Thistle have been relegated. A match report from when that happened is also on ERW.

Streets of Glasgow: Cadogan Street

This one was planned when I had some time to kill on the way home one Saturday night. I was at the traffic lights and trying to think of any streets in the vicinity I hadn’t covered in the Streets of Glasgow series before. I took out my phone and opened Google Maps, my eyes soon alighting on Cadogan Street. The Harry Potter nerd in me approved, with thoughts of the swashbuckling knight portrait in Hogwarts maybe replicated in a Glasgow street. It wasn’t like that at all but a man can dream. It was quite boring, really. That’s fine – boring is good, it is nice to see places when they’re quiet and not occupied by their usual people, office workers or whatever.

I started right after the Waterloo Street walk (which appeared here last weekend). Cadogan Street begins with the Cadogan Square car park under a very Brutalist office block. Uber Brutalist. I knew that Anderston was redesigned in the 1960s and won awards for its design though I hadn’t seen as much of it up close. In the square were some trees behind a white metal fence and writing about it just now reminds me of the Joni Mitchell song ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ and a tree museum where people pay a dollar and a half just to see them. Further up some of the buildings were being redeveloped, including a former beauty salon which still had some of the signs up advertising IPL laser, Hollywood lashes and laser teeth whitening.

Most of the rest of Cadogan Street was modern offices, though gratifyingly one of the archetypal red sandstone Glasgow buildings reflected in the dark glass office block. The red sandstone building on the corner had a nice tower with a curve on the corner and a cupola on the top. It was nice to see. I walked by the side of it to where the street came to a dead end with another modern office block. I liked being able to look at the gaps though between buildings with foliage growing up the side and other blocks visible, gaps perhaps emerging by an accident of an architect’s pencil. I also liked the street sign which had been cut in half by a building’s pipe, the word ‘Street’, white letters on black, without a name. It wasn’t such a boring walk, really, even if it was curtailed as the rain got that bit heavier and I headed all the faster for my train home.

This is the thirty third Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Firhill Road follows next week. I wrote about the nearby Waterloo Street last week.

There is also a post on my football blog, Easter Road West, today all about my conflicted loyalties ahead of tomorrow’s Scottish Cup Final.

Also, for those viewing on a web browser, yes, the blog does look different. It has reverted back to the Lovecraft theme. The header image on the homepage is Tranter’s Bridge at Aberlady Bay in East Lothian, a place which will feature in a future post.

Streets of Glasgow: Waterloo Street

Most Streets walks happen in the daytime, often on Sundays, otherwise in the middle of the working day. Before this one, I had only done one on a Saturday night – Queen Street – and it was a strange experience, trying to be all psychogeographic and admire the architecture while other folk are enjoying the joys of a Glasgow Saturday night. On Waterloo Street there was a couple winching up a close and a bit of pavement dancing, some laddies play-fighting as they walked up the street. Meanwhile I walked along the street and looked at the architecture, which was quite varied. There are quite a few swish glass corporate offices, including SSE, JD Morgan and Aberdein Considine, as well as more brutalist 1960s stuff closer to the motorway. There was also the troubling juxtaposition of a typical Glasgow red sandstone building with a finial right next to a smoky glass office block. It was a right hotchpotch, really.

Beyond the SSE building as I headed west was a pub. Above that pub was an elegant red sandstone building, complete with statues, including one looking down as if sitting on the ledge. I could imagine the pub’s bouncers looking quizzically as I wheeched out my phone and took a few photos. I actually liked the JP Morgan building. Despite it being a temple of Mammon, it sort-of fitted in with its surroundings and particularly the stunning older building across the street with the high arched windows. I got the sense as I walked that Waterloo Street was a place to work hard and play hard, with the pubs plus the posh Marco Pierre White restaurant which was housed in what looked like an old bank. By the sign was a strange symbol, a handle with a circular top, maybe a pizza slice or a magnifying glass. Answers on a postcard for that one.

Not far away was the aforementioned red sandstone Glasgow building right by the smoky glass office block. The red sandstone building seemed like it was overcompensating for the modernity around it with cupolas, statues and railings above ground, all the stuff that makes Glasgow city centre such a joy to look up in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Prince Charles. I like a lot of modern architecture. I like things in glass. It makes me feel like I’m in Manhattan. Waterloo Street was a nice mix. The building across from SSE was a cracker, very like the buildings on Hope Street in particular with the pillars and the many, many windows.

During most of my life, I tend to have a tune in my head. Sometimes they can be things I’ve been listening to elsewhere, other times they can be entirely random. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this walk was soundtracked by Abba, particularly by the point I reached the end of the line, as the road joined the M8 bound eventually for the Kingston Bridge. There it was also a junction with Bishop Lane, leading to the Hilton, and also Pitt Street with Telephone House on the corner with its art deco stylee. The 1960s space age resumed with the twisting, spiralling pedestrian bridge curving off into the distance. I felt I had travelled quite a bit from Central Station in just a few metres, from city centre Glasgow to the edge of another adventure, even if it was just a few metres into Cadogan Street.

This is the thirty second Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Others nearby include Gordon Street, Hope Street and Cadogan Street, which follows here on Friday.

Digest: April 2018

April’s over and it’s featured snow and sunshine, not always at the same time. I’ve worn a thick jacket and shorts, though definitely not at the same time. So, it’s Digest time, beginning on the tres, tres cold Easter Monday. I took a train into town and as it stopped waiting for a platform at Central, I took a photo of a warehouse in the process of demolition. I stopped off in Edinburgh and managed to source a Stephen’s steak bridie or two for lunch before getting the train down to Dunbar, where it was cold and windy. It often is there though it doesn’t snow very often. Despite it being baltic, I felt in the mood for a walk and ended up walking as far as Tyninghame, sheltered for much of the way by the woods and then heading inland up a muddy track. At Tyninghame I grabbed a bus up to North Berwick where it was even colder. I got a bus into Edinburgh and headed home. It snowed as the bus headed along the M8 towards Glasgow. At least two blog posts have resulted from the Dunbar walk, namely Dunbar in the snow and Defences.

The following day Hibs played at night and I was there. It was wet, I think.

That Friday I had a Glasgow day, with two Streets of Glasgow walks. I had the notion to do a Streets walk on Firhill Road, partly because of the cool mural I had heard about at one end of Partick Thistle’s ground and also because I had featured streets near the grounds of Rangers, Celtic and Queen’s Park but not the Sizzle. The Firhill mural is excellent and I’m glad I got there. On the way across town, I decided to put Streets on hiatus, not because I don’t enjoy writing it but because I felt it was time for it to take a break. The last Streets walk was deliberately chosen, Addison Road, which is near the Botanic Gardens. It started to rain as I came the other way and I hid out in the Kibble Palace until it dried off a bit. From there I wandered up Ashton Lane and Cresswell Lane before walking into town along Woodlands Road and then Renfrew Street, which may feature in Streets when it starts up again. Owing to John Lambie’s death a couple of weeks ago, the Firhill Road Streets of Glasgow post has appeared on my football blog, Easter Road West, already. It will also appear here in sequence in a few weeks, with Addison Road appearing a week later.

The following Sunday found me out and about again though not with a great masterplan of where to go. When I was on the train into town, my eye fell on a poster advertising a Lego exhibition at Aberdour Castle in Fife, a place I like. I found myself trudging up to the bus station and then on a bus to Dunfermline, changing there for another to Aberdour. The Lego exhibition didn’t excite me a great deal as I would rather go and see places then see them represented in brick form. Aberdour is a cracking castle though with a painted ceiling and interesting gardens. It was also where the new Castle connections series was conceived – it’s since been renamed Loose ends, inspired by reading the poem ‘Scotland’ by Hugh MacDiarmid. The next post in that series will appear on Sunday 6th May. That day in Aberdour, though, I also walked down to the Forth and looked out towards Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Back to Fife the next Saturday as once more I didn’t have a grand plan. I found myself on a bus to St. Andrews though as I got closer to that fine town, I had a notion to check out a football match even though Hibs weren’t playing. My two options within distance were East Fife vs. Arbroath or Raith Rovers vs. Queen’s Park. The fact that St. Andrews was mobbed made the decision easier and I ended up on a bus out of there after a polite walk around the town streets. The bus to Leven, where I would have to change, had great views across the hills and then the Forth too as the bus came into Lundin Links and Upper Largo. I was bound for the San Starko to see Raith Rovers play Queen’s Park and I got into the Penman Stand just before kick off and in time to see Roary Rover, Raith’s mascot, dancing to Taylor Swift. Game finished 2-0, I wrote about it on ERW here. After the game I got the bus to Edinburgh, had a wander then had a very fine chippy sitting in the gardens on London Road.

That week I had an OU essay to write. It got written and I was even under the word count.

On the Friday I decided to go to Linlithgow as part of the Loose Ends series. Linlithgow Palace, like Aberdour, appeared in Outlander. It is also one of my favourite places on the planet and I was glad to wander about for an hour in the pleasant April sunshine. I had my piece sitting in the great hall. What I did which I had never done before was walk under the buttresses at the Peel side of the Palace, a new perspective on a familiar place. From Linlithgow there’s lots of connections though I decided to find another I could do that day and found myself on a train to Stirling. Stirling Castle is my favourite big castle in Scotland and it’s linked to Linlithgow by being where Mary, Queen of Scots, born in Linlithgow, was crowned. It’s also managed by Historic Environment Scotland, as is Aberdour. I was happy just to wander about Stirling, not bothering with the Stirling Heads and instead just looking out across central Scotland and beyond to some mountains.

The following day I went to watch Hibs decisively beat Celtic 2-1 on a warm sunny afternoon in Leith. After that I went for a swift walk around Morrison’s Haven, just outside Prestonpans. The sunshine was beautiful, the surroundings even finer. It was great to be there, even briefly.

The next Saturday, last Saturday, Hibs were playing Kilmarnock and I headed through a bit earlier to sit up Calton Hill to think, look and remember.

On Sunday I went to Cumbrae. We parked in Largs then got on the ferry. Millport is a very pleasant town and the sunshine just made it and the views to Ailsa Craig, Arran and Lesser Cumbrae all the more spectacular. The Cathedral of the Isles and its labyrinth were particularly interesting. I’ll write a longer post next week about it. I managed to get sunburnt, keeping up the fine tradition I have of getting burned in the most exotic places, like last year on the ferry to Arran or a few years ago at Lochleven Castle near Kinross.

So, that’s us for April. A digest for Easter Road West appeared last night over there. Easter Road West is my football blog, almost exclusively about Hibs. As well as the Firhill Streets of Glasgow post which I posted up there recently, I particularly liked writing the posts there about my first football game, after I found the programme in a shop, and also the one about autism published on World Autism Awareness Day. There’s a post there tonight about the fast approaching close season.

I try to keep up with other blogs and last night I was on the way home and read a post on FiveThirtyEight, an American politics blog, about posts they wish they had written. I think they in turn had nicked the idea from Bloomberg. In the Books post last week, I recommended Wednesday’s Child‘s post about bookmarks. Alex Cochrane’s post from the other night about Grangemouth is also worth a look. I like the way they write and their subject matter particularly, which is usually about lesser-spotted places and sights, always insightful and showing another side beyond the obvious. This Digest originated from Anabel Marsh’s monthly digest, the most recent instalment of which appeared the other day. She features a Scottish Word of the Month and included a fair few synonyms for being drunk, including my personal favourite jaked. I drop in a few Scots words here – indeed I wrote a post in Scots here not so long ago – though the only one I can share off the top of my head is ‘fleein’ which can also mean drunk.

The next post here on Walking Talking is about the Northern Irish coast and that will appear on Friday. Loose Ends appears this coming Sunday with a post about Linlithgow Palace.

As I was revising this post last night, news came that the Glasgow Women’s Library, which I visited and wrote about last year, has been nominated for the Art Fund Museum of the Year, alongside Brooklands Museum, Ferens Art Gallery, the Postal Museum and Tate St. Ives. It is brilliant that GWL are nominated for this award. GWL benefits the city and the wider world by its mere existence, let alone the fine work it does. Hope they win.

Thanks as ever to all readers, commenters and followers.

Posts this month –

Streets of Glasgow: Trongate

Some thoughts…

Digest: March 2018

Manchester and Liverpool

Streets of Glasgow: University Avenue

Dunbar in the snow

Defences

Walking across the Forth Road Bridge

Streets of Glasgow: Kelvin Way

Castle connections

Some blethers

Leith Walk the other way

Streets of Glasgow: Bath Street

Crossing the road

Books

Streets of Glasgow: Dundas Street

Streets of Glasgow: Dundas Street

There are quite a few street names that Edinburgh and Glasgow have in common, naturally so since they grew and developed around the same sort of time. Of the 31 streets I’ve written about in this series so far, five have an equivalent in the capital, Buchanan Street (in Pilrig), Cumberland Street (New Town), Duke Street (Leith), the High Street (take a wild guess) and Dundas Street. Edinburgh’s Dundas Street is in the New Town, leading from the city centre to Canonmills. Glasgow’s is much shorter, split in two, going from Cathedral Street to West George Street. It is in the midst of redevelopment as Queen Street Station is being transformed into a glass-fronted transport hub as part of the Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme. That means that Dundas Street is basically a building site and it is very narrow to accommodate the building works. The development means that it is possible to see through gaps to some of the city’s finer buildings, not least the City Chambers on one side and Buchanan Street on the other.

Dundas Street is also split by a narrow walkway leading from the shops to the railway station and Subway. It used to have an old sign which referred to Buchanan Street as being on the Underground, rather than the Subway. I like spotting things like that but it appears to have disappeared in the redevelopment of Queen Street. I had been at Queen Street a couple of days previously and in the midst of the works the Dundas Street entrance had moved again, this time to an even narrower gap by the entrance to the Low Level platforms. The barrier in front of the works meant that getting a good look at the buildings was difficult. As I am generally hurrying on Dundas Street, I wanted to look up there particularly. Above the temporary ticket office and Weir’s was an elegant building in red sandstone with a bay window on two of its levels. Next door, above Caffe Nero and RS McColls, was a more typical building for the city centre, still red sandstone but with lots of fussy details, some crests and a laddering-type effect between the windows.

My main impression of Dundas Street as I walked on this particular Sunday afternoon was the shops at the northern end of the street. Quite a few of them were shut but that revealed their shutters, quite a few of which were decorated such as the tattoo shop which had a pattern that I can’t quite place, be it pipes, leaves or human innards. Love Music was easier to figure out, the record shop featuring likenesses of various musicians around the door.

Dundas Street is one of the streets in this series that will change considerably in the coming years. By 2020, Queen Street station will be transformed into a glass-fronted transport hub. In the meantime it’s a bit of a riot but that’s okay. It’s interesting to document the change, to imagine what will come as well as what was once there. It’s always a lesson not to hurry by, that usually there’ll be another train soon if you just want to stop and look a bit.

This is the thirty first Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Others nearby include Buchanan Street, Cathedral Street, George Square and Queen Street.

The next Streets of Glasgow post, Waterloo Street, will follow in two weeks time. Next week will be a Loose Ends post featuring Linlithgow Palace.

Streets of Glasgow: Bath Street

Bath Street had long been on the list for Streets of Glasgow and it became the 30th walk in the series as I crossed the motorway by the Mitchell Library. The city’s book lenders were in the midst of Aye Write and big posters extolling the virtues of Glasgow Libraries were up on much of the street. I also found out as I walked by the King’s Theatre that this year’s panto is Aladdin, advertised with a picture of Elaine C. Smith looking suitably jolly. It doesn’t feel so long since panto season finished (oh, yes, it does). The King’s is a handsome building in red sandstone with a golden lion atop a dome on the corner. I hadn’t noticed it before and liked it immensely. There’s probably a theatrical reason behind it.

From the motorway, Bath Street leads eventually up and down through the city centre to Buchanan Street, where it becomes Cathedral Street leading to the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis. It has some modern buildings, particularly closer to the city centre, though it also has some elegant golden buildings, with one of the most striking housing a World Buffet and an Italian on the corner of Renfield Street. Bath Street is full of restaurants, with a few auctioneers and offices scattered amongst them for good measure. This walk being on a Sunday, I paid particular attention to one restaurant’s sign which advertised an all-day breakfast for £9.95 including your choice of Irn Bru, Bloody Mary or tea or coffee. Not being much of a drinker or indeed hungover, I pushed on. Nearby was the seemingly punning Pie and Brew, promising beer, music and pies, probably satisfying most of humanity’s needs in that part of the world. I also liked the lousy joke on the Buff Club’s sign shown below. Bath Street also has a bit of history with a plaque by a cafe marking that it housed the first BBC radio studios in Scotland, opened on 6th March 1923. Further down by the Hotel Abode was a plaque marking that it had once been the home of Liberal Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. The plaque declared him to be ‘a radical, a peacemaker, a good man’. The only thing I know about him is that he made great virtue of changing his stationery from wherever, North Britain to wherever, Scotland, quite unusual in those turn-of-the-century times of Empire and Britannia ruling the waves.

This particular walk was on a very cold day, a biting wind whistling up Bath Street, so I didn’t linger. I made sure I regularly stopped to look up and down the street as it rose and fell as it undulated through the city, the people, traffic and buildings passing before me close and into the distance. Bath Street is particularly good for that, fully benefiting from the grid layout of the city centre. It is also good for looking up, particularly nearer Buchanan Street with a few cracking doorways and buildings in that bit of the town, a good reminder of the mercantile past and indeed present of Glasgow.


This is the thirtieth Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Others are available, including the nearby Buchanan Street, Cathedral Street, Hope Street, Renfield Street, West Nile Street and West Regent Street.

Last week’s Streets post was Kelvin Way. Also featured on the blog this week: Leith Walk the other waySome blethers and Castle connections

Streets of Glasgow: Kelvin Way

I start each of these posts with a photograph of the street sign. More often than not, I make it one of the first things I do on starting the walk. On Kelvin Way, it looked set that it wouldn’t happen. I reached Sauchiehall Street and no street sign to be seen. Luckily there was one a little way past the crossing so the conventions could be met.

Kelvin Way is an elegant tree-lined thoroughfare leading from University Avenue to Sauchiehall Street by Kelvingrove. I like it a lot because of the views to Park Circus, Kelvingrove and along the river Kelvin. Some people would argue that it doesn’t have much interest, certainly not from a psychogeographical point of view. Luckily I knew otherwise, making sure I stopped by the Suffragette Oak, a tree planted just shy of 100 years ago by women’s suffrage groups to mark the granting of the vote to some women. The tree was damaged by a storm last year and the Council had to cut it back a bit. The bits that had been cut off ended up in the hands of the Glasgow Women’s Library who intend to use them in a way that celebrates those women who worked so diligently to gain the ballot. The GWL had nominated the tree for Scotland’s Tree of the Year award in 2015 and it won, beating off lots of others across the country in the popular vote. I’ve passed it numerous times and seen it bedecked in purple, white and green ribbons. It will grow back and stronger too. As Patrick Geddes said, ‘by leaves we live’.

From Kelvin Way, it is possible to get stunning views to much of the west of the city, to Park Circus and to the much closer Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the cupolas and spires of that fine building seen at their best from by the river. The sun cast a nice silhouette over Kelvingrove, darkening the red of the building into a black. I particularly liked looking at the statues which sit on the bridge over the river, a splendidly posh touch that makes me normally forget for a moment that it’s 2018 and think of horses and carts and folks in Victorian garb rather than the cars which lined either side of the road.

The trees were regaining their leaves and daffodils and crocuses were coming up nicely as I walked by the park. Unlike the University Avenue walk of a few minutes before, this one was a little more sheltered by the trees and the sun came out for a few moments. It was still bitingly cold, however, but it was still worth being there, to see the Suffragette Oak and be in one of the most stunning streets in the city, surrounded by some of its finest buildings as I walked.

This is the twenty ninth Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. There are quite a few other posts in the series, including the nearby Byres Road, Sauchiehall Street and University Avenue, which appeared here last week. The Firhill Road walk, post thirty four in the series, appeared on Easter Road West on Wednesday, since it was partly about Partick Thistle. It will appear here in sequence in June.

Streets is going on hiatus shortly, in fact at the end of June, though will be replaced by something hopefully as interesting.

My other blog, Easter Road West, also has a new post today, a match report from going to see Raith Rovers beat Queen’s Park yesterday.

Streets of Glasgow: University Avenue

Glasgow University’s tower can be seen from much of the city. I see it at least once a day when I’m on my commute. It usually peeks between two tower blocks on the city skyline. With that in mind, I decided to make the next Streets of Glasgow walk along University Avenue, a street I knew would be architecturally and historically interesting. I woke up and it was snowing. A couple of weeks after the epic ‘Beast From The East’, a mini spell of cold, snow and ice came just when most of Scotland hoped winter was past us. Despite the snow flurries, I headed out anyway. I was gratified walking up towards Byres Road that I was handed a leaflet for a student offer in an Italian restaurant, despite pushing 30. Being an OU student, however, means I could actually take advantage of it.

I started from the junction with Highburgh Road and Byres Road, not quite sure what I could write about at this point. Plus it was absolutely baltic and I began to regret leaving the house without more layers. I looked up and there was the tower, plus the Boyd Orr building to the left. By the Medical School building was a row of blue traffic cones. Not sure if these are unique to the University or some private parking outfit. One of the housing blocks nearby had snow on the steps despite the pavements being completely clear. Beyond the Boyd Orr building was a gap which gave a view to the University Library and the smart offices of University Gardens. The cranes and diggers of the building site lay dormant with it being a Sunday.

The University had been in the news over the previous few weeks due to staff being on strike over cuts to their pensions. On a lamp post was an UCU poster explaining concisely why Glasgow staff and those of other institutions around the country were on strike and when the strike dates were.

By University Place is one of the University’s gates, called the Botany Gate. I wondered if that had anything to do with the nickname some Edinburgh academics have for Buccleuch Place, an outlying part of Edinburgh University sometimes referred to as Botany Bay, but it was soon explained by the Botany building just beyond. I was tickled by a nearby poster advertising a group called Balkanarama who had been playing a concert in Glasgow the previous night, with the promising slogan of ‘Hot Balkan Instrumental Orgy!’ None being forthcoming as I walked on, I was gratified to see daffodils and crocuses popping up through the snow.

Glasgow University has a fine looking campus though my favourite building on University Avenue is the Wellington Church, the splendidly Greek looking kirk across the way. The gate was open so I walked up the steps to pay closer attention to the pillars and elegant carvings and features around the doorways. The gatepost was an elegant fading sandstone, probably more carved originally but fine and fitting all the same. The elegant building next door with roof railings housed part of the University’s School of Engineering, all the better for it than being in one of the more functional 1960s affairs down the way.

As I reached the bottom of University Avenue, it became apparent that it went on a little more to the junction with Gibson Street rather than just stopping at Kelvin Way as I thought. That meant I could include the baronial-looking Glasgow University Union and the Sir Charles Wilson building, the latter an old church now belonging to the University. It was nice to be in the vicinity for a bit, particularly for the reassurances of the flowers that spring was still coming, despite the biting wind and snow hinting otherwise.

This is the twenty eighth Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Quite a few other posts have been written. Some involving streets nearby are Byres Road, Queen Margaret Drive, Kelvin Way (which appears next week) and Addison Road.

The Streets of Glasgow series will be taking a break shortly, not sure for how long. The last one in the current series will be Addison Road, which will appear here in June. I love writing Streets though I feel it is time to take a break to keep things fresh. Plus I have to study and live life and stuff too. I’m working on something different, though, to put in its place that will hopefully be just as interesting. Watch this space.

Digest: March 2018

March started with epic snow, the dramatic kind with drifts, no trains, no buses, no work even. Thankfully it melted with time as I was getting sick of being stuck in the house.

I went home via Paisley one night and paid particular attention to the mural in the underpass at Gilmour Street station, originally produced as part of the unsuccessful 2021 City of Culture programme.

The following day I was bound for Edinburgh and the derby. Hibs won 2-0. It was joyous. Before I went, I took a trip down to Govan to see the brand new Mary Barbour sculpture unveiled the day before – post about that here. When I reached the capital, I took a wander down London Road, eventually ending up in Restalrig, a locale I know very well indeed, having gone to primary school nearby. I was there partly to see the water tower which dominates the surrounding area, a post about which is here too. I also walked the wrong way down Leith Walk, a post about that walk will appear here shortly.

One day the following week I had cause to walk through Paisley town centre, stopping to learn about the ‘snail in the bottle’ case, which will also be written about here soon, the John Witherspoon statue and some street art.

That Friday, Hibs were playing St. Johnstone in Perth. I had to go to Edinburgh first and on the way along London Road I stopped to look at the Eduardo Paoluzzi sculptures that are currently residing there. I split my trip to Perth in Kirkcaldy, enjoying both the train ride across the Forth and the spin around the very fine Kirkcaldy Galleries. Perth has a fine selection of street art which was explored before the trudge to McDiarmid Park.

The following Sunday, I did a few Streets of Glasgow walks as well as taking a turn around Kelvingrove. The Streets walks took me on University Avenue, Kelvin Way, Bath Street and finally Dundas Street. Highlight was the Wellington Church on University Avenue.

Last Sunday was spent in and around Edinburgh, including conquering my vertigo and walking across the Forth Road Bridge. Luckily it was sunny and not so windy. North Queensferry is a handsome village, with a light tower at the harbour. We ate lunch at its foot. A walk across the causeway to Cramond Island came later with fine views to Edinburgh, Fife and East Lothian visible amidst the crowds. Quieter later was the Hermitage of Braid, a fine, fine natural place at the foot of the Braid Hills, a treasured place I hadn’t been to for years.

On Wednesday I was walking home and it was showery. On my left was a bright blue sky, to my right ominous rain clouds. Even in very urban places, the natural world rules.

Then came the Easter weekend. On Saturday I went to watch Hibs play Partick Thistle. It was wet and cold. On the way back through Glasgow city centre I did a couple of Streets walks on Waterloo Street and Cadogan Street.

So, that’s March. Go read Nutmeg issue 7, which came out in March with words by me about autism and football. Go read (and write for) Rebel, the new Scottish Book Trust writing competition. Easter Road West, my football blog, had several posts in March, including one about reading on the way to the game, so have a read at that too. Friday’s post here is about Manchester and Liverpool, Sunday’s Streets offering is University Avenue. Thanks as ever to all followers, commenters and readers.

March posts –

View from the Lighthouse

Streets of Glasgow: West Regent Street

Paisley Gilmour Street

Maps and memorials

In the heart of the city

Streets of Glasgow: Mitchell Street

Towards the stars

Towering over Restalrig

Streets of Glasgow: Duke Street

Five reasons why you should come to Glasgow

Camera Obscura

Streets of Glasgow: Gallowgate

New Mary Barbour statue in Govan

Lighthouses