Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Sampling Art and Architecture in Glasgow

With so many beautiful places to see in Ayrshire, it may be a mystery to some as to why I went to Glasgow for the day on the train. Taking a break for a week in the UK to a lesser known tourist region can be interesting in the planning, but it could all fall apart with the British weather. Irvine wasn't the most obvious choice for accommodation but it was quite central for me with a 30 - 40 minute railway journey into Glasgow from the nearby railway station. As you can probably guess from this set, it didn't rain that week and this was just one of the more threatening cloudy days. Apologies to anyone reading this who remembered my overlapping 2010 post.

(Just spent a week in Oban where the weather was very mixed. I was hoping to get this post published last week but life and travel always seem to get in the way of this blog. I'm not taking any breaks from here but at the moment it seems that life events have taken over.)

Shopping Centre    GJC_016882_edited-1

Without research, the visitor to Glasgow can usually step off the train and find themselves on a shopping trip as I did on the first occasion. It's good to get bearings and find out where you are but Glasgow is so much more than that. I mentioned before the rivalry between Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland which in a sense additionally extends to visitors preferring one to the other. Edinburgh gets all the adulation as most sights are visible and in a certain area, but a lot of people I talk to, have either never been to Glasgow or haven't got past the first experience I had.

Gallery of Modern Art   GJC_016890_edited-1

One of the most accessible sights is The Gallery of Modern Art  that seems to grab peoples attention from the outside at least. I'm sitting thinking here that I've never been in the building so it would be unfair for me to comment further. This 18th century Neo classical structure was built in 1778 as a townhouse for a local Tobacco Lord and was sold to the Royal Bank of Scotland after only 40 years of use. The building was later modified with the additional external pillars and used as a business and trading exchange for 100 years. The idea of exchange continued with the conversion into a Library in 1954 and a Contemporary At Gallery in 1996.

Buchanan Street tram   GJC_016892_edited-1

It was time to take the Glasgow subway affectionately known as the Clockwork Orange (A circular tube line running in each direction within Orange trains) from Buchanan Street to Hillhead.

Mackintosh House  GJC_016897_edited-1

The designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald, who I have covered before, lived in Glasgow from 1906 - 1914. Unfortunately the building they lived in at the end of a terrace block was demolished in the 1960s to make way for extensions to Glasgow University. The Mackintosh House as we see it today was constructed 100 metres away as part of The Huntarian Art Gallery within the University campus. It is an exact representation including the height it was built at to reflect the light coming accurately to each of the sun facing rooms. The interior is decorated entirely with Mackintosh furniture and I was not allowed to photograph any of the rooms due a recent theft. I arrived on site and just missed the 12:30 tour and it looked like I was going to be the only person on the 13:00 tour. Thankfully a female University Lecturer joined me in her lunch break for her first ever visit to the building, it was my third time and she was surprised that I travelled from Ayrshire to see it ... She asked if I was a fan of his ! Mackintosh was a lover of innovative design and despite attempts to highlight that in the 1960's, I'm not sure what he would think about the concrete these days.

The Door   GJC_016902

Just in case you're wondering if I brought a ladder with me, that'll be a no as the entrance is accessed from a side door from the adjacent Art Gallery...

Huntarian museum   GJC_016901_edited-1

University   GJC_016908_edited-1

The University was founded in 1451 and is the fourth oldest in the UK, a wide variety of previous students have included John Logie Baird (the inventor of television) and Stephen Moffat (Writer and Producer of TV series Dr Who). I took a short cut through the grounds to my onward destination hoping to catch sight of the Undercroft Bute Hall.

Arch   GJC_016912

Not wanting to feel like an intruder, I'll take a different route next time.

Flowers   GJC_016909_edited-1

Profile   GJC_016922_edited-1

I didn't plan on visiting The Kelvin Hall Art Gallery and Museum as I had written some text about it to go with photos I posted back in 2010...

The main hall   GJC_016929_edited-1

However due to it's close proximity to the University and my next location, I thought it may be worthwhile paying it another visit.

Corridor GJC_016935

It's always good to try and improve on photographic material taken almost five years ago and with hindsight I was pleased I returned.

Windows GJC_016950_edited-1

Just to re-cap, the museum was opened in 1901 and in order to make it more user friendly and relevant, the council closed it for three years refurbishment in 2003 at a cost of £28 million pounds.

Through the arch  GJC_016938

Plane  GJC_016941

Museum hall  GJC_016944

Netball mural Commonwealth Games 2014  GJC_017031_edited-1

Lastly I jump (pardon the pun) towards the end of the day and a different kind of art on the end of a terrace block of houses.

Hockey mural Commonwealth Games 2014  GJC_017033_edited-1

I had to catch the subway from Partick and there were some celebratory murals commemorating the Glasgow Commonwealth games in 2014.

Rugby Mural Commonwealth Games 2014 GJC_017034_edited-1

And lastly a scene from the beginning of the day for those unappreciative of modern art. The Duke of Wellington statue stands outside the Gallery of Modern Art creating a little more interest to the novice in the street ...

Modern Art   GJC_016891_edited-1
Modern Art !!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sunset at Troon, South Ayrshire

I decided to unofficially call this lazy post  ... "The sun, two islands, two seats, an anchor and ... a bin" !

I was going to move on to the following day of the trip which I'm having difficulty editing and finding a title, but I almost forgot about the evening set and fourth post from one day.

After a busy day looking around Largs, Millport / bike ride of Cumbrae and a late afternoon look into the grounds of Kelburn Castle, I wanted to improve on my previous evenings sunset shots from Irvine.

Isle of Arran  GJC_016787

One of the things about staying on the west coast of Scotland is the opportunity to photograph sunsets using a variety of Islands as a backdrop. Some of last years material from Oban was the inspiration for this.

Isle of Arran #2   GJC_016793

The Isle of Arran seemed the obvious choice on the map for Ayrshire but one of the shots in the Irvine set where I was staying proved that it was not the ideal location. I opted to move down the coast a little to the town of Troon, famous for The Royal Troon golf course and a ferry port for Northern Ireland. It is less well known these days for the former shipbuilding of Paddle steamers, small naval vessels and Caledonian MacBrayne ferries. The company Ailsa Shipbuilding operated from 1885 to 2000. It is also less well known again that it was somewhere different for me to eat early evening dinner on this trip !!

Ballast Bank Anchor   GJC_016795

Just to add a little detail here in case anyone wonders about two of the later images. All but two (image 2 & 3) of this set were photographed from Ballast Bank behind the harbour to the south. Although I have no specific information about the anchor, the bank was created from dumped ballast from incoming ships to protect the rather exposed Troon harbour in 1840 owned at the time by The Duke of Portland. The area in the past was notorious for shipwrecks and possibly the unknown anchor signifies that point. These days Ballast Bank seems to be a picnic park, late night romancing spot !! and provides a slightly elevated view towards the Isle of Arran.

Ship wheel seat  GJC_016797

An interesting park bench with ships wheel nodding more appropriately in the direction of the harbour rather than Arran.

Ship seat sunset  GJC_016799

Arran Anchor Bin  GJC_016801

Anchor sun  GJC_016802

Bin sunset   GJC_016808

As you can see Ballast Bank is a popular destination for car drivers to eat takeaway Fish and Chips.

Ailsa Craig !!  GJC_016803

It not only provides a view to the more obvious Isle of Arran but to the unique and distant smaller uninhabited granite rock bird sanctuary of Ailsa Craig.

Arran view Bench  GJC_016804

That's enough talking on a post that was meant to let the photography speak !!

Day's end   GJC_016819

Seat landscape   GJC_016830

Photographer  GJC_016835

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