With my parents I went on holiday to Iona. On the way, we stopped off for five days in Glasgow, visiting museums and taking photos and generally doing the tourist thing.


I had to change trains at Preston to get there, with time to spare even after I ate lunch, and found a couple of interesting things in the station.

Old railway carriages in a platform.
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Cables against the wall.
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We were staying at the Rennie Mackintosh Hotel, which has nothing to do with Rennie Mackintosh (unless you count a few unusual pieces of furniture) and isn't really a hotel (it's a B&B). That aside, it's a perfectly nice place to stay and reasonably convenient.

It's directly opposite the dental hospital, which is a rare example of a large building still in use for approximately the purpose engraved on its stonework.
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After dropping our bags, we headed out to walk around the city.

Glas[scaffolding where nextdoor building has been demolished]. Pretty representative.
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There's a large and impressive square by the town hall. Here's one of the buildings you can see from there.
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It wasn't long before we found our way to the river, which features a perfect embarrassment of riches for bridge fans. Seriously there are way too many bridges. I didn't even take pictures of all of them.

This is a tree bridge. It carries a selection of trees and shrubbery across the river. We suspect it used to have a railway instead.
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Another view of the tree bridge.
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Clyde Street goes under the bridge (which is impressively decorated and overdesigned).
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A blue bridge. (Once.)
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Looking upstream at three bridges with Nelson's Column in the background.
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The current rail bridge.
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A wider view.
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Buildings and warehouses

Glasgow is a pretty great city to visit if you're a Victorian architecture enthusiast. If there's ever a world dome shortage, people will be beating a path to Glasgow; virtually every building has a few. It's like the architects started off designing a mosque and somebody told them halfway through 'hang on, it's an insurance company'. Similarly, most buildings have impressive carving and statues.

The top of one such building.
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Looking across the river (amusingly, we had a 'see Glasgow by taxi' leaflet for its map, and the map didn't go sarf of the river) at an impressive piece of graffiti.
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In some places they are actually constructing new buildings, mostly behind the facades of old ones. Here's a crane.
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Glasgow used to be a port; still is, further down, but I get the impression they don't need quite so many customs warehouses in the city centre.
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'Tobacco Warehouse' facade built into an even larger warehouse. (Yep, the money for all these impressive buildings came from slavery.)
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General stores and office and blue doors.
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There is actually work (of a sort) going on in these ancient buildings. This is a loading bay in a car park (bomb site?) area beside one warehouse.
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Western riverside

Back beside the river we headed west past a major road bridge, at which point we had a pleasant surprise - a bloody huge crane, the only remaining part of what had once been (presumably) a similarly huge shipyard.

Lighting below the bridge.
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Big crane = awesome. (This was our first view of it, way ahead along the road.)
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A modern and fancy suspension bridge, with crane in background. This is near the Armadillo aka Scottish Exhibition Centre, which looks like (a) its namesake, (b) a rip of Sydney Opera House.
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A Chinese restaurant up ahead occupied a large round building. I said, 'That looks like a tunnel entrance'. Sure enough, when we looked across the river, we found its twin (and walked across to have a look). The tunnel is disappointingly closed, being replaced by several road bridges and another road tunnel further along.

Shadows on the other roundhouse (which is unused).
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More shadows.
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Another picture so you can see what it actually looks like.
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City streets

Back across the river I spent way too long standing in what is now a large carpark taking pictures of the giant crane. Then we headed north into a slightly run-down looking area which featured a relatively modern church with a giant pyramidal copper roof (but which I didn't take any interesting photos of).

Crane superstructure.
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'Savings Bank of Glasgow' - gorgeous design on one of the older buildings left in the area.
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By 'slightly run-down' earlier I meant that we started off walking through an estate of boarded-up mid-rise flats, with some roads blocked off ready for demolition. However there were quite a few other blocks still in use.
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I liked their walkways.
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We had fun figuring out how to cross one major road. Another Glasgow staple is pedestrian walkways that are blocked off because they end in midair. Here's one of them (the railings end; shortly, so does the walkway).
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Before going to bed, we headed up a road near our hotel to Hill Street, which (at this intersection) had views in three directions.

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Day 2

Our plan for the day was to visit the police museum, but we started off by walking around the city centre.

Impressive angular building.
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An insurance company or bank or something (as was).
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Hey, look, it's Science.
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Modern art museum

We briefly looked inside the modern art museum; the exhibition was mildly interesting, but not that special.

Pillars of the modern art museum.
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And again.
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Ceiling of the museum.
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The city has numerous back alleys, which can be interesting.

Or not, depending on your point of view.
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I like the pipework.
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The museum was a little way east.

Current topics in graffiti.
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Impressive church opposite the police museum.
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Another view of the church.
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The police museum itself is not a major visitor attraction; the guide seemed quite happy to talk to us for a bit. Glasgow had the first police force in the UK, apparently. They also had police boxes, an original one of which was in the museum.

People's Palace

Glasgow Green is a large open space by the river, including a building called the People's Palace (it's a museum of some kind, but we didn't visit it).

And Nelson's Column. Yes really, and no there isn't a statue on top.
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People's Palace behind a large fountain (which has panels on each side representing the Colonies).
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I think this roof was over a drinking fountain or something.
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Not a lot left of this.
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We crossed the river by a footbridge, which led to what I think was a distillery complex.

I really like that stained building.
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Tanks and chimneys are always good too.
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A couple of large tower blocks stand next to the distillery. Convenient!
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Cathedral area

Back across the river, we made our way to the cathedral area. There's a medieval house, which we visited before heading into the cathedral proper.

Budget dome.
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Steps down in the cathedral.
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Arches and windows.
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Near the cathedral there's a large graveyard on a hill where all those wealthy merchants were buried. It's really called the Necropolis.

Headless woman.
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Top of the hill.
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There are impressive views from the hill (which would have been better without the rain).
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Apparently the graveyard has a zombie problem with some of the tombs.
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And on the way back we walked by a police box in blue Tardis livery. (The original ones were actually red.) It wasn't in use, but then again, it hadn't been turned into a coffee kiosk either like several we saw.

(Insert your own dematerialising noises here. Even though it doesn't actually look like the one in Dr. Who...)
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Day 3

We went to the University and its Hunterian Museum, which features lots of icky things in jars (and some fun science experiments you can do).

University arches.
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A massive church opposite the University.
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Heading to the riverside later on, we got to see a bridge raised. Disappointingly, this appeared to be for the benefit of a rather crappy-looking cabin cruiser.

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Great street sign.
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The text reads 'Loch Katrine'. (A large lake some distance from the city which provided the first municipal water supply.)
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Day 4

We headed west from our hotel and visited the Kelvingrove Museums (there's a large art museum, and a smaller transport museum, which has trams and steam engines and such; it's popular with children but not with my dad).

The crane! From quite a distance.
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An old lamp-stand.
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Not a lot left of this building in Park Gate. They are probably in the process of rebuilding it as expensive and now-unwanted luxury apartments.
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Another lamp standard and its modern counterpart.
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Statue and gull (which had been perched on the statue).
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One of four statues on a bridge across the Kelvin.
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The University tower. They ran out of money to finish it, so it's hollow at the top.
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Kelvin Walkway

We walked for a little distance north along the Kelvin Walkway beside the river, which is pleasant enough.

Steps/seating in what looked like a small riverside venue for entertainment of some sort.
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The Kelvin is actually quite vicious. This is a side channel by a bridge.
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Pedestrian arch of a bridge.
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Crossing to the canal

Leaving the river, we headed instead for the Forth and Clyde canal.

Residential street (end thereof) with steps.
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Church tower.
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And again.
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Stair Street (which does what it says, etc).
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The canal

We followed the canal back south into town.

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This canalside building is a pigeon-loft (or so we were informed by a council employee who saw us taking pictures of it).
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The canal runs quite high above the city.
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A large dull brick building across the canal.
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Stepping stones (no, we didn't try them).
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A very small power station? Don't know.
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Near the canal's end.
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Part of a fairly large distillery complex.
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Turning railway bridge to nothing (well, into the canal basin).
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Artwork on empty industrial building.
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Back to base

Having reached the end of the canal, we returned to the hotel through a picturesque area of the city.

Landscaped park and tower blocks.
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Answer (around the corner) to the question I'd posed a minute earlier: 'Do they really need to put a metal cage around that? It's just a security light.'
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Day 5

Supreme excitement awaited us; we'd found a leaflet advertising tours up a giant crane even bigger than the one in the city. Woo! We went for a bit of a walk in the morning first, though - while Mum sat in a launderette waiting for our clothes to wash. (Yes, really. She volunteered, without asking to take turns or whatever. I still can't believe it. Poor Mum.)

Impressive clock tower on the 'Egyptian' church, which is otherwise covered in scaffolding.
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Just a school building.
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Looking up at the centre of a road bridge.
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Convenient riverside rusty-bolt-holder.
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Glasgow's crane, just as a reminder...
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The big crane is in Clydebank and is called 'Titan'. (Presumably this name only came after it was made a tourist attraction.) It's the biggest crane of its type still standing in Britain, or something like that, and the oldest too. Either way it's pretty damn big, and only slightly spoiled by the lift shaft and emergency stairwell they've added. (I'm a little disappointed they didn't use the original stairs, although that probably wouldn't be too great for disabled access.)

We took a train to get there. Our local station was Charing Cross. (Huh?)
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You have to take a shuttle bus from the ticket office across the wasteland-nee-shipyard, which isn't open to the public, then take the lift to the top of the crane. It's rather aggressively fenced in with wire mesh, making it a bit hard to take photos. The floor is also a metal grid. Still, I made an effort.

Here we are on top of the crane, looking out over a large expanse of what used to be shipyard.
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Looking down through the floor.
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I think this is the motor which used to turn the crane.
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Steel cables running down to the big hook thing.
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Two of the four cables that run along the top of the crane from the wheelhouse.
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Machinery in the wheelhouse.
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Looking back along the top of the crane toward the wheelhouse.
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The end of the crane (and a couple of tower blocks).
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Cable winding drums (and big cogwheels).
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Wide view of part of wheelhouse.
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Cables running out through a brushed gap toward the business end of the crane.
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Opposite bank of river. I don't know if this was farmland even when there was a working shipyard...
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There was a short film from the 1960s showing on loop in the wheelhouse; a documentary about shipbuilding on the Clyde, it apparently won some kind of Oscar. Only one brief shot of the crane (along with an awful lot of smaller ones which aren't there any more) but interesting nonetheless, particularly because there was absolutely no hint that all these incredible feats of industry and thousands upon thousands of workers were rapidly approaching a steep decline into the scrapheap. (Do we even have scrapyards any more?)

Looking back up. A long way up.
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Another shot.
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A tale of two cranes (and rather a lot of foreshortening).
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All good things come to an end, so after descending the lift we headed back toward the wonders of Clydebank town - which, to put it politely, is a total hole. Their landmark shopping centre features a pound shop, about three million screaming kids, and unbelievably awful music. I was quite surprised not to find blue anti-junkie lighting in the toilets (if you have to go to that shopping centre regularly, you're going to need to stock up on class As). Anyway, the canal ran through it, so we followed the towpath and got out of there sharpish.

The canal

We were travelling west to the point where the canal joins the Clyde. No particular reason, just because.

Part of a large block of identical corrugated 'bonded warehouses' (for customs) between canal and river.
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Erskine Bridge, a rather impressive road bridge across the canal but also the Clyde.
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The bridge again, taken from where the old ferry used to depart.
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Pilings in the Clyde.
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Bridge certainly looks like overkill when it's just crossing the little canal.
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Dangerous nature trail leading away from the canal towpath.
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The canal ends at a swish-looking marina and the requisite tidal lock into the Clyde in a place called Bowling. We did not spot any actual bowling going on; still, cool name.

Looking back upriver at the bridge.
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And across the river.
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A disused railway line (aka, another tree bridge).
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Safe harbour.
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Boat taking advantage of said safe harbour.
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After that we had a drink in the pub beside the station (the Olympic Games opening ceremony was going on on the pub's TV, but in common with everyone else we ignored it) and got the train back into Charing Cross. The end...

...or not! Because after that first five days we had more holiday in store, albeit of a less crane-filled nature. I'll have pictures and text about our stay on Iona soon, I hope. :)

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.