September 9th - 12th -- Glasgow & Bishopton
Another train ride from Inverness to Glasgow and then onto the small community of Bishopton. I tried valiantly to keep my eyes open on this ride. Inverness is in the Highlands of Scotland surrounded by large hills covered in green grass, trees, shrubs and purple heather. There are waterfalls, bogs and of course, scores of sheep. The constant mist punctuated by sunlight makes this the perfect spot for painters (or photographers).
After another “travel adventure” (read: not what we were planning), we finally arrived at the most delightful B&B. The Miller’s Guest house dates from the 1700’s and was originally a stable courtyard. It is in the countryside a few miles outside of Bishopton. There are only two guest rooms and we were the only ones visiting at this time. Jim, Mik and their large yellow lab, Rueben made us feel very welcome -- I will so miss having someone cook me breakfast every morning!
From Glasgow we went to Stirling and visited Stirling Castle. The Castle sits on a high hill and there are wonderful views all around, including a view of the Wallace Monument. The movie Braveheart was based
on William Wallace to whom this monument is dedicated. (Our tour guide let us know that the movie is full of inaccuracies, but he was thankful for the fact that many more people are aware of the area and the boost it has meant for the tourism business.) This weekend was the 150th anniversary of the monument.
From the castle, we boarded a local bus and visited the small community of Muthill where David lived for one year when he was 7. On the bus, we met Jack, a young man who grew up in Muthill. He was a fountain of information and was studying photography at the University of Edinburgh. He was fascinated by David and his photography equipment (moths to a flame).
Muthill has changed little since David lived there 43 years ago -- the cottage he lived in, the school he attended and the church he was baptized in are still all there. I was amazed that all three were within less than a block of one another. The only other thing he remembered (that was no longer there) was the candy store. I found it incredible that he had no memory of the large
ancient ruined church in the centre of the town -- looks just like something small boys would love to explore. Perhaps in the 1960’s exploring old structures in the middle of graveyards was discouraged?
On our final day in Glasgow, we boarded the hop on hop off bus and toured the city -- well some of it. There was a big bike ride going through Glasgow along with a parade -- the “marching season” they call it. One of the stops was the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. It was full of Scottish history, both natural and man-made, as well as art displays from all over Europe. There was a large organ in the museum which was scheduled to play at 3:00 pm. Unfortunately, we had to leave before the concert.
Our next stop was the Glasgow Cathedral. This Cathedral was built in the late 12th century and is the only one of its type in Scotland to survive the destruction that took place during the reformation. I was thrilled when we entered and were met with beautiful organ music! This wasn’t lilting uplifting music, but haunting and heavy -- fitting for this ancient building which has survived
Inside Stirling Castle
The "Queen's" bed chamber.
During our trip, we were often threatened with poor weather, but always seemed to avoid the worst. This last day in Glasgow was the first day we used our umbrellas for any length of time. It was frequently cool and I was grateful that I brought my long johns -- yes, I brought long johns! I also brought shorts. I’m not sure if I would ever wear shorts in Scotland. I saw sun dresses in the shops and wondered who would ever buy them?
I thought the rain was appropriate on our last day -- it mirrored how we felt. We hope to be back one day.
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