Glasgow Again!

I left home with a vague idea of where I wanted to go, and the addresses of some shops. A two and a half hour bus journey seemed like the perfect opportunity to actually work out where I was going to go! I therefore made the following itinerary: As you can see, I had a very full day ahead of me, its just a shame that I can only walk at 3-4mph, as otherwise I might have got it all done...

The Canal & Motorway

I managed to find the right way out of the bus station first time, and was soon heading north east towards one of the M8's most notorious junctions - J15 with the A803. This is one of the ones with offside slips, and other wonderful idiosyncracies! Fortunately, I was just a spectator to all this madness, standing on the A804 overbridge a little to the west. It did help me to understand the place a little better though. I soon moved on (after all, you're far more interested in the canal aren't you? Why is that, after all they are both major scars in the landscape / cityscape designed for the movement of goods and people. Why is it that Canals are seen as beautiful, and motorways as pure evil? Yes, I do know the answer!!).
Just to the north of the M8, and in places virtually touching it, is the Forth & Clyde Canal. This has been heavily restored in recent years, including a new section with a lock at either end. Nothing odd there then, except that the new bit is lower that either end, I reckon the canal used to be level round there, but the new road had been built on the canal, so they had to make a new cut! A little further on was this old wharf area (Speirs Wharf):
After that, I dropped down to the A81, which meets the A804 again under the M8, and does all sorts of strange things. I then walked the wrong way along the M8 (as a map would show it, but in actual point of fact I was heading west underneath the eastbound carriageway!) up to the other hideously scary junction on the motorway - 17/18 where the A82 my road home starts. Again, I found a variety of underpasses and footbridges to gain a view of some of this spaghetti of roads, before retreating to the sanity of the Great Western Road.

Great Western Road

As its name suggests, the GWR (for short) is the main road leading west out of Glasgow. It hasn't always been the A82, but it is now, and that is the road to home. It is also probably the longest road (excluding motorways) that I have driven end-to-end, albeit in two different journeys. I have done each half several times in fact!
Anyway, why was I so interested in the GWR? On the bus in I had been admiring the architecture of the grand terraces as far out as Anniesland Cross, but that was unfortunatley 2 miles further out than I had time for today. There is also the Cathedral, but most importantly of all, a tiny enclave of (3) second hand bookshops! This is of course, just a stones throw from the university so if anything its a surprise that there aren't more.
The buildings along the GWR are all pretty special, big tall Victorian terraces, some may be older, with elegant squares and crescents hidden behind. I sadly didn't have time to explore any of these 'back streets' really, but I shall return in the future for another look. I can get off the bus at Anniesland and walk back, and now that I know how it all works (the bus that is), I shall do this if I ever get the bus in in the future. Of the bookshops, I only found two. The first in a basement, and small with over half the space given over to Records and sheet music. The second slightly bigger, in a mews, with more books stacked on the floor in front of the shelves than on the shelves themselves. As a result, I didn't manage to find any books I wanted, but I did buy about 8 old maps - another passion of mine!!

Kelvingrove Park & The Museum of Transport

As I left the bookshop, I had reached the point of being desparate, and had no way of knowing where the nearest convenience might be. I knew that the Kelvingrove Museum would provide relief, so headed that way. As I reached the back of the university, I even found a sign and followed it, but to no avail and simply ended up walking the long way round to the museum! Never mind though, as I passed some more great architecture, and some less so.
Now able to enjoy myself once more, I crossed the road to the museum of Transport, which I thought had moved, but evidently not quite yet. I had been there before, of course, but as its free and I was there, I decided to take another look. I won't bore you with any pictures though... Oh, go on then, just the one (right)!

The Clyde Again

You may have already read my account of a brief strole along the River Clyde a month or so ago, well thanks to the Clydeside Expressway being in the way, I managed to start off at the Clyde Arc once more. However, I then headed east and followed the river all the way up to Bridgegate where the A8 crosses the river. Unfortunately, I had mis-remembered my route and turned up here. Well, it was partly to see this building:

Glasgow Cross & The Merchant City

I soon corrected my mistake and found the right road, without retracing my steps. This meant that I quickly found the little enclave (3) of model shops, and again visited two of them! The first was basically full of Airfix Kits, the second Hornby Railways, so neither satisifed my hunger for cars, although I did find a rather nice Hillman Avenger that used to belong to Avon & Somerset Police!
But back to the point, this area seems to be the heart of the Medieval City, stretching up to the Cathedral further north. The Mercat Cross, Tollbooth and all other things that the Glasgow Corporation built long before Sauchiehall Street had been invented still stand round here. It is perhaps one of the nicest bits of the city, busy but not crowded. It reminded me of the Corn Street area in Bristol.
From there, I wandered up to George Square, its centre overtaken with an Ice Rink and fun fair for the Christmas period. Again, there is some stunning architecture in this part of Glasgow, Victorian Exuberance at its very best! And that was it, dusk fell and I spent the last two hours perusing the shops and spending a little money. I spent nearly an hour in Borders, browsing their closing down sale, but most of the good stuff had already gone. The deals certainly weren't tempting enough for what was left (a very nice book with 30% off, from 40. 28? I think not). I did get a few cheaper bits though!

And so we reach the end of my day out in Glasgow. 11miles, 7 hours and less than 80 spent, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Enough to risk the bus journey again anyway. Talking of the bus journey, coming back up from Bridge of Orchy, the moon found a large gap in the cloud and the illumination of the landscape and stacked clouds was magical. But, therin lies the problem. If I had been driving, I could have stopped and taken a photo...