Category Archives: Scotland

What to do in Scotland; attractions in Scotland and the best places to visit in Scotland.

Above Below Beyond by Janeanne Gilchrist at the Fergusson Gallery, Perth, Scotland

When I visited the Fergusson Gallery in mid November 2017, it was the day before the Above Below Beyond exhibition was due to open. The photographer Janeanne Gilchrist is the recipient of the 2018 Fergusson Arts Award.

These underwater images were taken by Gilchrist when free diving off the Scottish coast.

The Above Below Beyond exhibition at Perth’s Fergusson Gallery runs until the 13th of April 2018.

West Highland Line to Oban

Taking the West Highland Line from Glasgow to Oban is a train journey which I’d been intending to do for ages. I seized the opportunity when Scotrail announced their £17 return fare between any two stations in Scotland, available to members to Scotrail Club 50 members.

Below is a pictorial record of the railway journey on the West Highland Line to Oban.

Clyde Estuary approaching Dumbarton

Dumbarton Central Station

West Highland Line near Dumbarton

West Highland Line near Gairloch

West Highland Line near Gairloch

West Highland Line near Gairloch

West Highland Line near Tarbert

Beinn Dorain topped by cloud

West Highland Line near Tyndrum

West Highland Line near Dalmally

West Highland Line near Dalmally

Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe

Loch Awe

Loch Awe

West Highland Line near Falls of Cruachan

The descent into Oban

My outward journey from Glasgow to Oban on the West Highland Line was fantastic. I had the four seats at a table to myself and the sun was shining for most of the trip.

I was a different story on the return journey. I had booked a seat on the 14.40 train from Oban for the following day. But it was such a wet day, and my Club 50 £17 return was a flexible ticket, so I decided to go for the earlier 12.11 train. I arrived at Oban station in plenty of time to increase my chances of finding an unreserved seat on the two carriage train.

A good thing that I was there early, as I managed to grab one of the four unreserved seats on the train. The train was packed, with quite a few people standing until we reached Crianlarich, where our two coaches were hooked up with a four carriage train which had come from the Mallaig.

The initial part of the journey from Oban to Crianlarich was awful. It was a struggle to get through the train to reach the one toilet. You could hardly see the scenery due to the rain and condensation on the windows, and it felt cold on the train.

So definitely a journey of two halves, with the first being infinitely more enjoyable.

Willow Tea Rooms at Watt Brothers Glasgow

Visiting a Willow Tea Room in Glasgow is something that I’d been meaning to do for ages.

My opportunity came when the Willow at Watt Brothers in Sauchiehall Street, hosted an event during Doors Open Days in September 2017.

It was a morning event with a talk about the history of tea in Glasgow, during which tea and homemade shortbread would be served.

The talk was very interesting. I’d hadn’t realised that Thomas Lipton was a Glaswegian. But I do find it strange that Lipton tea is more popular outside the UK. I also learned that the famous Cutty Sark tea carrying ship was built on the Clyde.

The Cranston family were heavily involved in the development on tea rooms in Glasgow. Stuart Cranston opened his first tea shop in St Enoch Square. His younger sister Catherine followed suit, commissioning Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald. to design her tea room in Ingram Street in 1896.

I must say that the selection of baking at the Willow Tea Room at Watt Brothers looked very tempting.

Music from the Balconies – Ed Ruscha and Los Angeles

The Music from the Balconies – Ed Ruscha and Los Angeles exhibition runs until 29 April 2018 in Modern One at the Scottish National Gallery for Modern Art in Edinburgh.

Below are photos of some pieces featured in the show.

It’s free to enter the Music from the Balconies – Ed Ruscha and Los Angeles exhibition. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh is open every day from 10am to 5pm.

Britannia Panopticon in Glasgow

Glasgow’s Britannia Panopticon is the world’s oldest surviving music hall. It opened in the late 1850s.

One of Britannia Panopticon’s claims to fame is that the sixteen year old Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy) made this first stage appearance there.

There’s plenty of memorabilia to see including costumes, musical instruments, photos and posters.

There are still shows and movie screenings at Britannia Panopticon. I’d advise you to wrap up warmly if you attend, as there’s no heating in the building.

You can visit the Britannia Panopticon Tuesdays to Saturdays, between noon to 5pm, but do check before visiting in case there is an event on the day which you are planning to visit.

It’s fee to enter, but a donation is requested,

Review of Elia Greek Resaurant Glasgow

The Elia Greek restaurant is located in Glasgow’s George Square. I had lunch there with our son Simon. The two course set menu cost £7 per person.

Bread and olives were brought to our table.

For starter, I had Taramasalata (cod roe dip).

Simon had Dolmades (vine leaves stuffed with rice and minced meat). which were very good.

My main course was Moussaka. I was a bit surprised that I was offered either chips or rice with the Moussaka, as the dish already contains a potato layer. I assume that this is to keep costs down on the set lunch. My Moussaka was tasty, but rather heavy on the cheese sauce topping and light on meat and aubergine.

Simon’s main course was Chicken Souvalaki. The chicken was tender,

The staff all seemed to be Greek and service was good.

For £7 a head for a two course lunch in central Glasgow, the Elia Greek restaurant offers value for money. Personally, I’d rather pay a bit more to have a more meaty main course without chips.

The Scottish Colourists at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Glasgow

There’s a permanent exhibition of the works of the Scottish Colourists at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

Here are photos of some of my favourite paintings.

Still Life – White Roses by Peploe

Interior – The Orange Blind by Cadell

Roses by Peploe

Barra by Peploe

A Lady in Black by Cadell

The Pink Parasol by Fergusson

Lady in White by Peploe

Torso of a Woman by Fergusson

Review of the County Hotel in North Berwick

I stayed at the County Hotel North Berwick on a Sunday night in mid September 2017.

I’ve visited the Scottish east coast town of North Berwick many times on day trips, but I was tempted to stay for the night when I found a single room for £19 for the night, on a room only basis, on the ebookers hotel website. As I had £3 in my ebookers Bonus+ account, the price of the room was reduced to £16.

The County Hotel is located on the High Street in North Berwick. I checked in a the bar, and was shown to my room by a friendly young man.

I was allocated a twin room, although I had paid for a single room. I was grateful for the extra space, as single rooms are often very pokey.

My room was a the back of the hotel. I was happy with this, as it meant that I didn’t hear any road noise.

I didn’t find the bed to be that comfortable, I could feel some springs sticking into me. The shower room was really small. You couldn’t fully open the door into the shower room, due to the proximity of one of the beds.

If I’d paid the standard price of around £60 for a room at the County Hotel North Berwick. I wouldn’t have judged the room to offer good value for money.

But at £16, I enjoyed my stay. I saw a different side of North Berwick in the late evening and following morning, when there were hardly any other visitors around.

Click here to check availability and price at the County Hotel North Berwick.