Category Archives: Scotland

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

Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness at Dundee Contemporary Arts

The Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness exhibition runs until the 27 May 2018 at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA).

It is a exhibition of works by various artists, curated by John Walter.

I really liked the exhibition. There were several colourful sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle, whose work I have saw at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice, France.

Andrew Logan’s sculptures, constructed with broken tiles, mirrors, jewels, resin and glitter, appealed to me. The head in the cage below reminded me of Louise Bourgeois’ cells, which I’ve seen at Tate Modern in London. Although Logan’s subject looked a lot happier, and more glamourous, than the occupants of Bourgeois’ cells.

If you’re in Dundee, why not take a look at Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness at DCA. It’s free to enter. It’s open every day from 10.00 to 18.00, with late opening until 20.00 on Thursday. My Dad is a fan of the Jute Cafe Bar at DCA.

Visiting Kellie Castle Garden in Scotland

I visited Kellie Castle gardens in early October.

It was a beautiful sunny day.

I had a picnic lunch in small gated garden. The flowers there made it seem like Spring instead of Autumn.

There’s a recreation of  Hew Lorimer’s scuplture studio.

In a continuation of that theme, the Talking Heads @ Kellie Castle features three animal sculptures by local secondary school pupils.

There are three alpacas grazing in the field at the front of the castle.

Edinburgh Lumen

You’d better move fast if you want to see the Edinburgh Lumen display, as it only runs until tomorrow, Sunday 11 March 2018. There is no entry fee.

There are three light installations around Edinburgh city centre. But I only had time to visit two, as I wanted to catch the last train back home to Stirling before the start of the dreaded evening bus replacement service.

The Ocean Of Light on the Mound was beautiful. It is nine metres square, consisting of 12,000 suspended light bulbs and you can walk through it.

The displays start at 5pm and end at 10.30pm.

I’d recommend that you visit after 6.30pm, once it’s dark. I walked past the Ocean of Light around 5.20pm, on my way to the Drawing Room at the RSA. As you can see from the photos below, the display didn’t looked great in the daylight.

The other installation which I saw was Serenity Gardens in St Andrew Square.

Hidden Gems at City Art Centre Edinburgh

The Hidden Gems exhibition at Edinburgh’s City Art features some less well known pieces. Its’s free to enter and the exhibition runs until 13 May 2018.

Below are my favourites at the Hidden Gems show.

The first three are tapestries.

Relief (739) by Louise Hopkins

Cockerel by Archie Brennan

El Greco by Alice Hannigan

I liked the bold white outline of the head in the piece below.

Head of a Woman by Anthony Hatwell

I’ve seen many sculptures by Henry Moore, by not many paintings.

Upright Motives by Henry Moore

I was interested in the two screen prints below, as I have been attending screen printing evening classes at my local college.

The Romance of the Civil Service by R B Kitaj

Seated Figure by Frank Auerbach

Mixed media on canvas was used to create the piece below.

Vainish I by William Dick

Aberdeenshire Landscape by David Morrison Buyers

The Sou’Westers, Arbroath by Morris Grassie

This Stoney Rubbish, The Son of Man by William Crosbie

House for an Art Lover in Glasgow

I finally got around to visiting the House for an Art Lover during the Glasgow Doors Open event in 2017. The house was designed in 1901 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald as an entry for a German design magazine competition.

However construction of the House for an Art Lover wasn’t started until 1989, with completion in 1996.

There are some fantastic lights in the House for an Art Lover.

My favourite room was the Music Room, entered through doors decorated with stained glass.

The room was set up for a wedding reception taking place that afternoon.

The Dining Room was pretty impressive, if a bit dark for my taste.

I really liked the House for an Art Lover. It’s located in Bellahouston Park, which lies close the J1 of the M77.


A Winter’s Morning Walk in Broughty Ferry, Dundee

Wneh I stayed at the Fisherman’s Tavern in Broughty Ferry, a coastal suburb north of Dundee city centre, in late November, I decided to go for a walk along the Tay Estuary immediately after breakfast. It was a really sunny, but cold and breezy, morning.

Broughty Ferry RNLI station is located close to the Fisherman’s Tavern. There’s a private pier out to the lifeboat.

The morning sun illuminated the boat sheds at the  Royal Tay Yacht Club.

It was so different looking back towards Broughty Ferry  with the low sun shining across the water.

A bit further along in the  Dundee direction. there was a sculpture and some seats with inscriptions.

I could see the Tay Road Bridge in the distance.

On my way back I walked down to the public pier. I couldn’t get a good photo of Broughty Ferry Castle, due to the low sun.

If you’re in Broughty Ferry, I recommend a walk along the Estuary towards Dundee.

Review of Peebles Hydro Hotel

i stayed at the Peebles Hydro Hotel in the Scottish Borders on a Wednesday night in November 2017. I paid £36 for a single room, including breakfast, on the Amoma hotel booking website.

I arrived at the hotel around 3pm, just as it was starting to rain. I couldn’t find a space to park the car at the front of the hotel, but there were spaces in the small car park a little way down the hill.

There was a beautiful fountain opposite the entrance to the hotel.

The exterior of the Peebles Hydro is pretty impressive

As is the staircase up to the reception desk.

The receptionist who checked me in was very friendly.

I was happy with my single room, as it was a good size.

It was located at the rear of the hotel. The window looked out on some trees.

The room was quite low key with muted colours apart from the curtains. I found the bed to be very comfortable. The WiFi was very good.

The bathroom was also spacious. The bath was large.

The breakfast was much better than in many other Scottish hotels in which I have stayed recently. The fresh fruit salad and fruity yoghurt were tasty.

The restaurant was rather grand with several chandaliers.

As it was dry that morning, I had a walk around the grounds of Peebles Hydro.

There was an archery area, tennis courts and outdoor chess/draughts.

Overall, I enjoyed my stay at the Peebles Hydro Hotel. At £36 for bed and breakfast, it was good value for money. The location is beautiful. My single room was much larger than the single rooms in most hotels. The breakfast was good quality and all the staff were focused customer service.

Click here to check availability and price at the Peebles Hydro Hotel.

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.