Date: 10-11th June 2018
Travelled: 164 kilometres from Ballatrae to Dunbarton, Scotland.
Visited: Crossraguel Abbey £4pp and Glasgow.
Stayed: Dunbarton Fortress car park, free. N55.93620, W04.56134
We have a very quiet evening parked on the beach at Ballatrae. Up early again, we coffee have some fruit and go for a half hour walk around the village. It’s very quiet place this time of the morning, but then again it was yesterday afternoon as well. We wave goodbye to our neighbours, two of the three driving Irish registered motorhomes.
Driving north again on the A77 following the coast. The road is relatively narrow, closely following the water’s edge. Not sure if it’s still the Irish Sea out there but Ailsa Craig can be seen through the mist occasional. I try for a picture but it disappears again in the mist and the photo is not worth posting.
Arriving at Crossraguel Abbey just in time for toast and coffee in the carpark. We passed Culzean Castle a couple of miles back but the £15pp entry fee encouraged us to drive on and visit Crossraguel instead.
Always a good idea to take a photo of the sign, all these ruins become a bit of a blur after a while. The office lady is very helpful and obviously passionate about the place.
The abbey complex is very large, the ruins set around a church. Half of the church is scaffolded for stabilisation work, so here is Pam outside the part you can access.
You can climb the tower so we head over there to get a better overall look at the abbey.
From the tower looking north the scaffolded church. The smaller tower house was the abbot’s house. Work on the abbey started in the 12th century, it was at its most complete by 1530.
Another view of the abbey. The remains of smaller buildings can be seen in the foreground.
There are cellars beneath many of the buildings, and a stream has been re-directed under the main buildings to provide fresh water through a series of wells. That’s me of course sitting amongst the tombstones.
We say goodbye to the lady in the office and continue our travells following the coastline on the A78. We could turn and take the M77 straight to Glasgow but as we don’t have a stopping spot planned we decide to stay on the coast, following the Firth of Clyde into the mouth of the Clyde River. Its lunchtime by now and the Sunday traffic is picking up, mind you I had to ask Pam if it was Sunday. In campercar world everyday is Sunday !
We stop for lunch in a small carpark overlooking the water near Seamill, we discuss Glasgow and decide to sort it out after a nap.
Glasgow is not a motorhome friendly place, there is no dedicated parking. The only parking is the P&R adjoining several of the train stations. But they state no overnight parking. However we do find some dedicated parking at Dunbarton Fortress and there is a railway station just up the street. So we decide to give Dunbarton a go.
At Dunbarton Fortress we find a few extra long parking spots, with no unfriendly gates or signs. I go for a walk, chat to one of the ladies in the office, no problems she states. By 9pm that evening we have been joined by 3 other motorhomes.
That’s the Fortress up there. 550 stairs to the top, but that’s a story for another blog.
After breakfast we lock up the Hymer and walk up to East Dunbarton Railway Station, a train arrives just as we do and luckily enough its heading for Queen Street Station in Glasgow. The train has a conductor and he charges us £5pp for the return ticket. He explains that we can break the journey which will prove handy later.
We arrive at Queen Street Station, Glasgow about 25 minute later.
Given we have spent more time working out how to get here and next to no time working out what we are going to do here. We open the Lonely Planet and follow it’s city tour guide. It starts at this statue of Donald Dewar outside Glasgow’s concert hall.
Pam stands at the top of Buchanan Street, this shopping thoroughfare is about a kilometre in length.
Seems a little unkind doesn’t it ? A statue of Wellington outside the Museum of Modern Art.
Standing in George Square surrounded by impressive other victorian architecture, the City Chambers.
We wander through a maze of small streets looking for a coffee shop without success. We are still following our guide as we walk up hill to a high point overlooking the city.
Glasgow Cathedral is dark and imposing, apparently the current building dates to the 15th century.
The carpet in the alter provides a vivid contrast to the aged stone and timber work above.
Looking back across the transept from the alter towards the nave. The cathedral organ pipes and its complex oak ceiling.
Unfortunately the iPhone cannot capture the colour of the lead light as well as the human eye.
Every cathedral needs a spare part department.
That’s the end of the LP guided tour, thank goodness it’s all downhill from here. The walk has taken us two hours to finish. We find a nice little coffee shop and relax. We were last in Scotland 7 years ago and you couldn’t get anything but instant coffee back then. So for something a little different, the LP states that Glasgow is the home of Indian food in Scotland. Arguably the best in Glasgow is Mother India in West Glasgow. So we head to central railway to try and find it…
Other than the Taj Mahal the best thing in India is the beer. How reassuring it was to see this friendly sign above the entrance.
The food was excellent, more like our recent trip to India than our favourite Indian at home. Anyway well worth the trouble of breaking our journey back the Dunbarton.
Co-incidentally Glasgow’s best museum the Kelvingrove is just across the road from Mother India. At this stage of the day we are full of food, beer and wine. However checking the LP the Kelvingrove holds Salvador Dali’s ‘Christ of St John of the Cross’. You would remember we are into Dali, since our visit to Figueres in Spain and the Dali museum. So despite being ready for the Hymer and a rest we walk across the road.
After an hour of wandering about looking at Egyptian sarcophagus and stuffed boar we eventually made the modern art section only to find the Dali is out on loan, bugger.
A little disappointed, we walk back to the station. We managed an express home to East Dunbarton in only 15 minutes but we would have enjoyed the Dali more. The Hymer is waiting for us with cold beer and wine and some leftover. Which is luck as its been a long day !