Robert Hampton

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28th May 2010

Scotland on Sunday
Posted by at 8.59pm | 4 responses | Out and About

Tickets for journeys around Scotland

I think it’s fair to say that I’m not well-travelled. Some people have world maps pinned up on the wall, with a mark on each place they’ve visited. If I did that, it would be confined to the UK, and would involve mainly those places that are reachable with a Saveaway ticket.

So when my friend, Nuno, invited me up to visit him in Glasgow, with a trip to the remote Highland peninsula of Knoydart thrown in, I couldn’t say no. What better way to expand my horizons and experience some new places and sights?

I travelled up to Glasgow on Sunday. I was on a hateful Virgin Voyager train, which had absolutely no space for luggage. I ended up putting my case on the seat next to me and tried to ignore the dirty looks from other passengers. Fortunately the train was only half-full and no-one needed the seat.

Nuno lives in Pollokshields and getting there, from the main Central station, involved a trip on the Glasgow suburban rail network. Excellently, the trains are a similar design to those used by Merseyrail, except ScotRail’s examples are still (more or less) in original condition. A trip on one is like a journey back in time:-

Interior of ScotRail class 314 train

Having withdrawn some funny-looking money from a cashpoint, we set about exploring. Glasgow itself is lovely. It has many things in common with Liverpool; being a tough, working-class city which struggled to reinvent itself as its traditional industries declined, and I soon found myself feeling a real affinity for the place. It’s also full of wonderful buildings, like the Glasgow School of Art building pictured below.

Glasgow School of Art

We reached a bar in a converted church and stopped in for some refreshments. I took out my digital camera to get a picture of the two of us together. The camera, however, had other ideas and refused to turn on, obstinately flashing its power light and refusing to do anything else. After 15 minutes of futile button-pressing, I admitted defeat, and had to fall back to using my mobile phone’s camera, which sadly doesn’t provide the best quality. For example, in this picture, the 2 megapixel resolution makes us look a bit silly:-

Robert and Nuno in a bar

Shortly after, we passed Hillhead subway station and I wanted to go in there and then for a ride. Having heard legends of the tiny little trains that are barely large enough to stand up in, a trip on the Glasgow subway was definitely on my to-do list. However, the station was completely locked up — apparently the subway closes at 6pm on Sundays! Sorry, that is just RUBBISH. You expect that sort of timetable from a rural bus service, not a transport system in one of Scotland’s major cities. Sort it out!

We came across a Persian restaurant and Nuno suggested we try it. I was dubious, but eventually decided that trying new things was the theme for the week and therefore we headed in. The restaurant had evidently only just opened and was very modern inside and out — in fact, the elderly Middle Eastern gentleman, puffing away on a Hookah near to our table, looked almost out of place. The meal (I had Chicken Soltani) was great and came with a huge quantity of Naan bread. My willingness to try new things did not extend to trying the Doogh, a strange-tasting yoghurt and mint based beverage, and I went for the safe option of a Coke.

The last stop on our exploration was a drive to the frankly-massive Tesco on the outskirts of Glasgow, to pick up food and supplies for the next phase of our trip together. Tomorrow would take us through the Scottish Highlands to Mallaig, then on to Inverie — one of the remotest villages in Britain.

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4 Responses
  1. Comment by Andrew
    28th May 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Hmmm maps of the world on the wall with every place visited pinned! Who would do things like that 🙂

  2. Comment by James
    28th May 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Couldn’t agree more on the Glasgow sentiments. It does have a lot in common with Liverpool – in fact, if I had a sudden dose of memory loss while up there, I probably would think I was in Liverpool! I was very impressed with Glasgow, it has to be said.

  3. Comment by Rob F
    28th May 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Ahh, Hillhead – many a fond, fond memory of my Uni days spent on Byres Rd and Ashton Lane. BTW, that subway wasn’t so great on a day-in-day out basis as I had to use it to get to work every day – “tin of sardines” doesn’t even come close 🙁

  4. Comment by Scott
    29th May 2010 at 9:48 am

    You couldn’t use the subway? Boo!