Sunday, 19 August 2012

Edinburgh at Festival Time - Some Photographs

Edinburgh at any time of the year is always a busy place but during the month of August it is especially busy as it is the month when the International Festival, Fringe and Military Tattoo are held.

Many of the events are held indoors, but the area around the Mound, just off Princes Street, is where the street performers can be found entertaining the public. I recently went to Edinburgh to have a look around and get a few pictures of these street performers.

Australian Houdini artist from Adelaide

Street artist in chains
In the above photograph the assistant on the left is retired footballer John Collins who played for Hibernian, Celtic, Monaco, Everton, Fulham and Scotland.

Another artist was walking a tightrope playing a violin and flame-throwing. 

An American artist was riding a unicycle and playing bagpipes ...

... as well as throwing knives

A young woman was very acrobatic and could twist her body into different poses. 

Another artist was also performing a Houdini act.

Other artists were Spandy Andy who was packing up as we arrived so we can only imagine what his act was all about.

And another lady in a red dress who was entertaining the crowds.

Most of the street actors depend on donations from the public so it is expected for people to give to the acts which they enjoyed.

All the acts were very good - we would have stayed longer but the rain came and it was decided to pack up for the day.

Further Information

Edinburgh International Festival

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Summerlee - The Museum of Scottish Industrial Life

                                                             View Summerlee Museum in Coatbridge in a larger map

 Summerlee Museum


Summerlee in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire is a museum dedicated to industrial life and includes heavy engineering equipment, a reconstructed coal mine, a working tramcar, workers cottages equipped with items from various decades and an indoor museum.

It is run by North Lanarkshire Council and is a 'VisitScotland' '4-star' rated visitor attraction. In the last few years 10GBP million has been spent on its redevelopment. On the day of our visit it was a warm and sunny which made it more enjoyable.

Summerlee Ironworks

The museum is built on the site of the old Summerlee Ironworks and includes the main workshop of the former Hydrocon Crane factory, which in now used a visitor centre. The museum shows Lanarkshire's contribution to engineering with its many items of equipment.

As it was such a good day we spent most of the time looking at the external buildings and equipment rather than the indoor exhibits. The tram was operating throughout the day ferrying passengers to the mine. We walked the short distance to the mine and the miners cottages.



Miners Houses

Unfortunately the mine visits were fully booked so we spent some time in a small street which contained the houses of former miners which were in use when the mines were fully operational. The houses were furnished in the style of different periods from the 1840's until the 1980's.

Street with miners houses
1840's living room

1880's living room
1900's living room

1940's living room
1960's living room
1980's living room
 It was very interesting seeing how household fashions change over the decades.

Mining equipment

We were only able to see the external part of the mine but there was not much to see at ground level.

Locomotive No. 4112

There a large locomotive on display. This was a No. 4112 locomotive built by the North British locomotive Company in Springburn, Glasgow in 1956. During its working life it had been used in South Africa to transport to transport freight.

No. 4112 locomotive

Rail Steam Crane

Another large piece of engineering equipment was a rail steam crane which was made in 1944 by Marshall Fleming for Colvilles Steelworks and used at Clydebridge Steelworks in Rutherglen and the Dalzell Steelworks in Motherwell from the 1950's until 1986. It was the last steam crane made in Scotland.

Rail steam crane
They were used as railway breakdown cranes and are often seen on heritage railways in the United Kingdom.

The above is a short description of the day. There were many items of equipment indoors and I will write about these in a later article as well as the visit to the mine. It is a great day out and well worth a visit.

Further Information

Heritage Way

North Lanarkshire Council:

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Glasgow walk - Circular walk from Linn Park

                                                                             View Linn Park in a larger map

I recently went on a walk organised by Glasgow City Council from Linn Park through Kings Park,  Castlemilk Park, Cathkin Braes and back to Linn Park. This was roughly 10 miles and involved much climbing.

Our guild was Gary who was able to point out many interesting things throughout the walk. Linn Park is located in the south of the city - 'linn' is the Scottish word for waterfall. 

Waterfall at Linn Park
 Maxwell Family

The land was originally owned by the Maxwell Family who were based at Pollok House. The remains of Cathcart Castle are located in the north of the park and a larger mansion house built by shipping merchant Colin Campbell has been converted into private homes.

 Himalayan Balsam

There are a number of woodland walks in the park and our walk took us north-eastwards towards Kings Park. Much of the walk through the park was along the banks of the River Cart and Gary pointed out many of the plants and trees along the way. There were many Himalayan Balsam plants along the riverbank. These are attractive pink flowers which were introduced inthe the UK in 1839 and which are now a major weed problem.

Himalayan balsam tolerates low light levels and also shades out other vegetation which gradually kills off other plants.

Himalayan Balsam
 Holmwood House

During the walk through Linn Park we passed Holmwood House which was originally build for James Couper who had a papermill in the area. It is now in the ownership of the National Trust for Scotland. The house was designed by Alexander 'Greek' Thomson in in 1857-8 and was influenced by classical designs. it is well worth a visit.

Snuff Mill Road
 Snuff Mill Road

Our walk continued to the end of the parkland when we arrived at Snuff Mill Road in Cathcart.This was an area, which as the name suggests, contained a mill. The original mill was built in the18th century as Cathcart Meal Mill and became a cardboard mill in 1812 for Solomon Lindsay of Penicuik. In 1814 a snuff mill was added. The River Cart was an important river for industrial use.

 Kings Park

After a short walk through old Cathcart and its magnificent houses we arrived at our next park - Kings Park. This originally was a private estate containing Aikenhead House and its grounds, which was gifted to Glasgow Corporation in May 1930. This was developed by the  Corporation and renamed King's Park.

 Aitkenhead House

Kings Park is much smaller than Linn Park, but is still a beautiful park. As we walked through the park we could see Aitkenhead House, which was built by John Gordon. Aikenhead House, as it now stands, was built in 1806, and wings were added to it in 1823 from designs of the celebrated architect, David Hamilton.

Aitkenhead House
 Castlemilk Park

After exiting the park, we walked along a residential street before arriving at Castlemilk Park. On the grass verge was a stone canoe, which was a pleasant addition to the area. The Council has provided many resources to develop the park into an interesting woodland experience. There were many paths, making it a pleasant walk.

Stone Canoe
 Cathkin Braes

A steep climb took us to the area known as the Cathkin Braes which gave magnificent views of the city. We stopped for lunch before continuing to Carmunnock.

View from Cathkin Braes

On the way to Carmunnock we saw the work which is being carried out to build the mountain bike circuit for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. After the games, the course will be available for use by all cyclists.

Mountain bike route for Commonwealth Games 2014
 Homeward Bound

The walk continued through a pleasant meadow before arriving at a place called Pedmyre. A short walk along a road took us to more woodland which would lead us back to Linn Park and the place where we started the walk. The path was steep in places, but not too difficult. The sunlight filtered through the trees making it a pleasant experience walking in the subdued light.

On this part of the journey we passed some observation buildings remaining from the Second World War.

Buildings remaining from Second World War

Our walk was coming to an end. We left Linn park at 10.00 and at 17.30 we had arrived back to the place where we had started. The walk had been 11 miles through pleasant parkland in the south of Glasgow.

A small hill climb
Plant and Flowers

During the walk we saw some many plants and trees.


tree bark

Review of the Walk

The walk was very enjoyable and well organised. Our guide Gary was able to provide us with very interesting information along the way which added to the enjoyment.

Further Information

Glasgow City Council, Land and Environmental Services, 231George Street, Glasgow, G1 1RX