Tag Archives: scotland

Greenock's Custom House Quay

Glasgow 2014 flotilla: in pictures

I’ve arrived in Glasgow many times but never before to waving, cheering crowds. The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games have brought people out in their thousands to watch events both ticketed and free – and to launch it all, on Saturday July 26th 250 boats sailed up the Clyde from Greenock to the Glasgow Science Centre.

I was lucky enough to be one of the guests onboard CalMac‘s MV Lochinvar, which led this flotilla – the largest ever seen on the Clyde – up the water from Greenock. The MV Lochinvar is CalMac’s newest vessel and was built at Ferguson’s Shipyard in Port Glasgow – which we would sail past on our voyage. It is also one of the ferry company’s two hybrid ferries, which use innovative technology, including battery banks that supply a minimum of 20% of the energy consumed on board.

We set out from Gourock to join the flotilla, departing from this scenic town at the mouth of the Clyde and making our way up the river that was once the heart of Scotland’s shipbuilding industry. I was expecting heavy industry but instead saw geological anomalies, such as Dumbarton Rock, a fortress that has a longer recorded history than any other in Britain, the grand neoclassical Custom House at Greenock quayside, and thousands of flag-waving locals lining the river’s banks.

Here are just some of the many pictures I took along the way.

 

The MV Lochinvar at Gourock
The MV Lochinvar at Gourock
Leaving Gourock
Leaving Gourock
Arriving at Greenock to join the flotilla
Arriving at Greenock to join the flotilla
Greenock's Custom House Quay
Greenock’s Custom House Quay
An empty car deck aboard MV Lochinvar
An empty car deck aboard MV Lochinvar
Keeping watch from the bridge of MV Lochinvar
Keeping watch from the bridge of MV Lochinvar
Dumbarton Rock
Dumbarton Rock
The MV Lochinvar passes Dumbarton Rock
The MV Lochinvar passes Dumbarton Rock flo
Leading the flotilla up the Clyde to Glasgow
Leading the flotilla up the Clyde to Glasgow
Passing Erskine Bridge
Passing Erskine Bridge
The flotilla passes underneath Erskine Bridge
The flotilla passes underneath Erskine Bridge
A plane flies overhead as we near Glasgow airport
A plane flies overhead as we near Glasgow airport
The flotilla nears Glasgow
The flotilla nears Glasgow
The BAE shipyard, where the nation's new aircraft carriers were recently built
The BAE shipyard, where the nation’s new aircraft carriers were recently built

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Greeting the crowds as we enter Glasgow
Greeting the crowds as we enter Glasgow
Hundreds of spectators lined the waterfront at the Glasgow Science Centre
Hundreds of spectators lined the waterfront at the Glasgow Science Centre
Greeting the crowds at our final destination, the Glasgow Science Centre
Greeting the crowds at our final destination, the Glasgow Science Centre
The yachts finish their journey at Pacific Quay
The yachts finish their journey at Pacific Quay

St Kilda

St Kilda: the islands on the edge of the world

I have just returned from my most epic trip of the year so far – sailing out to the UK’s most isolated islands, the St Kilda archipelago with Hebrides Cruises.

Just reaching these abandoned islands is a feat in itself. Read all about my journey through three days of Atlantic waters and Hebridean islands to reach land on Hirta here.

I was also lucky enough to spend a full day walking on Hirta. Read my article on this here.

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Interactive UK travel guide for the Guardian

When was the last time you took a trip in the UK? Chances are, you’ve been abroad more recently than you’ve walked on a British beach or explored one of our homegrown national parks.

There is a misconception that travelling in the UK is too expensive, too rainy and too dull to be worth the effort.

But I entirely disagree, and so I jumped at the chance to write the content for the Guardian’s interactive travel guide to the UK by rail, in association with ATOC.

Visit the site here, pop in your postcode and find out where you could travel to by rail and for how much.

The guide celebrates the launch of the Two Together railcard, which gives two people who travel together a third off their rail fares. Sounds like an excuse for a UK adventure to me…

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Scottish triptease

Latest Tripteases: Edinburgh and Glasgow

On  my trip to Edinburgh and Glasgow earlier this month I stayed in four different hotels.

All had very different characters, but all were undeniably Scottish. Yes, there was tartan; yes, my luggage was carried by a man in a kilt; and yes, there was complimentary whisky rather than a fruit basket.

But it was more than that; in Scotland, the welcome is everything and at every hotel the staff excelled at making me feel at home.

Appropriate then that this is the Year of Homecoming. Read more about this here. And visit my Triptease collection of Scottish hotel and restaurant reviews here.

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UK family days out for the new year

Over the past few months I’ve been researching the very best family days out around the UK for the Guardian and Hyundai.

For January and February I recommend a visit to the new visitor centre at Stonehenge (see my post on this here), a visit to Maeshowe in Orkney and the British Athletics International Match in Glasgow.

Read more about these, and the others that made my top ten, on the Guardian website here.