Last week I went up to Glasgow for a few days to stay with some very good friends who are kind enough to provide “lodgings” for the period of my stay (thank you Colin and Fiona). My three previous visits had been virtual washouts owing to the infamous Glasgow wet weather, thus curtailing my photographic opportunities which are usually the focal point of my visits.
On the Thursday morning I awoke to lovely blue sky and just a wisp of cloud, so I quickly breakfasted and then headed out to Loch Lomond, determined to make the most of the good weather and photographic opportunities.
My route along the west side of the lake provided some spectacular views of Ben Lomond, which still had a snow capped peak and looked very impressive. My first stopping off point was at the village of Luss, where a stroll along the lakeside shore offered lovely views across the lake looking southwards, and further impressive views of Ben Lomond looking northwards.
There was a tremendous amount of bird life around including chaffinches, swans, cormorants and numerous other sea birds along the lakeside, and even at this early time of year there were a fair number of people / tourists visiting. A visit to the “general store” provided a welcome cappuccino and Scottish shortbread biscuits (highly recommended and excellent service from the young lady in the shop) before heading off northwards towards Tarbet.
Before you leave, please ensure you walk up the little street in Luss to view the cottages and in particular the one with the train and carriages outside which were full off plants and looked very classy and totally in keeping with the area (I have already ordered one).
There were of course, regular stops along the route to take photographs of the spectacular scenery of this area before swinging left at Tarbet to pick up the road alongside Loch Long.
I stopped in a little village called Arrochar because of the beautiful little church and cemetery which overlook the loch and spent some time wandering around the graveyard, and it occurred to me that I could think of no better place to be buried than in the cemetery with such a stunning view of the hills and loch. The church was unusual in design, in that it had a turret like tower, and this seems to be a feature of churches in this region. It also had a couple of beautiful stain glass windows.
My route then took me southwards along Loch Long and then veering left to pass alongside Gare Loch, home of the famous nuclear submarine base Faslane. Opposite the base is a “Peace camp” consisting of a number of battered old caravans, these of course will be a major deterrent to any invader should we abolish the nuclear deterrent. It is perhaps fortunate we did not have a peace camp and all its idealists (some would say fantasists) in 1939! My only disappointment was that I did not get to see a nuclear submarine sailing along the loch.
Onwards then to the coastal town of Helensburgh, with its long promenade and impressive views back up the loch. I stopped off for a quick bite at the Craigard Restaurant in the centre of the town and managed to get the last portion of the soup of the day “Cullen Skink” which is a thick Scottish soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions (this was at 12.40 so it must have been very popular) accompanied by lovely crusty bread (highly recommended that you visit if in town).
After lunch I spent some time walking around the promenade, just to enjoy the fresh air, and the wonderful views across the loch. I was particularly taken with a purple bench and the panoramic view from the said bench.
I then headed back to Glasgow as I was attending a concert in the city by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra with local star Nicola Benedetti the star soloist in the Brahms violin concerto.
I was very disappointed with the concert and felt that the soloist didn’t seem to be involved, and I had the distinct impression that there had been a lack of rehearsal time for the Brahms concerto. The conductor did announce that Benedetti had “just flown in from a coast to coast tour of North American with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, so perhaps that explains my assessment. The Tchaikovsky 4th Symphony in the second half was much more of a success and the orchestra seemed far more energised. I did look up the review of the concert in The Herald and to my astonishment they gave it five stars!
All photographs (c) Kindadukish 2017