Monthly Archives: October 2017

buchanan street

Glasgow, Scotland

September 2017

By late afternoon we left Falkirk Wheel headed for Ibis Budget, Glasgow our hotel for the night. On the way, we stopped by Glasgow Green, a park in the east end of Glasgow. It is a 55 hectares (136 acres) park and is the oldest of the city’s parks situated on the north bank of the River Clyde. Here you’ll find St Andrew’s suspension bridge built in 1855. It is a wrought iron suspension bridge and the only interest to us is it looks great being photographed!

St Andrew's suspension bridge

The bridge on the side of Adelphi street.

St Andrew's suspension bridge

Beautifully maintained after all this years.

St Andrew's suspension bridge

The bridge on the side of Glasgow Green.

St Andrew's suspension bridge

Plaque on Glasgow Green side.

Glasgow, Scotland

Overlooking river Clyde & Glasgow city from the bridge.

Glasgow, Scotland

Welcome to Glasgow Green.

Glasgow, Scotland

Part of the Glasgow Green park.

Glasgow, Scotland

Nelson’s Monument in the park.

Located at Springfield Quay, this will be our first time be staying at Ibis Budget Hotel. It’s sort of away from Glasgow city centre. The hotel floor starts on the 6th, and guest are entitled to free parking. The building incorporates a multi level car park for what seems to be unattended. Although lighted during the night, the car park gives an ‘unsecured’ feeling. Nothing happened however when we checked-out the next morning.

Check-in was effortless but the lift from the car park up to the hotel level is confusing. The room is a little smallish but clean. In what seems to be a little oddly designed, the wash basin is ‘exposed’ to the room and away from the shower whilst the toilet is in its own closet.

Ibis Budget Glasgow

Ibis Budget, Glasgow. Located at Springfield Quay. Free parking provided.

Ibis Budget Glasgow

The rather compact room.

Ibis Budget Glasgow

CTV by the corner of the room. Ample 240v power sockets to charge your devices.

Ibis Budget Glasgow

The shower cubical and the exposed wash basin outside the cubical.

Ibis Budget Glasgow

Toilet in a separate closet. No water pipes here.

Once freshen up, we took a bus on the other side of the hotel facing the main road to Glasgow city centre. You can take bus no. 9 or 10 and you would want to disembark at Buchanan bus station. You’ll take the same bus for your return journey and get off at Paisley Road bus stop. The adult single bus fare is £1.40 payable to the bus driver.

Disembarking at the Buchanan bus station, you’ll get a chance to see The Clyde clock. It is a 20 foot high stainless steel clock, suspended on two long legs made to seem like they are in motion, running to get somewhere. Across the road, is the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Walking around this building will bring you to Buchanan Galleries and the start of Buchanan street.

buchanan street

The Clyde clock in-front of Buchanan Bus Station.

buchanan street

The Glasgow Royal concert hall opposite Buchanan bus station.

buchanan street

Buchanan Galleries back-to-back to the concert hall.

Buchanan Street is one of the main shopping areas in Glasgow. Although Edinburgh is the capital, Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland. Buchanan street forms the central stretch of Glasgow’s famous shopping district with a generally more upmarket range of shops.

buchanan street

The busy Buchanan street.

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Buchanan street is pedestrian boulevard.

buchanan street

The shopping street in Glasgow.

buchanan street

Hard Rock Cafe located on Buchanan street.

buchanan street

No doubt where we are.

buchanan street

Tribute to Nelson Mandela.

buchanan street

Allsaints & their signature display of sewing machines from floor to ceiling.

buchanan street

Princes Square shopping mall.

Within the vicinity of Ibis Hotel, one will be able to see the ‘Clyde Arc’, a road bridge spanning river Clyde that flows behind Nando’s. Quite an interesting form of a curved bridge design that crosses the river at an angle and providing Glasgow with an interesting landmark. A great place to walk and take photos of the surrounding.

glasgow, scotland

The ‘Clyde Arc’ over river Clyde. Photographed behind Nando’s nearby our hotel.

glasgow, scotland

On the opposite side, the Kingston bridge.

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Falkirk Wheel

The Falkirk Wheel, Falkirk, Scotland

September 2017

Leaving the Kelpies, we headed for another technological marvel 5 miles away, the Falkirk Wheel. The wheel is a rotating boat lift that connects Forth and Clyde Canal below with the Union Canal above. There are two ways to transport a boat between waterways at two different elevations. A common method is to employ locks, the other is to physically lift the boat from one waterway and place it on to another.

Falkirk Wheel

The Falkirk Wheel from the car park.

Falkirk Wheel

Closer perspective from behind. Those massive gears.

Falkirk Wheel

Boats at the basin of the Falkirk Wheel. This basin is man-made.

The lift is named after the town it resides, Falkirk in central Scotland. The wheel raises boats up 24 metres (79 ft), but the Union Canal is still 11 metres (36 ft) higher than the aqueduct which meets the gondola above. Boats therefore have to pass through a pair of locks to be connected to the Union Canal above. The Falkirk Wheel is the world’s first and only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world and is regarded as an engineering landmark.

Falkirk Wheel

What the boat trip entails.

The two canals were previously connected by a series of 11 locks that stepped down across a distance of 1.5km. With a 35-metre (115 ft) difference in height, it take most of the day to pass through the 11 locks. Over 1000 people were employed in the construction of the wheel, which has been designed to last for at least 120 years.

Falkirk Wheel

Boats anchored at the Wheel’s basin.

Falkirk Wheel

View of the Falkirk Wheel from the back.

Falkirk Wheel

There are water locks from the basin to Forth and Clyde Canal below.

This is truly an absurd creation. Boats enter one of the Wheel’s gondolas and are lowered or raised, along with the water that they float in, to the basin below or the aqueduct above. It works on the Archimedes principle of displacement. The mass of the boat sailing into the gondola will displace an exactly proportional volume of water so it balances the original total mass. The equal weight allows the gondolas to remain perfectly balanced. The wheel rotates through 180° in 5½ minutes.

A spectacular piece of engineering to watch in action. No fees for entrance but a £3 parking is imposed. For a fee, you might want to try a boat ride that takes you up the canal and back down. Boat trips on the wheel departs approximately once an hour.

Falkirk Wheel

Two boats parked alongside in the gondola at the basin. Gondola rear door closing.

Falkirk Wheel

The gondola being lifted out of the water anti-clockwise.

Falkirk Wheel

Half way through the transfer process.

Falkirk Wheel

Safely connected to the aqueduct above. Front gondola door opens and the boats sail away.

Pictures or videos are worth more than 1,000 words.

The Forth and Clyde Canal connects to the Keplies, then into river Carron and eventually meets the Firth of Forth, the estuary that leads to the North Sea. So theoretically, you can take a boat from the Falkirk basin and sail right up to the North Sea.

Falkirk Wheel

Water play park by the basin. No, you don’t get to play or swim in the basin.

Falkirk Wheel

The children’s water play park.

Falkirk Wheel

The dry park.

Falkirk Wheel

A visitor centre is located on the east side of the lower basin.

Falkirk Wheel

Mini sculptures of the Kelpies at the car park.

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kelpies

The Kelpies, Falkirk, Scotland

September 2017

Right out of Edinburgh airport, the first attraction on our itinerary is a visit the ‘Kelpies’ located in Falkirk about 19 miles away. The Kelpies are two 30 metre high horse-head sculptures made of stainless steel. Each weighs 300 tons and took only 90 days to erect. They are the largest equine sculptures in the world. After a ½ hour drive, we reached the Kelpies.

kelpies

Towering over the greens as seen from the car park.

kelpies

Pathway from the car park to the Kelpies.

kelpies

Side view of one of the horse’s head from the canal.

The Kelpies is part of ‘The Helix’, a land transformation project to improve the connections between and around 16 communities in Falkirk district. It’s a unique outdoor space that includes woodland, canals, a central park with lagoon and a network of cycle paths, walkways, ‘The Kelpies’ and another piece of engineering marvel, ‘The Falkirk Wheel’ which we will be visiting next.

kelpies

The canal along side the Kelpies.

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Vegetation along the canal.

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The fragile vegetation and the stainless steel Kelpies.

The Kelpies is set in a beautiful park standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron. Entrance is free. Parking nearby the sculptures cost £3, otherwise free parking is 10-15 minutes walk away. The sculptures are a wonderful feat of engineering towering from the ground up. We visited during the day but have read that they are lit at night which would be even more spectacular. Tours are conducted that will take you inside the sculptures at a price, of-course.

kelpies

From afar, the grass surrounding the Kelpies.

kelpies

Small group of visitors during our visit. Expect large crowd during rest days.

kelpies

A sense of dimension with a couple of people standing at it’s base.

kelpies

From a different angle.

kelpies

The Kelpies are almost surrounded by water.

kelpies

Close-up of one of the Kelpies.

kelpies

Another close-up view.

kelpies

Magnificent piece of art or is it engineering.

kelpies

The two horse’s head as seen from inside the cafe.

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