Friday, 9 September 2016

River Clyde and Glasgow Gallery. Ships. Towers. Megastructures.

                                              ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN
This is a gallery of photos taken over the summer months during several cycle tours around the Glasgow area and along the River Clyde. One thing about any large river flowing through a city port is that you are always likely to see ships and other river traffic on it, even though in Glasgow's case it's a tiny fraction of the water traffic that used to pass up and down the river in its prime. (Think a quiet minor road compared to a motorway at rush hour for a comparison)
Even with that being the case I was excited to see this large ship berthed at Govan Docks as it's one of the biggest to travel this far up the river in recent years. According to AIS shipfinder, a really useful free site for identifying international shipping worldwide and where they are in the world in current time. It's the AURILIA, a 9 year old bulk carrier weighting in around 40,000 tons and a mighty 225 metres or 738 feet in length with a bridge taller than the height of a ten storey building.. or love song... and if you placed it in a standing position, on its propellers, it would almost reach the summit  of Edinburgh's mountain Arthur's Seat which is 822 feet high- but that's the mountain's height from sea level so there's not much in it at all.
It seemed to be unloading sand from its massive hold. Maybe for roads, concrete manufacture, or other uses. It can certainly carry a lot and it was excess sand I could observe tricking out the large metal grabs seen here. There also appears to be wind turbine blades beside the sand. It's a ship that travels the world and as of this post on the 9th September 2016 was sailing around the Hong Kong area. Gave me an idea of what the giant liners like the QE2 launched at John Brown's at Clydebank in this month of 1967 must have looked like going down the river. In September 1967 I had other things to worry about however. Forty nine years ago exactly in eleven days time the QE2 launched 20th September 1967, the last of the great Clyde built passenger ships to sail down the River.
A very green view of Govan from the other bank of the River Clyde. Govan certainly does not look as green as this when you are in it although Elder Park is a welcome oasis in a mainly built up area.
Like many of its citizens in this 'colourful' area this poor wee local bear has been in the wars, having had its paws, nose and ear sliced off. It is also chained to the pole to stop it running away to a more salubrious district. Like Bear's Den. Nae luck wee guy.
The great wood of the Bear's Den in all its glory.Not to be confused with the home of Rangers FC... or the forum.
Further up the river at the city centre I happened to notice this little craft puttering about under the bridges of Glasgow's Central Station. It's a lifeboat that can be launched from height into the water and is usually seen suspended above the river beside the City of Glasgow college. Until a few years ago this was formally the site of the old nautical college built in 1967 beside the river and resembling a concrete ship but recently revamped into two large gleaming glass and steel cubes beside the waterfront as part of a £228 million super-campus with three old individual Glasgow colleges transferred into one behemoth which seems to be how all colleges are going now. It's the same type of craft the Somali pirates used to escape in the recent and excellent Tom Hanks film- Captain Phillips- although in this instance it's used to train students who might have to escape from an oil rig platform in the North Sea or other vessel in the North Atlantic. Although slow it's designed to stand up to rough sea punishment and keep people safe.
Another mega structure of sorts is this- The Cineworld complex on Renfrew Street. Glasgow City Centre. Opened in the early 2000s with multiple screens on many levels  and over 200 feet high it can seat over 4000 cinema goers every night making it one of the busiest in the UK and reputedly the tallest cinema complex on the planet at the moment. Although not the biggest city in the world by any means Glasgow does seem to have a long tradition of firsts. Like many American cities most of Glasgow's central district follows the grid plan system. For instance, the grid system of streets here where the city centre and new town mansions had to be built over small but steep hills (drumlins) with the main shopping streets laid out flat for easy walking where possible and minor interconnecting back streets rising steeply up or down the hills was copied by several others, who used a similar grid layout to get around the same geological problems. The grid system was not a new invention of course as that dates back to the earliest civilizations but in a modern context the entire city centre laid out into neat squares and rectangles lined with shops made a big impression in the UK and abroad at a time when it was a large and rapidly expanding metropolis and one of the few European cities of that era to reach and then surpass a million citizens. In many ways, just as all eyes are turned towards China's booming economic growth and skyscraper towers now. Architecture and many of Glasgow's innovative building ideas also made it across the pond, usually scaled up bigger there, and there's always been a shared communication that works both ways with ideas flowing back and forwards constantly.
Another view of it from the opposite side. Being a glass frontage it has great views over the city day and night.
Another bulk cargo ship at Bowling Harbour. The AASFJORD out of Gibraltar.  At 114 metres length and 4000 tons its under half the size of the AURILIA but still an impressive ship. Currently sailing near the Dartford Tunnel up the River Thames in London. These hardworking ships certainly get around. You can see where the orange survival craft fits on runners at the back of this ship for a quick exit which is why students going to sea have to practice the safety drill at the college and be familiar with it.
Another view of it sailing down the deep water channel towards the much wider Firth of Clyde then out into the Irish Sea.

The MEDAL collecting chopped up scrap cars at Renfrew around a month ago. Comes in at 90metres length, almost 3000 tons, and currently sailing off the coast of Portugal.
A fast tourist rib taking visitors up the River Clyde past Glasgow Harbour. It might be exciting for young folk but you pay for speed and it's not as cheap as a conventional ferry or as long lasting. I prefer the wee boat plying between Renfrew and Yoker as I can get my bike on that for under two quid.
A selection of bright weeds along the river near Braehead Shopping Centre.
 One of Glasgow Tower from a grassy hilltop in Yoker looking towards Scotstoun.

Same Glasgow Tower close up. Still never been up this as it might be an anti climax as a hill-walker but I will one day.
The free views over Glasgow and Clydebank I can get from the Kilpatrick Hills.

And a bike view heading for Renfrew and the ferry crossing there, taking the minor road past Barshaw Park in Paisley up over this open ridge before dropping down towards the Disney- like Renfrew town hall. Built around 1873 in the Scottish baronial style of architecture that was in vogue then. Evening sunlight catching the stonework on the spires and the Campsie Fells behind.

Glasgow tower and the giant wind turbine on the Cathkin Braes.  This was built to power 20 percent of Glasgow's street lights. It's certainly visible from every part of the city and rises 125 meters or 410 feet tall on what is already one of the highest summits within Glasgow. Glasgow tower itself incidentally, has had a troubled past and has been out of commission for long periods but seems to be working fine now during the summer months.

In a short run of lesser known films I thought I'd highlight great original movies that, unlike many mediocre blockbusters which seem to be on all the time,every year, rarely get a screening but are genuine classics and well worth a watch. This first one is quite brutal and not for everyone as it shows the dark side of the American dream but it made an international star out of Jennifer Lawrence and it is a stunning tour de force. Great acting- great story. Every second tense and thrilling from start to finish.


Linda said...

Wonderful post and lovely photos. Thank you so much for sharing this tour.

Rosemary said...

I would be lost in Glasgow these days, I hardly recognise it - as you know I lived just along the road from Bear's Den! Do I surmise that you are a Virgo too?

Linda W. said...

Thanks for another great city tour. We get large ships here in Portland too, and it always amazes me that those huge behemoths can float!

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda, Glad you enjoyed it.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
I'm lost in Glasgow these days as well and I live here :o) The amount of new University and college buildings going up recently is staggering and completely changing the look of the areas where it's happening. Edinburgh is the same,expanding at a rate of knots, but at least it's small scale growth here. I think they've spoiled central London completely at the moment with little thought to the skyline. I like the Shard and the Gerkin but Lincoln Plaza and the 'Walkie Talkie' building ruin the overall look completely although there's reputedly 200 more buildings over 20 floors high still to come in London so it might even out in time into the UK's New York of the future. After being a low level city for most of its history it's just gone skyscraper crazy recently but it's doing nothing to solve the housing crisis there as most flats will be bought as property investments just making super rich people richer and forcing prices up further. Half of London is overseas owned as you can buy a hi rise apartment in London for five million, leave it lying empty, and double your money within a few years.

blueskyscotland said...

Hello Linda W,
Like every else in life tracing ships can be addictive as well and I've started taking an interest in where ships are going after they leave Glasgow. It's amazing just how far and fast they can travel in a few days to be off the coast of Canada or sailing into the Mediterranean towards Turkey or Russia. Fascinating stuff.
A shame about the 'Duckbill' rock formation.

blueskyscotland said...

Opps, sorry. Gherkin.

Carol said...

CAN you go up the Glasgow Tower?

Those ships are absolutely huge! I tried looking up the ex Calmac Claymore (now MV Sia of Norway and cable-laying) but couldn't see her anywhere - she must be on holiday!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
You can go up Glasgow Tower and I intend to do so but it only runs from April to October. It has broken down frequently throughout it's history and it has to stop running in winds over 25 miles an hour !!?? And Scotland is the windiest country in Europe as you know, which is why its covered in turbines now. In short it's been out of commission for 80 percent of its running life which is a truly woeful record for a visitor attraction. As I said before we had a perfectly good and reliable tower for the Glasgow Garden Festival decades ago and we sold it to Rhyl in Wales where it ran for almost 20 years without problems. (it's now old, shut down, and needs work done which might not happen due to costs and less visitors to UK seaside towns but it was a good tourist asset to Rhyl over many years service as far as I know) Mind you, we have a bad habit of sending things south. A recent programme I watched about Aberdeen and the oil industry had a great one liner about Scotland being the only country in the world to find oil on its doorstep and actually get poorer as a result. Which did happen. We were also told at the start the oil would only last 20 years so we might as well share it out down to London and then they would give us some back... if we were lucky, in the form of giros to replace our heavy industry collapse. Ah the 1980s. Happy Days.

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

A nice, meandering, tour. So many of our great cities have changed dramatically - well, probably all of them, actually - in such a short time. I hear that when a large ship came up the Clyde, you could feel the vibration in nearby buildings. If it's any consolation, I get lost in most places; Glasgow's grid pattern actually confuses me, but my home town of Portsmouth is barely recognisable to me. London, I think, is far nicer than it used to be - certainly cleaner - but the Shard leaves me cold. In case I don't get to you, or forget - many happy returns!

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Mike,
some people seem to think I was talking about my birthday as Sept 20th but I was actually referring to the launch date of the QE2 at Clydebank. My birthday is nowhere near September and I'd love to be 49 again :o)

Edward Kelly said...

Great article on the Dunoon with fantastic pictures of same.
Enjoyed this section very much.
Great work, many thanks



blueskyscotland said...

Cheers John,
Glad you liked it.
Best wishes

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Colin MacDonald said...

Ah, thanks, I'd wondered what that little orange boat was. It looks like a kid's toy submarine, puttering up and down the Clyde.