Saturday, 4 April 2015

Helensburgh to Cardross Walk. St Peter's Seminary. Street Art Murals. Old Piers.

I've been off the grid for nearly two weeks as my phone line and internet connection slowed then died completely. I now have a new outside line from pole to house and can once again enjoy the comforts of the world wide web. My enforced shut down has only confirmed how necessary the internet has become to everyday modern life as most if not all of my friends and relatives get in touch by email nowadays and the actual phone sits mostly unused except for pestering callers advertizing their various products. I suppose it's only a matter of time before everyone gets a mini implant under the skin that connects them permanently to the web as devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc seem to be getting smaller and more portable every year. I like my photographs large however so these are the usual full screen effect.
                                                 ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN
I've still been active outdoors and friends John and Gail reminded me of an abandoned building on a recent geocaching trip they were on. I've known about St Peter's Seminary in the woodlands behind Cardross for many years  but never got around to visiting it until now. As usual Alex prefers working his way through lists of hills but I like a wide variety of activities and luckily so does Alan.,_Cardross Full history here.
Opened in the mid 1960s for students training for the priesthood it never fully reached its capacity of 100 residents due to falling numbers entering the ranks and was abandoned to its fate in the 1980s. Despite a category A listing over the years, vandals, local teens, and artists have used it as a canvas for their own expression and imagination. It's a large structure with prayer cells, multiple levels and maze like corridors, all rising unexpectedly in a semi remote location.
As I was informed recently by an architect friend that it was scheduled for redevelopment sometime in April/May 2015 I thought I would visit it and capture some images. Although keep out signs and railings supposedly deter visitors  it's so well known now that architects, film crews, Geo-cachers, photographers and urban explorers visit regularly and it's not often you get it alone nowadays... except at night... when its rather spooky:o)
I'm a big fan of Street Art Utopia (see link in blogs archive I follow) so I thought I'd try to capture as many murals as possible here.
Some of them are impressive.
From the film presumably?
Foxes chasing hound.
Villagers on the warpath?
An illusion of my own. Only one person walking past but two caught in the camera.
The modern Aztec Temple rising above the surrounding forest.
Inside a corridor.
Pink monster murals. Reminds me of an old King Crimson album cover. In the court of...
Aboriginal influence perhaps. Looks like a 1970s wallpaper.
General Graffiti.
Other buildings.
Dangerous in places as large holes in the floor can damage the unwary here.
More murals.
Similar to a Budgie album cover I've seen (Bandolier) which in turn was inspired by the original Planet of the Apes...
Climbing upwards.
More murals.
The main level downstairs.
Outside, round the back of main structure. As it might be out of bounds soon I thought I'd capture it from all directions.

The Walk. Helensburgh to Cardross  at Low Tide.
Male Eider Duck and Curlew.
After an hour or two exploring St Peter's an obvious continuation was to drive the short distance to Helensburgh and do one of the low tide walks in my recent Kindle book.
A guide to walking and cycling around The River Clyde and the Firth of Clyde By Bob Law. 
£2:32 digital.... over 80 easy walks and cycle rides described, many little known, stretching from New Lanark to Girvan, 146 colour photographs on a modern visual journey down the length of the Clyde, exploring the Firth of Clyde islands all the way to Ballantrae.        blah blah blah....
link here 

We timed it just as the tide was going out and soon reached the ruined twin piers at Craigendoran which was once a popular stop for paddle steamers and shipping in the days when journeys by water down the River Clyde attracted huge crowds. For low tide times look up BBC Weather. Official site. Then click Coast and Sea. Click Scotland. Helensburgh or Dumbarton for the day you intend to go. Simple as that. Start walk around an hour before maximum low tide for dry sands all the way.
Now the piers lie abandoned but they are very atmospheric.
Corvids and woodwork.
A view of Port Glasgow across the Firth of Clyde.
Walking to Ardmore Peninsula.
The exposed shellfish beds on the walk. Around 8 to 10 kilometres Helensburgh to Cardross low tide then get the train back. 2 to 3 hours... or walk to Dumbarton for a longer outing then train back at Dalreoch station to Helensburgh. 18 to 20 kilometres. 3 to 5 hours depending on speed, interests, and lunch stops. An enjoyable walk along the exposed sands with loads of bird life to observe.

In a similar artistic theme here's a great video from The Cell, An extraordinary film with bold visual texture about a serial killer who has created an elaborate dream world with himself installed as emperor and the volunteer who offers to go into said world to find the location of his victim. Not a particular fan of J Lo but she is good in this film. A mind into body transfer technique later used in the more commercially successful and better remembered Avatar. I,m old enough to also remember a 1970s book called "the Stone God Awakens" by Philip Jose Farmer which depicted a race of winged people who lived around a vast interconnected tree and also the hanging garden rock islands floating in mid air and curved stone arches of Roger Dean paintings on Yes album covers. I expected a brief mention of both in the end credits of Avatar but none was forthcoming which makes this link interesting. (see end of page... Legal Case remarks) Every film, artwork or book has its inspiration somewhere though. Take a decent sized pinch of Rambo, The Stone God Awakens, The history of the American West and the treatment of the Native Indian tribes, throw in a large splash of Roger Dean's paintings and you have Avatar.... maybe :o) Having said that its a good film.

This wins the prize for the most unusual and startling film visuals of the year. Also, probably the first time the vast sand-scapes of Namibia ( Sossusvlei) featured in a major western entertainment film other than a travel guide or nature/wildlife programme. Inventive twist on the serial killer genre and stunning imagery throughout, much of it inspired by art, both modern and lesser known older cult classics. Best viewed full screen.


Lux G. said...

The graffiti are uhm, spooky for me.
But I like the photos by the sea. :)
Happy Easter!

Kay G. said...

Hey! Glad you got your internet back!
I must say I agree with the comment by Lux G, scary graffiti but nice sea photos!

Carol said...

Do you not have to be careful of quicksands on that bay crossing like you do at Morecambe Bay? I think such a long distance across water-covered sand would worry me (although I quite fancy going with the Morecambe Bay guide across those sands sometime).

The old seminary (didn't know what one of those was until I read this) is very colourful now isn't it? I think those foxes are chasing someone's black lab though!

I was wondering where you'd got to - I was hoping another white van man hadn't got you!

The Glebe Blog said...

Fascinating post Bob.
You're right about the internet, it's only a matter of time before technology plants a mini computer powered by your blood pumping inside your body.
Science fiction is fast becoming science fact.
That's a clever shot of the mirror image. I fancy trying out some more high speed bursts on my camera. I probably use around 5% of my camera's capabilities.
Looking at the graffiti got me thinking about the 60/70's and LSD. I just googled LSD Glasgow. Looks like folk are still getting high on the stuff or similar. Perhaps that's where some of this creativity has come from.
Quite a striking video too Bob. Made me think of Ranulph Fiennes who's currently crossing the Sahara Desert

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Lux G, Happy Easter.
I couldn't see anywhere to leave a comment on your new site and I never give out my current email address on blogs.

blueskyscotland said...

Hello Kay,
So am I. Didn't think I'd miss it as much which leads me to wonder about the effect on a younger society born into the internet age. If it ever breaks down(solar pulse maybe)for any length of time it will feel like the collapse of civilization for them. Enjoying a BBC2 series at the moment called "Back in time for dinner" taking you through past decades at ten year intervals per episode. The food was appalling in the 1970s. I hated instant powdered potatoes with a vengeance and many of the other time-saving meals.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol.
Nope. I've walked all the low tide walks in the book many times and never found any quicksand that you could class as dangerous. Firm sand all the way. Morecambe Bay has an official guide for a reason as it's rightly notorious for quicksands. Walked hundreds of Scottish beaches over the years and only found quicksand near the mouth of large rivers, like the River Tyne near Dunbar, but even there you would have to stand in one spot for a while to sink in right at the edge.You could lead an elephant across the low tide walks in the book :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Jim,
Yeah, I only use around 5 percent as well as I've never been that technical and gadget minded.
I,m sure some people are on drugs but many others just have natural vivid imagination since childhood and teenagers are hormone driven anyway which is a powerful drug in itself. It always annoys me when someone thinks out the box and it's put down to drug use.I remember writing a story years ago for another club in a surreal style and it was praised but had the tag "this guy must be on drugs" but it's just the way my brain works normally, full time. Children have vivid and colourful imaginations and some hang onto that inner child until they die of old age. I've always liked "Childrens Films and books" like The Last Mimsy, City of Ember,The Golden Compass,The Spiderwick Chronicles and Bedtime Stories if they are well done. As you can tell from the choice of videos, popular, middle of the road, stuff just bores me to death as it lacks wonder, creativity and excitement for me personally. The popularity of cute cat videos or selfies just baffles me.
Sahara Desert trek... likewise some folk are just driven to push the boundaries from a young age. Thankfully, I can do it from a sofa with a fizzy drink and a packet of crisps on hand or as a day trip somewhere interesting :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Bollocks. Correction. Mimzy with a zee.

Robert Craig said...

I like the description as an Aztec temple! There weren't nearly as many murals when I visited, maybe 7 years ago. That walk from Helensburgh to Ardmore is best done at low tide...

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Craig.
I noticed that looking at the wiki photos where there is hardly any graffiti on the building at all. That's one thing about the internet... news of any interesting place travels fast these days.

Neil said...

Interesting post Bob. Not a place that I'll be visiting though, too scary! I prefer the wide open countryside to the city. Probably been reading too many crime novels!

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Neil,
Yin and Yang, Light and Darkness. It's all good. Not anything like as scary as walking alone through the River Clyde pedestrian tunnel after dark. Now that's really creepy. I don't like the way the new security gates lock you in until you reach the other side.