Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Glasgow City. Glasgow Tower. Going up or going down?

                                               ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
As I'd never been up Glasgow Tower before I thought I'd treat myself and see the view from the observation deck on top of this slim white needle. I've been close to getting up a couple of times in the past but as it only seems to operate in summer and only in light winds below a certain wind strength I've always missed out for one reason or another. This is Glasgow Tower from the Castlemilk/ Croftfoot area.
For once I was lucky and although there was a slight heat haze/smog I could get good photographs. What surprised me the most from this elevated platform was a tightly packed hi rise city centre district as most buildings here are between 10 to 20 levels high but a few modern additions around Charing Cross have made an impact to the overall shape. The Scottish Power building being the most obvious newcomer.
You do get a fine panoramic view and at 127 metres is the tallest freestanding building in Scotland. It is surprisingly exposed up there due to the design and although you feel perfectly safe, or I did anyway, it also feels like a living room sized glass bubble suspended in space exactly 416.666 feet :o) above the city below as you can't see anything of the supporting tower underneath. Just a carpet, a 3 sided curved window of glass and open views all around except under your toes. At £6:50 entry fee for an adult I did think it was worth the money for a 15 minute tour and just enough time up top to take everything in. I still think however it should be open all year round and not subject to such low wind strengths. For instance- I see it is shut today and it's not particularly windy. A ridiculous state of affairs for what should be a major tourist attraction all year round.
A view of the River Clyde passing through the city centre.
The M8 motorway and the Anderston Centre and District.
Kinning Park, The Gorbals and part of Glasgow's South Side.
Riverside Museum, The Tall Ship Glenlee and the Govan ferry which only seems to run sporadically in summer. It started for the Commonwealth Games to take folk from Partick across to Govan to see the famous church and hogback stones there but was only funded for three years I believe. A fast rib and a rowing club also use the Partick/River Kelvin pier here as a base.
Ibrox Stadium on the South Side of Glasgow. Home of Glasgow Rangers.
A view of the nearby Hydro, The Armadildo, The Big Shed, and the Obsidian Sandwich. Some alternative local names for this collection of modern buildings at Finnieston.
More building projects in the same area completed within the last 20 years.
The Waverley Paddle Steamer passing Renfrew on the River Clyde. The last ocean going paddle steamer left in the world which is berthed under Glasgow Tower in spring/summer then around the English south coast in the winter months.
A few months ago we had two new visitors to the area. One was here to stay (hopefully) and a fine addition to our maritime heritage. The Queen Mary.
A closer view of the ship.
Official link and full info with vintage photos here. Not open to the public yet as it awaits full restoration back to its former glory.When you read the history in here it is really amazing this ship is still afloat.

The other craft was this one - The Lady M owned by a Russian billionaire, Mr Alexei Mordashov I believe, and one of the richest men in the world. At over £40 million, more a racing car of the high seas than the usual floating multi deck gin palace, it has very sleek lines and looks fast even standing still
The figurehead on the prow. The owner was not at home when I called and was probably visiting his Highland estates by helicopter as anyone with enough money can still buy huge chunks of Scotland and run it as a private kingdom. Someone informed me later he has land interests here but I couldn't find out any details. He made his money in steel. Wonder what he made of Glasgow?
The rear of this super yacht. I'm sure if he visited the city he would see a very different version of it than I am used to as a local. Still not sure, despite exploring every district over the past couple of years, if Glasgow is flourishing or not. Plenty of new buildings are springing up but at the moment they seem to be mainly upgrades to the three large city universities and attached student flat complexes or cash totems like The Scottish Power building. A large energy provider UK wide.
I did notice Glasgow is now placed 4th behind Leeds at 3rd. London and Birmingham still 1st and 2nd. Glasgow, since the 1930s, has lost almost half its one million plus population within its city boundaries limit. Another surprise was Manchester in 9th place which I thought would be far higher up the table but city populations do not take into account the surrounding urban outlying areas, which in Manchester's case is vast. London also has 10 million plus citizens on some charts depending on how you count up the numbers and districts. Glasgow still has a million plus folk in the greater urban sprawl but not so tightly packed into inner city districts as before so they don't count in the total. Newcastle fares even worse counting this way coming in at a lowly 18th- just above ever growing Brighton at 19th. I find all this social movement of people fascinating but I still haven't grasped the full picture yet as it's a lot easier going up and down the tower than understanding the complexities of modern Britain year by year on a grand interlinked scale. It's also always been easier to work out which cities and towns are growing fastest, like Edinburgh, Leeds? or London rather than static urban developments or gradual long term slow declines. Needless to say most of the post industrial cities and towns in the UK are the hardest hit and many have been in free fall numbers wise for decades. Also white native residents fleeing mass emigration of other ethnic cultures down south are in turn changing the culture, house prices, attitudes, voting habits and aspirations of desired/ increasingly fashionable areas they flock into, which I find slightly ironic :o)
How do we as natives here escape from them? :o)
We will soon all be living in Iceland or Greenland at this rate. Of course these places will just have to get used to speaking in English and serving up proper British grub. None of that festering rancid shark nonsense thank you in white race only New Albion.

A bit like this video really. A complicated picture. Nice video but cats and birds in the same vicinity do not mix well. I have six cats visiting my garden on and off and although I like to see them for their effortless grace and beauty they do contribute to the massive decline in bird life UK wide. They are  efficient little hunters and I've found various bits and pieces of assorted wildlife scattered around. Between the sparrow hawk and the cats my local population of wild birds is really just a handy smorgasbord for predators to enjoy. House cats used to serve an important purpose controlling vermin in towns, villages and cities but birds get hammered as well with the result that gardens as a vital nature reserve are not as productive as they could be for sustaining and helping garden birds thrive.
Just thought I'd put both sides across.


Linda said...

Great video and I really enjoyed this tour. Thank you so much for sharing.

Rosemary said...

Glasgow looks nothing at all like I remember it - the only building that I recognised from your photos is George Gilbert Scott's Gothic tower.
I love being up high and seeing wide vistas so if I was in Glasgow, and the tower was open, then this would be a must.

Anabel Marsh said...

You mean it's actually open sometimes! I've never made it up there, but I'd like to.

Carol said...

You didn't take a photo looking down for the exposure element! I wonder if I'd still find that scary - I might.

Linda W. said...

I'm surprised the tower wasn't built to withstand higher wind speeds. You would think the engineers that designed it would take that into consideration. Or maybe it's just not comfortable to be up there during high winds (too much building sway). Amazing city views though!

Neil said...

I've never been up the tower either Bob; your post is a nudge to me to go and do it. I hadn't realised that it was quite so weather dependent or that it only operated part of the year- ridiculous. When I go to a new city, one of the first things that I do is to head for the highest point or building. It's the best way to appreciate what a place is all about before visiting individual attractions. I don't think that Glasgow has got value for money with this.

blueskyscotland said...

Thank you Linda.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
When my sister came over on her infrequent trips she always notices big changes. The University Tower was open for public tours at one point but they shut it down before I got the chance to visit. Probably H and S concerns. As that stands on a hill it would be a fantastic vantage point if you could see views through the stonework clearly.
The buildings from left to right in the photo are Scottish Power Building (white) St Vincent Plaza (Black) Cineworld (behind them)Townhead residential hi Rise Flats (white in distance) and Hilton Hotel. (creamy brown tower)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel.
Yep. As you know it has had all sorts of mechanical problems over the years but it seems to be working again in summer months on calm sunny days. It is worth a visit and has concession rates which I just missed. Best photos are actually on the way up as when you get too high you see more but individual buildings stand out less. Same as mountain climbing where the highest peaks are not always the best viewpoints.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol, Too many reflections in the glass looking down at that angle and you can't see the support structure holding it up anyway. When the lift breaks down occasionally you get the excuse to walk outside down the emergency staircase but sadly that didn't happen on my trip. Bummer, as I was secretly hoping it would :o) That would be a real adventure!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Linda W and Neil,
Same answer so no point writing it twice. Glasgow did have a previous tower, 240 feet high, for the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival which was a big success in Govan where Festival Park is now. For some reason that tower was sold to Rhyl in Wales for around £820,000 in 1989 until 2010 when it shut amid safely concerns. That's another seaside resort that gets big winter storms but seemed to work well for a further 21 years as far as I know and was a popular and consistent attraction for Rhyl. This present Glasgow Tower has had numerous well documented problems since it opened and has been shut completely for long periods. As Scotland is the windiest country in Europe known for its strong winds, even in summer, you would think designers would have factored that in but apparently not. You can see the Rhyl Skytower on You Tube and also drone footage of it for anyone interested. I believe plans are afoot not to open it again but use it as an iconic platform for night time lighting shows as it would cost too much to repair it now. However Brighton has just opened a similar design of tower to the Rhyl one but twice the height at 530 feet so a successful design obviously. Glasgow seemed to be in a hurry to get rid of it back then. Photos of the very first one for the 1938 Empire Exhibition, the 300 foot Tait Tower in Bellahouston Park. Glasgow, look completely amazing online. Really iconic design but they got rid of that one sharpish as well so they have history in selling off potential tourist attractions that work well and are popular. :o(

Anonymous said...

I like the look of that tower, a new one on me, had no idea it was there. Some cracking views across the city-scape though. I love tall buildings and aerial views across cities