Tuesday, 7 August 2018

On Saturday 29th July a small group of Biggar ramblers set off from Glasgow Central Station to explore the murals of Glasgow with Lynn Weir. The route took them initially past the "Hip Hop Marionettes" and onto Strathclyde University buildings where they saw several murals including a seven storey high lecture hall complete with students, an equatorial telescope and a Land-Ship, which was a mock-up navigation bridge once used to teach at the School of Navigation. A short detour up the High Street brought them to one of the favourites of a man with a robin on his hand. Heading for Candleriggs and the Merchant City was a huge mural called "Fellow Glasgow Residents" depicting the varied wildlife of Glasgow parks. The detail was astonishing, right down to the landscapes reflecting in the eyes of the animals. Another detour along the Trongate brought them to the first of three murals of the Big Yin (Billy Connolly). before retracing their steps, past the Panopticon Music Hall where Stan Laurel had performed, to see the second one featuring Billy near Osborne Street. After this it was down to the River Clyde to admire the various personalities and local history on the walls of the Clutha Bar with the new mural above it celebrating Charles Rennie Mackintosh's 150th birthday. A pleasant stroll along the Clyde Walkway brought them to one of the original murals - the "Glasgow Tiger Mural" - which has now been re-done and up onto Dixon Street to view the third Billy Connolly mural - opinion was divided as to which was the most liked! It was then back into the city centre to see the "World's Most Economical Taxi", "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" , "Wind Power", which was very cleverly depicted  using a dandelion clock and wind turbines, and then another early mural - "Glasgow's Panda". The second half of the walk had less murals to see but nevertheless was felt to be worthwhile doing. It took them along Argyle Street, away from the buzz of the city centre, to where a derelict block on the corner of York Street had been ingeniously adapted into an events noticeboard, complete with, among other things, an octopus and a Glaswegian Mona Lisa. Down onto the Broomielaw they passed the memorial to the Cheapside Fire Disaster of 1960 and under the Kingston Bridge the huge "Swimmer" mural created as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games was best seen by crossing the road! From here they headed to Charing Cross to view a pelican and crocodile before aiming for the underpasses to Cowcaddens Subway Station where one is decorated with insects, the other with hand shadow puppets - it was fun watching the group trying to recreate the shapes and it brought back many childhood memories and the question of whether todays children would still know how to make hand shadow puppets.
Apart from the murals it was interesting to see how ornate many of the buildings were when you stopped to look up and everyone agreed that it had been a very different kind of Ramblers walk to what they were used to but worthwhile in exploring areas of Glasgow that they would never have visited, just whizzed past in a car or would have been too busy looking at shop windows to notice architecture all around them!