Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

CatsWhiskersTours provide unique tour experiences tailored to suit you. Call +44 (0) 141 638 5500

Browsing Posts published by catswhiskers

Elie Bay, Fife

This evening, my them is the charming Fife coastal village of Elie.This town benefits from a glorious sandy beach which attracts a wide range of water sports including windsurfing, canoeing, sailing, pedaloes, boat trips, inflatables and water-skiing. Elie is the most westerly of the East Neuk villages and in past days its golden sands attracted many holidaymakers. A causeway leads to a rocky islet with panoramic views and the busy water sports centre.

Elie, Fife

A visit to Elie is usually included in a tour of the quaint  East Neuk villages which includes Crail, Anstruther, Pittenweem and St Monans.

Elsewhere today, I have been occupied with:

  • Various admin matters re upcoming tours.
  • Research on Pollock family history results of which have been posted to my Glasgow Ancestry blog.

Weather in Glasgow has been dry and sunny.

Pipe Band at World Championships

Earlier today I visited historic Glasgow Green to view the 2010 World Pipe Band Championships entailing 239 bands from twelve countries.  In addition to the bands there was Highland Dancing competition and Highland Games in process. With benign weather conditions the event was very well patronised. I have never before encountered such a concentration of Pipe Bands and the event presented many video and photo opportunities examples of which are provided below.

Pipe Band

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4

Video 5

Highland Dancing Competition

This morning, I collected two lady guests in Glasgow from where we proceeded on a Mackintosh themed tour of Glasgow.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) was a designer and artist whose work spanned a broad canvas. He designed not only the structure of buildings but also interiors and contents ranging from tables, chairs and light fittings through to ventilation systems and plumbing. Mackintosh’s buildings were meant to be inhabited and consequently the rooms and sequences of rooms, their form and light were very important.

Mackintosh did not work on a strictly solo basis. He was one of the ‘Glasgow Four’ comprising himself, Herbert MacNair and the sisters Margaret and Frances McDonald all of whom worked within the Glasgow School of Art 1890-1910. The four produced decorative works of furniture, architecture, panels, embroideries and graphic material. Mackintosh married Margaret McDonald.

Our tour commenced with House for an Art Lover. Although designed in 1901 it was not completed until 1996. The design resulted from a competition entry submitted to  a German magazine. Mackintosh did not win the competition but was awarded a special prize. There was a lot to take in at this site including the music room which was set up in readiness for a wedding..After about 1 hour including some refreshments and quick visit to the colourful garden we moved to the nearby Scotland Street School Museum.

House for an Art Lover

Dining Room at House for Art Lover

Scotland Street School was designed by Mackintosh between 1903 and 1906. This proved to be Mackintosh’s last public commission in Glasgow. He gave the towers with conical roofs walls of glass and narrow stone mullions. Instead of spiral stairs, Mackintosh used straight flights which benefited from the light streaming onto them.

Scotland Street School

Next we drove to the Mackintosh Church at Queen’s Cross which first opened for worship on September 10th 1899. This design shows a sophisticated handling of form, ornament and symbolic meaning. The building is no longer used for worship but serves as the main office for the Mackintosh Society. See this video clip for interior view.

Mackintosh Church

Our next visit was just a few yard up the road to Cafe D’ Jaconelli for spot of lunch. A fascinating little cafe with juke box and Art Deco inspired interior. Also famous for home made ice cream!

Cafe D'JACONELLI

Next Mackintosh site was relatively close by, namely Ruchill Church Hall. This was built as a mission comprising two halls and two committe rooms. On arrival were somewhat dismayed to find the door locked but a local community worker appeared and showed us around, which was a great treat. It was pleasing to see the Hall still in use as an active community centre.

Mackintosh Furnture at Ruchill

Ruchill Church Hall

With some time to spare we next drove to the Gorbals district of Glasgow to view the architecture.

Our final stop was the Glasgow School of Art which is acknowledged as Mackintosh’s masterpiece. The building was completed in two halves: the first half in 1899 and the the western end a decade later in 1909 when Mackintosh was 41 yrs old. It has been called the most important building worldwide in that decade. my guests undertook a guided tour if the interior which commenced at 4.00pm.