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Today, I joined an interesting walking tour led by Ged O’Brien, author of  ‘Played in Glasgow: Charting the Heritage of a City at Play’.

It appears that Glasgow was at the forefront of the development of such sports as Water Polo ( formerly called aquatic football), Lawn Bowls and Football (soccer).  Glasgow’s rapid expansion during the latter half of the 19th century had a dual effect on sporting activity: existing pitches and facilities were moved to accommodate railways and housing developments whilst sporting facilities expanded to keep up with growing population. Football (soccer) was the sport of the working classes. This was relatively cheap to arrange and organise and built on a long tradition which suggests that the current style passing game of football was invented in Scotland. Today, Scotland has two leading clubs on the international stage, namely Celtic and Rangers, both of which are based in Glasgow. In addition to football, Lawn Bowls was and remains popular. This sport was often run in conjunctionwith curling as the two share similar rules.

The tour commenced at the Lighthouse, a famous Glaswegian architectural landmark and architectural exhibition centre, the entrance to which is located in a side street ad bypassed by the great mass of shoppers just a few metres away in Buchanan St.

Lighthouse, Glasgow Architecture


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York from York Minster

View from atop York Minster

This evening, my theme is the ancient English city of York which has  long history dating back at least 2000 years.

In the Roman era (AD43-410) York (orEboracum ) was a very important Roman city, the remains of which are still evident, principally the foundations of the still extant city wall, baths, Multangular Tower, Bootham Bar and supporting column for the Basilica.

After the Romans left the next major development of the city occurred when the Vikings arrived from Scandinavia and developed Yorvik into a major settlement and trading port. Much archaealogy remains from this period to the extent that a major visitor attraction called Yorvik has been established which has proved extremely popular. Yorvik is accessed via small train/gondola which carries visitors round the re-created streets of Viking Yorvik together with the authentic sites and smells of the era.

Arguably, the piece de resistance is the medieval Minster or Cathedral. This is Anglican denomination and the seat of the Archbishop of York who ranks no 2 in the Church of England hierarchy. The Minster is stupendous building which attracts vast numbers of tourists each year.

York is one of my favourite cities and I look forward to visiting again when opportunity permits. continue reading…

This evening,  theme is Oban on the west coast of Scotland.

This grew to prominence in Victorian times when the railway came and brought holiday makers as well providing transport for freight and fish from the busy port.

Oban remains popular today, particularly with visitors on coach tours. There is a good selection of seafront hotels plus a well regarded seafood restaurant.

From my (touring) perspective, I tend to use Oban solely as a stop for for ferry transfers to Mull and other islands . The town can be very busy and I think I can giver my guests better experiences of Scotland elsewhere. Some of the key sites worthy of  a visit include McCaig’s Tower, a whisky distillery and two castles, Dunstaffnage and Dunollie. Relatively close to Oban is the historic Kilmartin Glen, packed full of prehistoric standing stones, burial cairns and rock art.

Here is a view of the town at top of which sits McCaig’s Folly, a 19th century make work project for local stonemasons.


View of Oban

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