Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Scotland’s oldest national sport is on the wane-in its land of origin.

Whilst events like caber-tossing, shot-putting and hammer-throwing are growing in popularity elsewhere in the world, the sports and gatherings where they are practised are in decline in Scotland. There is a risk that all but the largest events could die out.This is attributabe to lack of interest in the younger generation in turn due to youngsters’ ingnorance of these sports and a shortage of experts to train them.

Some experts claim that the games were invented by the tribe of the Scotti in pre-Christian Ireland and subsequently migrated to Scotland.

There are 120 Highland Games associations in Scotland. Over the past 8 years Games have lapsed at the rate of one per year. Conversely, there is strong interest in North America where there are 300 events, often attracting 50,000 people, the biggest being at Grabdfather Mountain, North Carolina.

Visit Highland Games and other aspects of Scotland with catswhiskerstours

More than a century ago people were evicted from rural Scottish communities to make way for sheep, which were considered more profitable. There is now evidence that this trend is being reversed with latest figures showing that Highlands and Islands lost nearly 100,000 sheep annually for 5 years. In context of a total flock of 8 million this may not seem material but farmers are concerned with the long-term trend which may result in a major reduction in high hill sheep farming within 10 years. This trend is aggravated by the average age of sheep farmers-60 years. There is a multiplier affect on the local economy because fewer sheep results is loweer demand for abbattoir services, vets and markets.However, there is some good news in that the increase in cattle numbers compensate for the reduction in sheep.Visit rural Scotland with catswhiskerstours

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was borne one of 11 children in the Townhead area of Glasgow. From these beginnings he has become one of the most celebrated architects of his generation.

He met Margaret Macdonald, his future wife, at Glasgow School of Art and much of his output reflects their artistic collaboration. Particularly noticeable is his masterful handling of light and space, his skilful use of colour, and his much celebrated treatment of the room as a complete “work of art”. Many of his pieces of furniture have themselves become icons.

Mackintosh took his inspiration from our Scottish traditions and blended them with the flourish of Art Nouveau and the simplicity of Japanese forms. Much of his work survives.It can be seen today alongside that of of his close collaborators in the group known as the “The Four” and the other artists and designers who collectively created the “Glasgow Style”.

For more information contact the Society

Here is a summary of a Glasgow based Mackintosh tour.

1. WEST END

Mackintosh House, University of Glasgow www.hunterian.gla.ac.uk

Interior of 6 Florentine Terrace, meticulously reassembled within the University’s Art Gallery. Three rooms and related furniture. Florentine Terrace was a prestigious address and the home of Mackintosh and Macdonald from 1906-1914. The original building was demolished but the interior has been recreated a block away from the original.

2. CENTRAL GLASGOW

217 Sauchiehall Street. Here are the famous Willow Tea Rooms www.willowtearooms.co.uk
‘Sauchiehall’ means ‘alley of the willows’ and throughout the rooms Mackintosh used the Willow motif.

Catherine Cranston effectively invented the Glasgow tearoom phenomenon. She filled the need for a miniature social centre which served many social purposes including, uniquely, provision of ladies’ rooms where respectable women could meet at a time when women without men in the urban scene was frowned upon.

For 21 years Mackintosh was Catherine Cranston’s designer, from 1897. At Buchanan Street he designed murals around George Walton furniture. At Argyle Street it was his loose furniture and light fittings within Walton’s interior scheme.

At Ingram Street he designed his first complete room, where from 1900, he remodelled interiors over 12 years.

Finally, in 1903-4 at Sauchiehall Street, he did the complete interiors and front facade of the building Miss Cranston bought in 1901.

At the McLellan Galleries www.glasgowmuseums.com can be found the Mackintosh Room.

At the Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew Street www.gsa.ac.uk Mackintosh completely revised a new western end which was finished in 1909 when he was 41. This is his masterpiece; it has been hailed as the most important building worldwide in that decade. the north facade exactly reflects the internal plan of the building, resulting in a masterpiece of balanced asymmetry. The entrance is at the centre of the bulding.

3. SOUTH SIDE OF GLASGOW

Scotland Street School Museum www.glasgowmusuems.com. This is viewed from the exterior. This was Mackintosh’s last public commission in Glasgow. Mackintosh reversed tradition and gave the towers with conical roofs walls of glass with narrow stone mullions. Instead of spiral stairs he used straight flights which benefited from the light which streams into them. Mackintosh played off the verticality of the towers against the horizontal nature of the rest of the building.

At Bellahouston Park is found the House for an Art Lover www.houseforanartlover.co.uk

For 90 years the plans for this building were unrealised. but in 1989 Graham Roxburgh,an engineer had the idea to build it. Rooms include thye Main Room, Dining Room, Oval Room, Music Room, and the Margaret Macdonald Room.

For a tour of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh contact catswhiskerstours