Glasgow's Merchant City

A couple of years ago I rolled out a series of Itinerary Ideas articles that highlighted different areas of Scotland. When I’d written as many as I could, I couldn’t help but notice there were still some glaring holes on the map. It was this process that kickstarted the planning of my subsequent trips – I needed to dig into and explore these areas in more depth, but one part of Scotland — the most populous part — slipped off the radar: Glasgow. I am rectifying that today with a batch of itinerary ideas to help you make the most of a visit to Scotland’s most metropolitan region.

These Scotland Itinerary Ideas articles collect many of my previous articles on the selected region into one place… Read more...

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Glengoyne Distillery's Golden Wares

Due north of Glasgow stands one of the nearest distilleries for those looking for a dram straight off the plane. Wedged between Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and Scotland’s biggest city, Glengoyne Distillery hides among the hills of Dumgoyne in quintessentially green and pastoral Scottish countryside. The distillery is uniquely sited upon the Highland Line — that old bugbear fabricated to separate “lowland” and “highland” cultures and used by the King to resettle the non-barbarous Scots (i.e., lowlanders) in Ulster and the New World.

More of a relic than anything these days, a semblance of the Highland Line still plays a role… Read more...

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The peat fire at Stein Inn, Isle of Skye

There are few things finer than a good Scottish pub. Happily, Scotland’s littered with them. Just about every town has at least one cozy watering hole for locals and travelers alike and often a handful to choose from. Even the forlorn and unpeopled glens and hills often have, as their sole outpost of civilization, a fine institution of the dram and pint, places like the Grouse Inn and the Old Forge. Indeed, finding a fine Scottish pub is not hard.

Finding a pub that beguiles you for a lifetime, that draws you back across oceans and seas to step through that doorway to a tin-ceilinged, peat-smoky memory of old, where a healthy dose of camaraderie is doled out to every patron, well, that is a bit harder. Those pubs are the rare pubs. Read more...

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The Bon Accord, Glasgow, Scotland

Lord knows I spent far too much time in pubs on my last visit to Glasgow. It didn’t help that there were several excellent drinking holes near my guesthouse by Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow’s West End. Well, it didn’t help my liver – all those arduous hours tasting cask ales and single malts while chatting with happy-go-lucky Scots – but I’ve managed to turn the whole sordid ordeal into a new entry in the Savage Pub Crawls series, my first in Edinburgh’s sibling to the west: Glasgow.

Glasgow’s West End is one of my favorite places in any Scottish city. The beautiful greenery of Kelvingrove Park mixes with the University of Glasgow’s student vibe and a varied restaurant scene. For my money, this is the place to be… Read more...

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Eight figures guard the corners of Glasgow’s Kelvin Way Bridge. I pass by Navigation and Shipbuilding, and look across the street to Commerce and Industry and Philosophy and Inspiration, before gazing up at Peace and War. The young autumn’s sunlight clangs off the weathered bronze of a woman with spinning wheel and sleeping babe. The arresting image of a bandaged man, mouth agape, staring into the distance figures to be War. His arms were blown off into the river below when a German bomb fell here in 1941. For years the haunting statue peered armless into the Glaswegian mists.

It took only 15 years for these trophies of WWI to be hammered in WWII. What will remain of them, of Glasgow, in 1,000 years?

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