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Perth, Dunblane & Glasgow

Ø July 29 Glasgow (Monday) More photos can be found here.

Cathedral Church of St Ninian, Perth

Waking up, we freshened and went down for breakfast buffet. A decent spread, I even tried some haggis. Mandra stayed behind as I took off for the Cathedral Church of St Ninian, arriving in time for 9am Matins in St Andrews Chapel. With eight members of the congregation, the priest and the church dog (black lab named Ted), we said morning prayers in this #ScottishEpiscopal cathedral in #Perth. Peppered with questions once they heard of my obsession, I came away with recommendations (Oban is unfinished and smallest SEC cathedral). As they dispersed, I began my explorations.

A wide nave with large open arches to the side aisles, a gold rood marks the beginning of the chancel. (The rood has a blond, beardless crucified Christ.) The walls are white and relatively unadorned, and the vault is similarly white with dark wooden beams. A series of clerestory windows run above along either side of the central aisle arches. In the sanctuary, a gray stone baldacchino canopies over the high altar at the east end. The cathedra blocks about half an archway, its carved wooden canopy rising higher than the choir arch on the south side. As I was leaving, I spotted the door to the Chapter House, and was allowed to enter and get a picture. [Now reading the trifold, I see that when I return, I should concentrate on the side stained-glass windows, which I missed.]

By 10:20 I had returned to the hotel and Mandra and I stored our bags and crossed the parking lot and square into the train station. Our train to Dunblane left before 11, so I had a chance to journal in the station while we waited. After a half hour ride, we walked across the Allan Water and strolled up High Street and the Cross to the #DunblaneCathedral. The church closes for an hour lunch at 12:30 – we had almost an hour. Skipping the usual first step (walking around the building,) we entered through the south door and I immediately walked out into the crossing and took a picture down the center aisle of the nave and the three pairs of tall narrow stained-glass lancet windows. The central vault is bowed, made of wood, and rests on clerestory windows set above the three-story Gothic arches and the side aisle ceiling. Wooden pews fill the nave, which had been reroofed in the late nineteenth century after 250 years of ruin.

Dunblane Cathedral and churchyard

The fixtures are Victorian or later. The physical plant is thirteenth century. Old stones from the late first millennium had been recovered and are now on display in the cathedral and separate cathedral halls. Carvings on the canopies for the canon stalls, the screen, the pulpit and at the ends of the choir stalls show the medieval imagination, and many examples abound. Many of the side aisle windows display new stained-glass in shades of blue, as are the slightly older windows in the chancel. The sanctuary has a wooden communion table up two steps of dark gray marble in a simple and clean setting. The chapter house, set to the north of the sanctuary, is simple with an arched roofing, narrow in size.

While access to the bell tower is a future project, I was allowed to ascend the narrow stairs to the gallery in the rear. The view from there allowed better perspective of the nave and chancel, as well as the height of the ceiling. The volunteer staff began rounding up straggling visitors about 10 minutes before the close, so we exited to the churchyard and I began my pictures of the exterior, as the yard had been an active burial grounds – in fact, the nave floor contains many graves as well. It was easy to note the color change in the stones used in the south tower: two stories had been added around 1500 to the original 1100 base, and the spire added in the later restorations. Fortunately, the cathedral halls remained open, so we were able to see original carvings (used by the Victorians for their restorations.)

We didn’t look for Andy Murray’s golden post box, instead heading back towards crossing the Allan and after checking out two places stopped at The Riverside, a pub, for lunch. Sharing our orders, we split a seafood and chorizo pizza (prawns, clams, chorizo), a small salad, and our ale orders: Fallen Brewing’s New World Odyssee and Loch Lomond Brewing’s Bonnie & Blonde.

Finishing lunch, we returned to the #Dunblane station and caught the next train north to Perth, where we collected our bags and turned around, to catch the train to Glasgow Queen Street. At Perth, I apparently made some decisions regarding which of the delayed trains to catch and neglected to explain to Mandra. From nearly two months experiences, I knew that delayed trains can leave suddenly, and if we missed it, would have to change platforms to get to another. My tone and method of directing us onto the train was abrupt, I suspect, as I got a chewing out while we spent the hour heading south. I noted that I needed to stop and listen and explain better. As it turned out, we got dumped off the express train we’d caught to subsequently board the following local with 4 carriages, finding a spot in #2 with seats and luggage rack space.

Mandra had been to the Queen Street station when she arrived in Scotland 10 days earlier, so I followed her lead on getting through the station and out into George Square. Across the Square, south a block to Ingram Street where we went east for two short blocks and turned south again on Hutcheson where our #Glasgow lodgings, Rab Ha’s, was on the corner. A funky pub/bar, they offered rooms on the first level up. The room was small, and would require opening and closing luggage, but we settled in at our last inn for this trip.

Heading back down the flight of stairs, I ordered two half pints of IPAs – Twisted Thistle from Belhaven and Over Easy from Craft Academy. We got an appetizer plate of hummus, sunblush tomatoes, Haloumi with an olive tapenade and pita bread. And I stopped taking notes for the day. But judging on my photos, about 90 minutes later we decided to go out and explore. It was coming up on 8pm, and it wouldn’t start getting dark for 1+ hours. Back to George Square to time our walk to the station for the following morning. We then turned down Queen, a major shopping street and passed by the “coned” statue of Wellington outside the Gallery of Modern Art. (In fact, the horse and the Wullie alongside kept the three cones for our stay.) I suspect we picked up a few provisions, and I walked Mandra back to Rab Ha’s. Then I decided to check out a gold domed building I’d seen. Walking south passing the St Enoch Centre to the River Clyde, I crossed on the Gorbals St bridge and came to the gated and locked complex of the #GlasgowCentralMosque. The crown-shaped golden dome was quite evident, set atop a large red brick building.

Returning, the sun was beginning to reach the “hour before sunset” distance above the horizon downstream. A neo-gothic three-story church was visible facing out to the park along the river – it turned out to be St Andrew’s, the Catholic cathedral I intended on visiting in 2 days. As dusk was settling on the city, I continued to wander, catching pictures of a clock tower with a strange figure (Trongate Steeple), a restaurant called Steak Cattle and Roll, a church converted to the Ramshorn Theater. Mandra had hung out at the bar and left me as I stayed for a nightcap. Sipping Dalmore, a single malt scotch, I greeted a father and adult son who came in for their nightcap. We had a good time talking until closing, at which time they took off and I climbed the stairs to the room. I had about 250 photos to upload and batteries to charge.

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