Rampant Scotland

Scotland in Colour Week By Week

November - Week 4

"Scotland Week by Week" contains a selection of flowers, animals, birds and scenery typical of the time of year. The photographs were previously part of a regular "Colour Supplement" which ran for nearly four years as part of the original Scottish Snippets newsletter. While seasons do vary from year to year, this collection gives a good idea of the flora and fauna typical of central Scotland at each week of year.

This bleak view of the University of Glasgow from Kelvingrove Park was taken when there were not only frequent showers, but also a strong, cold wind. Many of the trees have lost their leaves by now - the surprise is that so many are still left.

If you have your own fur coat like this Grey Squirrel, a cold November day is not so bad - especially at this time of year when there are still plenty of acorns and beech nuts around.

Judging by this picture of the local pigeons, it is not just the Glaswegians who have a tendency to eat fast food and not take enough exercise! Of course, they may just have puffed up their feathers to keep warm?

The Stewart Fountain in Kelvingrove Park was erected to commemorate the efforts of Lord Provost Stewart and his colleagues in the promotion of the Loch Katrine water scheme. In a far-sighted project, the city built an 8ft-diameter aqueduct 26 miles in length from Loch Katrine to a reservoir on the outskirts of Glasgow and then distributed it by pipes across the city. The system was formally opened by Queen Victoria in 1859. The success of the project was seen a few years later when the next cholera epidemic broke out and Glasgow was relatively unaffected. The scheme still supplies over 100 million gallons of water to Glasgow every day.

It's not just in the summer that we Scots fly off to get some sunshine. There are plenty of package holiday travellers glad to get on board this Monarch Airlines Airbus at Glasgow Airport to fly off to southern Europe or even further afield. As you can see, Monarch has at some stage won the title of "Leisure Airline of the Year".

Hogganfield Loch at Dusk

A typical November view of Hogganfield Loch, just after sunset.

George Square at Christmas

The Christmas lights are switched on in Glasgow's George Square well in advance of the festive season. A number of new displays appear each year, but the red lights on the column supporting the statue of Sir Walter Scott have been seen for a number of years now. Sir Walter also sports a red bow tie created with coloured lights!

Shovelar and Seagull

As overnight temperatures drop below freezing, smaller lochs become frozen over. This Shovelar, with its distinctive long bill was feeding in a patch of water while a Black-headed Gull, in its winter plumage, stood on the ice nearby, possibly hoping for a few scraps. Most British Shovelars fly to southern Europe and Africa and the ones we see at this time of year have migrated from Iceland, northern Europe and Russia.

Intermittent sun breaks through the clouds again just before it went below the horizon (at 4pm), creating this atmospheric picture of the sunset at Drumpellier Country Park in North Lanarkshire, with seagulls silhouetted against the sky.

You may query the inclusion of the Great Hall in Stirling Castle in a page sets out to display the current season and its weather, flora and fauna. But with the rain teeming down, the sensible place to visit is inside! Stirling Castle has lots of buildings, steeped in history in which tourists can learn about Scotland's past - while out of the rain!

I am somewhat ambivalent about the Welsh Poppy. Yes, it produces lots of bright yellow blooms and flowers all through the summer. But its seeds spread rapidly around suburban gardens, seedlings pop up everywhere and they have deep roots that make them difficult to remove. In other words, it can be a garden pest!

The clear skies produce a clear view of the almost full moon rising above the leafless trees.

The cenotaph war memorial in George Square, Glasgow, in front of the City Chambers, is covered with wreaths of poppies which were laid during the service of remembrance on 11 November. There is a carving on the obelisk of St Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow. In front of the granite memorial is a great flat slab with a carving of a fern leaf and the word "Pax" (peace) inscribed on it. The City Chambers (essentially the city hall) at this time of year is lit up, highlighting the elaborate carvings of this 19th century building.

The Christmas lights in George Square, Glasgow, are switched on in November - watched by the 17,000 people who had been lucky enough to apply for the free tickets before they were all snapped up. The switch-on was followed by a 15-minute fireworks display - which was probably what many of the 17,000 people had come to see!

The reindeer and Santa's sledge, the red lights running up the column supporting the statue of Sir Walter Scott and some of the other lights in George Square have been the focus of the Christmas lights in Glasgow's George Square for a number of years. "Glasgow On Ice" also provides the opportunity to skate beneath the stars in the centre of the city, on an ice rink, surrounded by Christmas lights, a funfair and Santa’s grotto.

The Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow is usually lit up at night but joins in the festive season with additional elements such as the Christmas tree. The magnificent building began life in 1778 as a palatial Tobacco Lord's house with a large garden. Later, when it became the Royal Exchange for the city merchants, the building was refaced and fronted with a giant portico of Corinthian columns and the cupola added above. It became the Stirling's Library in 1954 and was refurbished to house the city's contemporary art collection in 1996.

The entire space between the Gallery of Modern Art and the surrounding buildings has been covered over with a myriad of lights, creating a star-lit "Milky Way". The pavement cafes opposite have had a new lease of life, even in November, as a result of all tobacco smokers being banished outside! The Tobacco Lords of the 18/19th century would have been horrified...

There are few remnants of what was once the major, thriving shipbuilding industry on the Clyde in Glasgow. Only a few specialist yards now survive and much of the river bank is being redeveloped into housing, museums and shopping malls. The Titan crane at Clydebank is one of the surviving reminders of the great days of shipbuilding when the river produced a substantial percentage of the world's shipping. The cantilever crane is a 150 feet (46 metres) high and was built in 1907 to aid the construction of battleships and ocean liners at the John Brown & Company shipyard, then the biggest shipbuilding group in the world. In 1988 the crane was recognised as a Category A Listed historical structure by Historic Scotland In 2005, the urban regeneration company Clydebank Re-Built started a £3 million restoration project and the crane opened to the public as a visitor attraction in time for its 100th birthday in 2007. Visitors can travel to the top of the crane in a new new stair and lift shafts clad in a aluminium. The viewing platform is floored with an open mesh grating allowing visitors to walk along the jib, 150ft above the River Clyde. With the Titan crane at Govan scheduled for demolition, four of these giant cantilever cranes remain on the River Clyde. The others are at Stobcross (the Finnieston Crane), Scotsoun and Greenock.

It is perhaps appropriate that this "boat" should be moored in the Forth and Clyde Canal at the Clydebank shopping centre. Despite being called the "Debra Rose" and its claim to be the "world's first sail-through fish and chip (French fries) take-away", McMonagles Fish Restaurant isn't actually afloat! But it can justify its claim of a world's first as it has a take-away window overlooking the canal and passing boats can order a "fish supper" just as in a drive-through fast food outlet. Not that there are that many boats sailing along the canal, despite a major investment in renovating and re-opening the waterway, which runs from the river Clyde in the west to the river Forth in the east of Scotland.

With the huge explosion in the population of Glasgow (and other towns and cities in Scotland), there was a need dwelling houses in which they could live. Multi-storey apartment blocks were often the best way of providing such accommodation. In Scotland, they were usually called "tenements" - from the Latin tenere to hold and the laws which governed the relationship between the tenant who paid rent and the landlord who owned the property. Many of the tenement properties (such as those in the east end of Glasgow and the Gorbals area) became slums due to overcrowding and poor maintenance and have been demolished. In the West End of Glasgow, however, most of the red sandstone properties have survived. After modernisation and stone cleaning (to remove the accumulate grime from industry and from domestic coal fires), they are much sought after. This photo shows part of a typical tenement block close to Byres Road in the West End.

Grown for its colourful, showy leaves, ornamental cabbage has been specially cultivated to produce these tight, well rounded-heads and ruffly foliage. Colours range from white to red, with tones of pink, purple, and green and can even be striped with rich streaks of colour. One benefit of growing a colourful plant like this is that seeds are planted in July and August and it comes into its own in the late autumn and winter, when there are few other splashes of colour in the garden. Ornamental cabbage is theoretically edible, but it can get extremely bitter and the leaves tend to turn a dull grey when they are cooked!

The contrasts between light and shade often produce attractive photographs towards sunset, as here on a still day at Lochend Loch in Drumpellier Country Park, North Lanarkshire.

If you want to look back at other editions of these photos of Scotland week by week, there is an Index Page

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