Day 6 - Getting Sunburnt in Greenock

weather: sunny

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The Glasgow Tube
The Glasgow Tube
 
Over breakfast, we decide that the weather is perfect for an outing, so I call up my Gaelic speaking friend to move our date one day back, and we decide to take the train to Greenock. One of the tube tracks is closed, so we have to take the long way round. On the opposite side sits a German gentleman and we start talking. He has been living in Glasgow for years now and does not feel like returning - he states that he has forgotten how to spell "Lohnsteuerkarte", which sums it up really. He is just the man we have been looking for, since we will need to find a shop that sells decent bread, which we will need for our lunch packs when we go hiking in the Highlands - meaning something which you cannot squeeze down to half its size one-handed. He leaves us with directions to a German supermarket in Greenock.

Greenock Station
Greenock Station
 
As we buy our train tickets, we ask if we can hop off at Paisley and it is not a problem, except that we miss the stop. At Greenock Station, we sit down on top of the stairs to sort through our maps and shoot some pictures. You can see the Highland hills across the river. A lady shouts at us from below and asks what our plans are. She's obviously surprised to see tourists in her part of town. She advises us to go up Lyle Hill for the view across the Clyde. However, my travelling companion has already selected Whinhill, which is just behind us and a shorter climb in the heat.

Whinhill, Greenock
Whinhill, Greenock
 
At Greenock Station, we sit down on top of the stairs to sort through out maps and shoot some pictures. You can see the Highland hills across the river. A lady shouts at us from below and asks what our plans are. She's obviously surprised to see tourists in her part of town. She advises us to go up Lyle Hill for the view across the Clyde. However, my travelling companion has already selected Whinhill, which is just behind us and a shorter climb in the heat.

Whinhill, Greenock
Whinhill, Greenock
 
We wisely go to buy a bottle of water at a small shop. We spend ages looking at the shelves for something non-flavoured and end up having to ask. Tons of big water bottles can be found - you guessed it - in the first fridge we checked, on the bottom shelf.

Whinhill, Greenock
Whinhill, Greenock
 
Our first try up the hill dead-ends, since we didn't print out a very detailed map, so we backtrack underneath the damp railway bridge and head up the next available road, through a park. Again, we take a wrong turn and end up having to ask for directions. We go as far up the hill as we can before we are literally bogged down.

View from Whinhill, Greenock
View from Whinhill, Greenock
 
The city's population must have been higher once, since we pass stretches of road without houses lined by derelict streetlights. I decide to cover my head along the way to protect myself from the blistering sun. Too bad I left my sun oil at the B&B, thinking who needs that stuff in Glasgow anyway. Big mistake, since I'm already busily developing a sunburn. The hill affords a view across the container terminal to the left and sky scraping eyesores on the right down across the river to the hills on the other bank.

Container Terminal, Greenock
Container Terminal, Greenock
 
After a little break, we head back down in search of the Esplanade. After having passed the container terminal it's lunchtime, and we follow a little sign up a side street that leads us to a café. We enjoy mixing with the locals a bit, who again advise we go up Lyle Hill, but one hill in the heat is enough for us. I get the Scottish Breakfast. The waiter puts everything on the tray extra carefully, which is fun to watch.

Greenock Esplanade
Greenock Esplanade
 
Our stomachs filled, we continue towards the Esplanade, which isn't far now. It runs along the Clyde for miles, and we enjoy the view. The railing is painted in blue, except for the parts they're repainting, and we see the silver protective covering, which they will paint over in blue later. The silver and blue go well together with the blue of the river and the farther hills.

Genuine Whinhill Mud
Genuine Whinhill Mud
 
We stroll down the Esplanade until it ends, then go on to Battery Park, where we stick our feet into the Clyde. A welcome cooling off! We then lay down on the grass for a spell, before we decide to get going lest we fall asleep on the cosy lawn. We ask for directions for the train station, and it turns out that we have walked so far that Gourock is actually closer than Greenock West. The instructions are to follow the bay, but being smarty-pants we just have to follow the main road instead, which leads us above the town centre, and no sign to the station in sight. We stop a couple of joggers who point us down the road towards the town centre - "Just follow it, you cannae miss it" - where we finally espy the wee sign.

Gourock
Gourock
 
Back in Glasgow, we decide to nip into the Borders bookstore to have a look at the hiking maps. It turns out that our walking guides cover all the areas we need in appropriate scale, so that's some money saved. We leaf through some of the books with pictures of Scotland in general and of Glasgow in particular. One of them has an aerial photograph of the Park Circus with one of the buildings on fire - an impressive sight.

Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery, Glasgow
Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery, Glasgow
 
Being hungry, we go to the Buchanan Tea Rooms - a Mackintosh replica - for dinner. The room is hot and stuffy, so we decide not to stay too long. We can't resist returning to Borders afterwards to have another look at the books, and I find a bilingual book that has been produced for the Highland Year of Culture - Fonn 's Duthchas. It has short texts in it and some pictures, perfect for improving my linguistic skills!

Dracula's Castle... erm... University of Glasgow
Dracula's Castle... erm... University of Glasgow
 
We walk back up Buchanan Street to the supermarket for drinks. I don't see anything I fancy at the moment, but my friend gets a beer. By the time we reach our B&B and have time to sit down, it is warm.
Last edited: 9 November 2007 12:02:17