Argyll Forest #2

Architecture, Culture, General, Glasgow, Meeting people, Natur, Tips

After lunch a whole bunch of wet people climbed onto the bus again to go to the next place. Castle Toward and Toward Castle.

We were still in good spirits.

We sat in the front and had the best view, and could listen to the guide’s funny stories about other tours he had done.

We arrived at Castle Toward, a castle built from the ruins of Toward Castle. Easy to mix them up. We had been seeing a lot of rhododendron bushes all day but none that was blooming, until now. A good spring sign!

First up was Toward Castle built in the 15th century.

The only things that was left of it was the tower and the gate.

We managed to squeeze into the same photo. Do you see the mud at our feet? That’s what we’ve been plowing through all day.

Going back towards the Castle Toward we saw a huge bush with a hole in it, like a cave, so we had to check it out.

You might not really see, but this is a bridge. With an almost hidden passage underneath it which we went through. No faeries here.

Agnes was happy about finally finding the “sex-leaves” of the ivy. Apparently they don’t look like all of the other leaves. Ask her about it and she’ll happily tell you all about it.

This is Castle Toward, built year 1820, and now completely abandoned.

We walked around it, peeked into the windows and really wanted to go in. But it has both a guard and CCTV surveillance.

We went back to the bus that was parked at the water and had some time to kill by the beach. The weather continued being grey, but it didn’t rain anymore.

The grey sky against the blue/green/grey water and the black rocks was really beautiful. And also this fine lady.
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After seeing the castles we went to Dunoon for a short stop before taking the ferry back. We had some whiskey at the local pub, and was soon on the bus again. The trip back with the ferry could be the best ferry ride I’ve every been on. It included big waves, a scared bus driver, people getting surprised by waves coming from nowhere on the deck, the drivers mumbles of the ferry hitting whales and sharks, and us laughing at drenched people and the worried driver. All from the dry seats of the bus. I’m so going to do this again.

Argyll Forest #1

General, Meeting people, Natur, Photos, Tips

As Sofia is here, and Agnes and I haven’t really done any touring in Scotland, we decided to get on a tour bus for Argyll Forest. It was an hour ride from Glasgow and twenty minutes on a ferry. It was raining steadily all morning while we where in the forest but it made it even more magical. There were small waterfalls everywhere! I have so many photos of waterfalls in my camera that I had a hard time choosing between them.

Here’s my lovely drenched company.DSC_4872

We had a really good guide with us that told us stories about the evil faeries. If you pass underneath this big fallen tree you will go into the faerie realm and be swapped to a faerie that looks like you when you come out on the other side. Just outside the photo there is stairs going over it, so you can take that way if you don’t want to take the risk.

Here’s our guide!

Waterfalls like this was everywhere. Our guide said that when it was good weather there is barely any at all.
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We followed a path going upwards the mountain side. Agnes is happy even though she was drenched.

More water!

Here’s the hugging tree, or well, you hug the tree and you’re supposed to get good luck from it.

We came to Puck’s Glen, which was absolutely magical! And it just kept going. We followed this large stream along a small winding path for about half an hour. Kept ooh-ing and aah-ing.
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Found some stacked stones in the current.
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And this was at the end of our amazing walk.

From here we walked to a café where the bus was parked. Warmed ourselves with hot chocolate and ate our packed lunch. The next part of our tour-day comes in another post.

Winner of the Designing Places student competition

Architecture, Culture, General, Glasgow, Meeting people, Photos, Strathclyde University

Last Saturday Agnes and I participated in the student competition Designing Places, which was a day long workshop. We had some drawing exercises in the morning, sandwich lunch and in the afternoon we were split into teams of 5-6 people, all from different schools and courses. We got a site that we were supposed to make a proposed masterplan on. After a lot of arguing about how it was supposed to look like, as an urban designer, I put down my foot and sorted everything out. And we WON (!!!) as the Team Urbanites with the proposal Castle Square. John McNairney, the Chief Planner of Scotland, handed out the prize. A book and prestige. As the winning team we are also invited to the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning in November to be presented with certificates.

The jury said: “The Urbanites created a well-considered masterplan, under great time pressure, working hard together as a team. Named ‘Castle Square’ it had a strong street structure and a good balance of green spaces, new housing arrangements and community amenities such as a school. The plan looked outwards, towards city & castle, but also created a focus on a new urban space, that would attract vibrant activity. The team also captures a good sense of scale in terms of building blocks and spaces.”

All the participants.
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The winning team with the organisers.
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The winning proposal, a plan done in 15 minutes.

Busy times

General, Glasgow, Natur, Photos, Strathclyde University

One day it’s spring and the other it’s hailing between rain and storm winds. It has been really busy lately and there is no sign of things calming down. This week we had our last intensive three days course, Urban Theory. For this we had to read into a subject each and give a presentation on it. I had New Urbanism, Smart Growth and Lean Urbanism. I was really stressed about it as I didn’t think it would be that much work, so I spent a lot of time trying to finish my preparations. It went well in the end I think. The course was really interesting and I got one eye-opener after the other. Really inspiring! After a few nights of restless sleep I finally got to relax.