Kirkintilloch – Bearsden – Glasgow- Dumbarton

Sunday 8 July 2018 

Today we visited:

  • the Roman Bathhouse at Bearsden
  • Glasgow – Riverside Museum; Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Leaving our lovely campsite by the Forth and Clyde Canal we headed to Bearsden, 6 miles from Glasgow City, to see the remains of a Roman Bathhouse and Antonine Wall. The Wall was a turf fortification on stone foundations, constructed by the Romans from AD142 and took about 12 years to complete. It spanned approximately 63 kilometres and was about 3 metres high and 5 metres wide between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde with approximately 16 -19 forts along the wall. The purpose of the wall was to defend the frontier from raids by Caledonians, but this was unsuccessful, and they abandoned the wall in about AD165, less than 20 years after completion. Most of the wall and its associated fortifications have been destroyed over time, but some remains are still visible unlike its stone built southern predecessor, Hadrain’s Wall. The Roman Bathhouse remains have been very well preserved, especially the bathhouse and latrine, which were built in the 2nd century AD and used to serve a small fort. There is a small section of the wall remaining in one corner.

We then drove to the West End of Glasgow and parked the motorhome in Morrisons, a 1 mile walk to the Riverside Museum at Glasgow Harbour. Inside the museum there are over 3000 objects on display from Glasgow’s past with collections of different makes of cars going up and along the wall on what looks like a road, assorted railway locomotives and trams and bikes displayed on a velodrome track in mid-air which revolves constantly, just to name a few. The most impressive display was an atmospheric recreation of a Glasgow shopping street dating from 1895 to the 1980’s. You are able to go into each shop and see and hear what it was like back then.  This museum has it all, you could spend hours here and not see everything. An amazing museum to see and it is free!

Outside there was a notice advertising a free ferry from 1-4pm to visit the Govan Stones, a group of medieval carved stones on display at the Govan Old Parish Church a four-minute ferry ride across the Clyde River. So, we decided we would come back and catch the ferry later in the day after visiting the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

We walked to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum which has an extensive range of natural history and art, with the famous painting by Salvador Dali ‘Christ of St John of the Cross’ which I wanted to see. After finding out there was a guided tour at 2:30 pm we headed back to our motorhome and parked closer to Riverside to catch the ferry to Govan.23 the Govan Ferry which broke down

We arrived back at the Riverside Museum and went down the slip to wait for the ferry. After watching the ferry for 10 minutes being towed by a rubber inflatable we thought something must be up. The ferry tied up and the driver told us the ferry had broken down and there would be no trips today. No wonder they call it a free ferry! Disappointed we headed back to our carpark and drove to the Art Museum.

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is housed in an exquisite Spanish Baroque style building with sculptures everywhere. The centrepiece in the entrance is a huge shining concert pipe organ. We went on a personalised guided tour, as there was only the two of us, through an extensive collection of expression and life.  We saw Dali’s painting, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s art, a fantastic collection of arms and armour and a replica of a sarcophagus which is part of the Govan Stone collection.  So, we didn’t completely miss this after all. It was an excellent tour.

We then drove to Dumbarton and stayed in the carpark of the castle. It is a lovely area with a bowling club, a park which overlooks the River Clyde and a path which skirts the river. We went for a short walk and called into the bowling club for a drink and chatted with the very friendly greenkeeper.

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