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Issue 29 - Colin & Justin

Scotland Magazine Issue 29
October 2006

 

This article is 11 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Colin & Justin

The first of a new series in which Christopher Fisher will interview a different Scottish celebrity. This issue, he talks to television design duo Colin McAllister & Justin Ryan

Tell us about your five favourite places in Scotland. Colin: “My favourite place was located in St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, but has recently relocated to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

“I love the fact that I actually own, in a roundabout way, the Salvador Dali painting Christ of St John of The Cross. The City of Glasgow owns it and as a tax payer I own that painting as well. I love that painting, I go and visit it a lot. Wherever that painting is, that’s where you will find me.” Justin: “One of my favourite places is the hotel Glasgow Malmaison. It’s just around the corner from our house meaning we can take our friends there whenever we like. It was one of the first Malmaisons, which started off as a Scottish chain, and has gone on to dominate this end of the hospitality trade.” Colin: “I really like Glencoe. You drive through this big valley and it feels like you’re alive, there’s electricity that comes off the earth and you can actually feel like a creation has taken place. It’s so powerful and beautiful you feel humbled by the magnitude of it. It’s best to go after the winter as there are fantastic glacial waterfalls. You can taste the clarity in the water – an incredible place.” Justin: “Another favourite place of mine is the top of Ben Nevis as I was born in the Highlands of Scotland and raised in Fort William. Whenever I want some piece and quiet, I’ll jump in the car, drive to Fort William and climb up to admire the view.

“The Golden Sands of Morar are also fantastic as they are a used as a location for a lot of British films when they want a shot of someone laying on a sun-drenched beach. Located on the gulf stream it is unusually warm and the sand is silk white and there are palm trees. It is absolutely beautiful.” Colin: “There are times in the winter, especially in that part of Scotland where the clouds disappear and you get fantastic clear sunny days. It’s weird as it looks like you’re in the tropics but you’ve got a waterproof on!

“People expect us to go somewhere more noisy where there’s a lot going on but sometimes we like to go out and actually enjoy the silence.”

Colin & Justin’s Scotland
KELVINGROVE ART GALLERY AND MUSEUM
Colin’s favourite painting can be viewed at the recently reopened Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, an exceptional treasure-trove of public art.

Kelvingrove reopened in summer 2006 following a three year closure for major refurbishment. The work cost around £35m and includes a new restaurant and a large extension to its display space, which holds some 8000 exhibits.

Conveniently located on Argyle Street in the West End of the city, and admission is free.

www.glasgowmuseums.com

GLASGOW MALMAISON
A fine hotel bursting with extravagant affluence in the heart of the city.

Once a 19th century Greek Orthodox Church, this opulent hotel is a stunning place to stay with an ornate wrought staircase overlooked by a graceful chandelier. You can see why Justin loves a visit here with facilities including a Champagne Bar.

www.malmaison-glasgow.com

GLENCOE
Dazzling terrain in a world of its own...

With tales of murder, blissful views, intriguing burial sites along the way you can see why it is described as one of Europe’s highlights.

BEN NEVIS
At 4406ft Ben Nevis is the tallest mountain in Scotland, which gives the perfect opportunity for photographs.

There are also other sights to look out for; these include remains of an old observatory and the alluring Lochan Meall and t-Suidhe.

THE GOLDEN SANDS OF MORAR
Scotland’s divine tropical cocktail.

Conveniently located on the road towards the islands near Mallaig, this clean beach is awesome. With turquoise waters and soft sand you could be mistaken for being in a mini Caribbean paradise until you notice the heavenly views of the inner Hebrides. Nearby are some amazing bird life and seal colonies worth a visit.

JUST A CHAT
What made you decide to become wedding planners for your new series, Wedding Belles?

Colin: “When we put homes together we like people to be individuals and we try and listen to our homeowners and create a unique package. Just like people have moved away from package holidays to set up their own thing, we thought we would try the same thing with weddings. It’s an antidote to package weddings. It’s about individuality, a revolution, a celebration.”

Scotland Magazine is disappointed that there are no Scottish weddings in the series.

Justin:“We wanted one and we tried everything. We did a ‘shout out’ in local papers and in wedding magazines but we didn’t get any applicants from Scotland until the three applicants had already been picked. It was a real shame.”

Do you travel on the low-budget airlines to and from Scotland?

Justin:“We’re really lucky that we nearly always get flown business class. On the other hand we’re practical boys. If we’re in Scotland and there is an opportunity to fly to London on one of the budget carriers that’s going to save us a couple of hundred pounds I’d rather save £200 to spend on Champagne!”

Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster?

Colin: “That’s Justin in a bathing suit!” Justin: “Yeah I do, I love the mystery of it all.”

If you did a second series of Wedding Belles where would be the perfect location in Scotland for a fairytale ceremony?

Colin:“Wouldn’t it be nice to take over an entire inner Hebridean island, somewhere with beautiful white sand and nobody else there? Really personal, I’d love that!” Justin: “I’d love to have a couple get married at the top of Ben Nevis as it is so beautiful. However, trying to get an orchestra, brass band and 100 wedding guests up there might be difficult.”

With all your travelling, do you miss Scotland?

Justin: “You have no idea how much we miss it, we get two days a week in Scotland, if we’re lucky. Every day we’re away we take a bit of Scotland in our hearts.”