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Issue 55 - Good Advice

Scotland Magazine Issue 55
February 2011

 

This article is 6 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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Good Advice

The Editor offers three things to bear in mind

I think the best three pieces of handy advice I can offer anyone visiting Scotland are to avoid the M8 at certain times of day, always look out of the aircraft window and, when walking in the cities, look up.

While there are certainly less stressful ways of travelling, sometimes you cannot help but travel by car. I know there are some excellent roads in Scotland for driving and enjoying the scenery, and most roads do not suffer in this way. But please heed my advice and try to miss the stretch of M8 motorway between Edinburgh and Glasgow during the week, and most of all at rush hour. The art editor and I were travelling back form Airdrie to Glasgow recently and the 12 mile trip took one and a half hours. Seriously 90 mins...it really made me wish for the bike as we sat bumper to bumper not really going anywhere that quickly at all. But as they say getting there is part of the experience.

Personally I reckon that Scotland looks good in all weathers, but now we are halfway out of the darkness of winter, the country will transform into its Spring colours.

Flying into Edinburgh, if the plane comes out over the firth to line up with the runway look out of the window. If you are on the correct side of the plane you are treated to one of the best views of the city ever. All the sights are laid out before you.

From the dominance of Arthur’s Seat and the castle on its volcanic plug to the Leith dockyards and the unmissable Royal Mile. One of the other features of Edinburgh you are only really going to appreciate from the air is the city’s layout.

Edinburgh’s New Town was an 18th century solution to the problem of an increasingly crowded Old Town.

The city, by dint of its location, had remained incredibly compact, confined to the ridge running down from the castle. In 1766 a competition to design the New Town was won by James Craig, a 22-year-old architect. The plan that was built created a rigid, ordered grid, which fitted well with enlightenment ideas of rationality. From the air it is easy to see why it earnt the nickname ‘the Athens of the North’.

This links to my final piece of advice. The old buildings in Glasgow, Edinburgh and the other towns and cities often have magnificent decorations, statues and friezes. These are usually situated on the roof lines, so look up you never know what you are going to see.