Monthly Archives: Feb 2020

Glasgow, a geocaching tour guide

This trip has been a little different as it’s not the hubby and I but it’s my dad and me.

My dad is on route to the Isle Of Skye, but due to his recent challenges I wasn’t keen on him driving all that way on his own, hence the birth of a brief road trip. So Wednesday we made the journey from Dartford to Glasgow. The roads were very kind to us and the scenery as we ventured further north is quite stunning. Snow topped crisp white hills in the distance and bright blue sunny skies. Our hotel was found and after dropping of our belongings we had a stroll to a near by shop and stocked up on some goodies for our hotel picnic.

The idea of our time is to have a day exploring the city and then for dad to drop me at the airport to fly home and he will carry on his drive up to Skye.

So, Glasgow…… I could have spent time trawling the Internet looking for places to visit, but as some of you may know Rich and I are keen geocachers. Dad has been known to participate which was a good job as he has certainly walked his socks of today. I’d spent some time researching what geocachers were near to our hotel and in the local area. The good thing about looking online at geocaches is that there is often a description of the area or building and past finders photos. Some caches have physical containers that you need to locate and sign the log book, others have online questions that you need to answer before you can move on to the next stage. Glasgow is a cachers paradise with a great mix of caches to find or learn about.

The first evening here, dad and I attempted our first ever AR cache.

Augmented reality is the technology that expands our physical world, adding layers of digital information onto it. Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), AR does not create the whole artificial environments to replace real with a virtual one. AR appears in direct view of an existing environment and adds sounds, videos, graphics to it. So for this cache we had to be a short distance away from the coordinates and by using a special app a screen popped up with information as we moved the view around. Quite clever and quirky. The last piece of information was a set of coordinates that led us to the physical log book. This was the first part of our tour guide as it was placed at a location that had a huge painted image of Charles Rennie Macintosh. I spent some time later in the evening researching his life and what he did for Glasgow. Very interesting.

The trailblazing architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is the subject of a second mural at the Clutha Bar. The design by Rogue and Art Pistol was commissioned by the Radisson RED Hotel to mark the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth in 2018. The stunning design depicts the Glaswegian icon and his distinctive art deco and rose motif style.
The Clutha Bar features a fantastic mural on the outside wall, celebrating many of the famous faces that have been associated with the venue. From Alex Harvey, Frank Zappa, and Woody Guthrie to Billy Connolly, Benny Lynch and Stan Laurel, this piece of art highlights the unique people of the city’s history. Completed by Rogue, EJEK, and Art Pistol.

The following morning we had caches marked on our Glasgow map, our own tour guide. After a good breakfast we wrapped up warm, (it is currently 5° and cars are coming down from the hills covered in snow) our first stop was a multi cache. You have to go to the location and find out some answers to the listed questions, work out some sums then head of to the final coordinates. Quite often I over look multi caches but a fellow cacher had recommended that we visit this one and it didn’t disappoint. This was a seven meter high stainless sculpture of a giant nappy pin which stands where the old Rottenrow maternity hospital once stood

Giant nappy pin

I will add that this cache was up a very steep hill which dad took nice and slowly but managed to get to, proud daughter moment.

One of the college buildings on route uphill to Kingpin.

Whilst finding information for this cache we came up cross some more exquisite artwork. I think you’ll agree, graffiti in a striking form.

Our next target of caches were lab caches. Again these use a special app that when you near the coordinates a question appears for you to answer based on something near by to where you are standing. These again are great little tour guides as most tell here share some history of what you are looking at. This series details some buildings and monuments in the old medieval part of town and history of Glasgow cathedral.

Ornate gates leading to the oldest house.

After following our questions, we reached Glasgow Cathedral. Glasgow cathedral or St Mungos cathedral as it’s sometimes known, is the oldest cathedral in mainland Scotland and the oldest building in Glasgow.

Back on our caching trail we headed West in search of a cafe for some warming up time, although it was quite bright all day there were a few sleet showers which had icy winds. We found a Canadian cafe, similar to a Mac Donald’s style but way better. A hotspot for many of the college students.

Whilst travelling through this area we were also looking out for police boxes. This was another set of lab caches and made for interesting history.

One of 8 police boxes remaining in Glasgow. This one houses a very small coffee shop, Strangely they didn’t have a toilet😂

Police boxes were usually blue, with the most notable exception being Glasgow, where they were red until the late 1960. In addition to a telephone, they contained equipment such as an incident book, a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.

This box houses a CBD oil shop.

The artwork along this route is plentiful and you really should are the time to stop and take it all in.

Glasgow street art regular Smug created this mural that can be found on a gable end on High Street. Depicting a modern-day St Mungo and referencing the story of The Bird That Never Flew. Fittingly, the nearby Glasgow Cathedral is the final resting place of Glasgow’s patron saint.
Just around the corner from the modern day St Mungo is the complementary St Enoch and Child, also by Smug. This tender and detailed mural, at the corner of High Street and George Street, is a contemporary interpretation of the city’s founding story; St Thenue/Enoch cradling her beloved St Kentigern/Mungo.
Covering more than 1,000 square metres and several stories, Strathclyde University’s Wonderwall was commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Royal Charter which conferred the University’s status and also the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Once we had warmed up we continued along towards the Glasgow city chambers. This is the location of an Earth cache. A cache that requires you to look at some geological elements in the area and send your answer to the cache owner. Then if you are correct in your answers you can log the cache. These again are great tour guide caches as they often give detailed history.

Glasgow city chambers

Opposite city chambers is George Square, it is home to the statue of Sir Walter Scott and Sir John Moore, and in my opinion some very lovely hellebores.

Next was some traditional caches on route to a virtual cache. The virtual again gave us some information about the monument and the area.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington was best known for defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo (as well as giving his name to the wellington boot) and statues honouring this military hero can be found all across Britain. The Glasgow version was designed by Italian sculptor Carlo Marochetti and was erected in 1844. For the best part of 140 years, the statue stood on Royal Exchange Square without much fanfare. That all changed in the early 1980s, when a traffic cone mysteriously started appearing on top of the Duke of Wellington’s head. The origins of this practice are murky, but the most widely held belief is that a brave, drunk student scaled the statue after a night out in order to adorn the Duke with his new accessory. Despite attempts at removal by Glasgow City Council, the cone has remained for over 30 years. Whenever a cone is removed, it is only a matter of hours before a new one appears in its place.

Next on the route I think is my favourite piece of art work discovered so far today. You’ll find this fantastical floating taxi on Mitchell Street adjacent to Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, also created by artist Rogue. Capturing the attention of all who walk past, it’s a great piece to start off your trail if your following the city centre mural trail.

Titled, The worlds most economical taxi.

Just along from the taxi is another great art called, Honey I shrunk the kids.

The last cache on our list was a wherigo. This again uses an app that as you near the location some information and questions come up on screen for you to answer. This series is dedicated to Glasgow’s own Billy Connolly.

Created to mark the 75th birthday of the much-loved Glaswegian comedian Billy Connolly in 2017, you’ll find two brilliant murals around the city created from original pieces of artwork, brought to life by street artist Rogue. Jack Vettriano and John Byrne were commissioned to portray the ‘Big Yin’ in their own respective styles and we think you’ll agree that the end results are an amazing tribute to one of the greatest comedians of all time! We found 3😛

So caches all complete it was time to head back to our hotel to warm up and enjoy a cup of tea whilst reflecting on the history and architecture today. 22 caches found, I’m very happy with that, especially as they took us to many parts of Glasgow we wouldn’t have otherwise discovered. Glasgow you have been fun x