Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dundee, City 11/69 in the UK Cityscapes Project

On Tuesday I boarded a train from Sterling with my daughter and travel companion for this part of the trip Looby.  We were travelling to Dundee, City 11/69 in the UK Cityscapes Project we were excited at the prospect of seeing another historic Scottish city, one of Loobys school topics about bridges meant she was curious to see the Tay Bridge and the remains of the old bridge, we never did find the new memorial from the Tay Bridge disaster

It cost around £18 for the return ticket from Sterling to Dundee and it's a lovely hours journey through rolling green mountainous hillsides. Travel in Scotland is pleasurable mainly because of the beautiful views and I've noticed that there are more windows in Scotrail trains, the whole experience seems lighter and brighter, it's just a shame that when I asked the lady on the refreshment trolley for sparkling water that she informed me I was only allowed still water, the sparkling was only for first class, this makes absolutely no sense to me, I did tweet Scotrail about it but so far they have failed to comment.

When you arrive in Dundee you wonder if it's even finished yet, they are going through a massive redevelopment which is due to be completed in 2017, it's somewhat like a huge building site in areas.

The following things happened in Dundee, the bus driver failed to tell us which stop we needed even though we asked and informed us when I asked if we'd missed our stop that yes we should have got off the stop before.

A bike rider went past and swore loudly at me in front of Looby because I hadn't heard his bike bell.

A representative of a church with great views flatly refused us access unless we came back at 2.30 on Sunday

A man told us off because we went the wrong way even though we were in strange city.

Dundee just isn't a friendly place and that is such a shame but you can't help thinking there's an atmosphere when you are there, there are of course some lovely people, the tourist officer was fantastic and helped us get to the Dundee Law where I took many of the images and we had a lovely lunch at Henrys Coffee and left a suspended coffee for someone who needs it in the future.

Shall we see some photos?


The train journey passes through Iverurie, so very pretty



I really loved this square, you can see Henry's Coffee house on the left hand side



we did find a unicorn in Dundee so it wasn't all bad!


The walk up to Dundee Law, the highest point in Dundee, get the number 4 bus which is the Minnie the Minx Route and it stops just in front of the hill you'll need to climb, this is the bus we should have got on the way up but only found out about it on the way back down.






The climb to the top is absolutely worth it, the views are just incredible


















That's me, proving I did actually do it!


Dundee, home of Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx


and a Dragon


and captain Scotts ship


and penguins, not real ones, they live outside of Discovery Cove, a museum all about Captain Scott of the Antarctic and also a great place for a cuppa, Looby had an awesome waffle and I had a brilliant cream tea, it's really just as well we climbed that hill and walked for miles so we could see the Tay bridge up close.





and that was her reward for all the walking, sadly not a patch on the park in Perth


That's the Cathedral and the Science centre, by the time we found it, it was closed and to be honest we just wanted to go back to beautiful Stirling!

Even though our visit to Dundee was marred by some unfriendly unhelpful people I still believe there's beauty there if you find it.

There are only 7 days left to jump on board with the UK Cityscapes project so go order a book and enjoy the adventure, its only then you can claim that it wouldn't have happened without you.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Perth, City 10 of 69 in the UK Cityscapes Project

On Monday Looby and I hopped on a train from Stirling to Perth, they run every half hour and with our railcard we got a day return for the bargain price of £6.90, the train only takes 30 minutes and it's a lovely gentle journey through rolling hillsides and very green and beautiful Scottish countryside.

Perth is one of the smalleer cities I'll visit on my journey to document all 69 cities of the UK, it has a population of around 50,000 and is known as "The Fair City" thanks to Sir Walter Scott, yes that's he of the Scott Monument in Edinburgh, luckily unlike the Scott Monument there aren't any monuments in the town that you'll need to climb to get those all important postcards from the city and after climbing the National Wallace Memorial in Stirling on Sunday I think I saw Looby visibly give a sigh of relief! "no hills today mammy"
"hurray" we both declared.

We visited the tourist information and I have to give the tourist information offices in the UK their dues, they could not have been more helpful, they've each helped me to achieve my goal, yes I realise it's their job to do that but each and every one of the staff at their offices have gone above and beyond, they've also all seemed excited about the project and when they get excited I get excited and when I get excited Looby usually gives me a high five or tells me to stop jumping around the room because I'm over excited.

Anyway, back to Perth where we didn't really do anything apart from walk and walk and walk and walk, oh and we did a little shopping, Looby needed her own mountaineering parka and she has this obsession with Rainbow Loom as do most tweens, if you don't know what they are you're either living as a hermit in some far off Hebridean island or you don't have tween girls ;)  I'm actually sitting typing this post wearing my red, white and blue UK Cityscapes rainbow loom bracelet.  When we bought Looby some from the toy shop (they cost around £1 a pack and a couple of pounds more for the starter kit with loom) the owner told us that he's selling around 1000 packets a day!

So, we didn't go to any museums or art galleries, we just had a lovely walk over the bridge and all the way back around again, that sounds like a small walk but it probably took us a good couple of hours as we stopped for photos, hid under trees while the rains once again tried to drench us and we meandered around pretty little parks and gardens along the way.  If you do the full walk around the banks of the river Tay you'll go across the railway bridge where you can literally stand and watch the trains go past you less than about five metres away, it's probably the closest i've been when a train has gone past, terribly exciting if you're into train type activities, I got a great photo of one on it's bonny way to Dundee and Aberdeen where the line goes to on that side of the track.

So, shall we get on with some photos?


















That's the bridge there where the trains go along it right next to the pedestrian path separated only by a mental fence, in these days of crazy health and safety rules I'm surprised they haven't closed it to pedestrians







and there you go, you can really see just how close you can get to the trains, those lovely Scots have clearly got more sense when it comes down to health and safety, I said that to Looby when we found the best park ever complete with trampolines without nets and free standing climbing walls.




see that, a trampoline without a safety net, I would actually say that if you are going to Perth for a family holiday then you are in luck, it has the best park I have ever seen for kids, they have obviously invested a lot of money in there and I think if you took a picnic the kids would happily stay all day, there are so many things to climb in, slide down, weave through and lovely sections for all ages and there are plenty of seats and grassy verges for parents who want to keep an eye on the kids but not necessarily stick to them like glue, for that reason I give Perth a very happy family rating of 10/10, there are never enough places where you can go with kids which entertain them but don't cost anything!

To get on board with the project and say you made it happen you can pre-order your copy of the book HERE along with prints, canvases and other goodies, all of the images on this blog are available as a print or canvas

1 other thing for today, you may have noticed if you're a regular reader that my blog has had a bit of a makeover, well dear reader if you are a business and you're reading I might just have a great opportunity for you,  you can now purchase a 200px banner ad for only £20 per month or £50 per 3 months (yes, a whole £10 per month saving), these are introductory rates so take advantage.  I've been blogging for 9 years and there are days when I'm now getting up to 700 unique visitors so it's only right that I share that with people who believe in the project so get on board, enjoy the ride and grab yourself a great business opportunity to reach a global market, to purchase your 200px banner ad or for more information just email mandy@mandycharltonphotography.com


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