Billy's home town

Fort William, Scotland, United Kingdom
Wednesday, August 9, 2006

The bed at George and Sheila's was so comfortable that we slept in till 9.30am and by the time we had breakfast and eased into the day, we didn't get out of the house until 11. This was not good as we had to leave for Isle of Skye by 1pm so that we wouldn't be driving in the dark.

Our only plan for the day was to see Billy Connolly's banana boots. These were on display at a museum called the People's Palace. [The guide books tend to skip over Glasgow in favour of Edinburgh so we knew nothing of what this city had to offer. We were in for a very pleasant surprise.] The easiest way to get to the PP was by the hop on, hop off sightseeing bus. Once again, this was very entertaining as it had a live guide who was very knowledgeable about his city and peppered his commentary with a gentle dose of cynicism.

George had taught the BOSS and me all about Wally tiles and commons and tenement housing and different architectural styles in Glasgow. This was very useful information because while we were on the bus we were able to see it all in practice and it made the city trip much more enjoyable.

Glasgow has some incredibly beautiful buildings including the university and the newly restored Art Gallery. The centre of the city looked vibrant and alive and very very clean - very different from what I had been led to believe. I was also very impressed with the city policy of museums and galleries being free! I think Glasgow is Scotland's best kept secret - so don't tell anyone and it won't get spoilt by too many tourists.

In the grounds around the People's Palace is a very impressive old carpet warehouse, decorated with ceramic tiles and a fully restored fountain. The exhibition was excellent and it was one of the few museums that requires a decent sense of humour to appreciate. Billy's boots did not disappoint and we bought a CD to listen to in the car [one of the very few advantages a car has over a motorbike].

We finally left Glasgow at 4pm and set off in the Scottish drizzle for Skye. It drizzled for the next 2 hours and I grudgingly admitted that a car was okay [and the weatherman says the rain is here for a week]. We were headed for Mallaig so that we could do the ferry crossing in the morning and have a full day on Skye, but we only made it to Fort William. Fort William has about a hundred B & B's - and ALL of them had their "No Vacancy" signs out. We pulled in to the Tourist Office to ask if they could ring ahead to Mallaig and find a B & B for us - no luck in either Fort William or Mallaig. The tourism lady sent us on our way with a "good luck" and we departed to search for a lone little B & B with the last vacancy in the whole town. And we found it!!

Knowing that we wouldn't have to sleep in the car put our minds at ease so we then concentrated on filling our bellies. We found a great pub in town and had salmon and gammon - two of Scotland's finest!

01 Cool Glasgow building in red sandstone
Cool Glasgow building in red sandstone
02 The Art Gallery
The Art Gallery
03 The old town hall clock tower
The old town hall clock tower
04 The terracotta fountain
The terracotta fountain
05 The carpet factory
The carpet factory
06 Wally tiles in the People's Palace dunny
Wally tiles in the People's Palace dunny
07 The winter garden in the People's Palace
The winter garden in the People's Palace
08 Glaswegian sense of humour
Glaswegian sense of humour
09 More humour
More humour
10 Billy
11 Billy's banana boots
Billy's banana boots
12 Gold welly and friend
Gold welly and friendBilly Connolly swapped one of his gold wellington boots for one of Elton John's platform shoes
13 Bathers for the beach - what beach???
Bathers for the beach - what beach???
14 Modern Art museum
Modern Art museum
15 Central Station
Central Station
16 The Armadillo
The Armadillo
17 A Tall Ship
A Tall Ship
18 The University
The University
19 Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond
20 Scottish mountains
Scottish mountains
21 Scotland the beautiful
Scotland the beautiful
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