A visit to Stewarton, Scotland
Following my hiking of the Offa’s Dyke Path (177 miles): Offa’s Dyke Path June 2009 , I traveled by train to Glasgow, Scotland to visit with a relative of mine (artist Jim Wylie: jimwylie-artist.co.uk/ )
I was quite impressed by the train services and the size of Glasgow’s train station. After hiking for about 200 miles along the ancient border between England and Wales, the hustle and bustle of a modern train station and being among crowds of people was surprisingly disturbing for the first bit.
When I arrived at the train station, I found Jim speaking to a fellow whom he introduced to me as Robert Burns (a.k.a. Robbie Burns). Of course, I thought that this was some sort of Scottish humour. Gullible I might be on some occasions but since Jim lives in Stewarton and the famous Robbie Burns is buried in a cemetery in Stewarton, I guess I could be forgiven for being a bit skeptical. Turns out that the chap’s name was indeed Robert Burns!
Jim had parked his car a bit of a ways away from the station so off we traveled through some of Glasgow’s streets. People everywhere and architecture dating back hundreds of years greeted me as we walked along the busy streets.
From Glasgow train station to Stewarton, is a relatively short distance by Canadian standards, but as usual, it seemed to me that it took a long time to drive such a short distance. Must have something to do with Scottish time zones or driving on the wrong side of the road LOL.
Stewarton is a mixture of both new and old housing and construction. Although, today, it only has a population of about 6,000, it is a town that has been around since the 15th century and has lots of history at its roots including stories and intrigue surrounding the murder of the 4th Earl of Eglinton. In more recent times, the town was known as the spot where the Stewarton bonnet was manufactured.
A short walk along a stream flowing through Stewarton was both pleasant and informative. No rare birds or other creatures jumped out of the woods to greet me but I did encounter one plant that I had never seen before. Looking a bit like Queen Anne’s lace on steroids, the Giant Hogweed, that lined both sides of the path at one location, was both interesting and dangerous at the same time. Some of the blossoms, which towered over my head, were attracting numerous bees and other insects. As I moved in for some interesting photos, Jim warned me of the dangers relating to this plant. The fluids of the plant can cause pain and suffering to those who come in contact with them and the fluids can cause serious phototoxic reactions in those who are exposed to the sunshine without washing those fluids off.
Didn’t photograph a lot of wildlife this day but a few doves did pose for me in Stewarton.