Mid June 2014, Isle of Bute, Glasgow, Caladh Harbour
The Isle of Bute has traditionally been a holiday destination, and Rothesay is a typical seaside town with esplanade, and row of impressive buildings fronting the shore that have seen better days. We stayed in the little marina in the harbour which is served by two ferries that shuttle back and forth to Weymss Bay on the mainland. It was a very low spring tide while we were there which allowed the Herring Gulls to plunder the sea life. Unfortunately the pontoons were the favourite place to dismember the victims (see below), and the unpalatable bits were left for the unwary yachtie to tread on.
One building that was well maintained was the "Victorian Toilets" (right). There were a spectacular array of different coloured marble ceramic and tiles (see also More Pictures). The only odd thing was that there was only a Victorian Gents, the Ladies was a very uninteresting later add on. What is unclear is what the ladies in Victorian times did when caught short...what ever they did, it was clearly not in a public facility.
The biggest tourist attraction on the Isle of Bute is Mount Stuart (below), built by the 3rd Marquess of Bute in the late 19th Century. It is as typically Victorian Gothic on the inside as it appears on the outside. The chapel on the right of the picture below is entirely lined in white marble, and is open to the soaring spire which is glazed with red stained glass giving an impression of a glowing sunset reflected on the walls. The outside of the elaborate spire is encased in lead which gives it the white appearance. The extensive grounds has several themed gardens, including a Kitchen Garden, Pinery and a "Wee Garden" that was home to exotic plants and a very impressive 17th Century Obelisk-SunDial (see also Sun Dial Pictures).
Following our tour of Mount Stuart we actually managed a sail (not a motor for once) across to Kip Marina. This is not somewhere we would normally choose to visit, but it is on the railway line to Glasgow and we wanted to visit the Riverside museum. We had thought about catching the train from Oban, but the schedule was always too tight, so the opportunity of traveling from Inverkip was too good to miss.
The museum houses the collection from the old Glasgow transport museum, so includes several Scottish railway locomotives which are always of interest to us ex-footplate staff. Judging by the dumbed-down display boards, and the height of most of the visitors that day, the museum mainly caters for primary school children. Thankfully the pupil/teacher ratio was sufficiently high not to put too high a strain on our patience.
The docks part of the museum complex is home to the tall ship Glenlee (left and right) where you can explore the cabins and three decks. Of most interest to us was the chart room where selected pages of the ships log had been reproduced showing hourly distance traveled which was not greater than Innisfree manages.
From Kip we motored (again no wind) up the beautiful East Kyles of Bute to anchor in Caladh Harbour (below) where we stayed for three days, enjoying the peaceful spot, pleasant woodland walks, and the test match cricket on the radio. From here it was another motor down the West Kyles of Bute and over to Tarbert where we are thinking of staying for several days as the Vikings are supposed to visit later in the week.