Friday, December 11, 2015

The Mackintosh Trail

Executive summary by darmansjah
Walk Description

Stage 1

This walk starts from Central Station in the heart of Glasgow city centre and takes in many Mackintosh buildings as well as the exhibitions at the Kelvingrove Museum and the new complex on the Clyde. The out and back detour to the Scotland Street School can be shortened by taking the subway for the return section. A one-day Mackintosh Trail Ticket allows unlimited subway and First bus travel as well as entry to the Mackintosh attractions - available from the George Square tourist information, SPT travel centres and the Mackintosh venues. From the station exit onto Hope Street and turn right, passing the fireman memorial and going straight across Gordon Street. Take the next right onto narrow Renfield Lane where you can look up to view the Daily Record Building, decorated in white glazed bricks and green tiles. Continue along the lane and then left onto Renfield Street.

Stage 2

Continue until the pedestrianised Sauchiehall Street is reached and turn left. Soon the Willow Tea Rooms are passed on the left - a jewellers occupies the ground floor. Designed by Mackintosh in 1904 at the height of Glasgow's tea room boom, it was one of several owned by Miss Cranston. Many original features remain although the tea room only re-opened in 1983, 55 years after it closed. Keep following Sauchiehall Street and then turn right to head steeply up Dalhousie Street to Mackintosh's 'Masterwork' the Glasgow School of Art - the visitor centre entrance is on the left, access to the rest of the building is by guided tours.

Stage 3

The School of Art is still very much a working building but the stunning interior and exterior and much of the furniture remains as designed by Mackintosh. The building was completed in two stages in 1899 and 1909. Macintosh was himself a graduate of the School before it moved to its current location and it was here that he met his wife, and artistic collaborator, Margaret Macdonald. The walk now heads to Kelvingrove, pass the front of the art school along Renfrew Street and turn right down Scott Street and turn right to follow Sauchiehall Street once more. The route crosses over the M8 motorway on a bridge and passes a series of elegant terraces. Keep on Sauchiehall Street until Kelvin Way is reached. Turn right along this road through the park for a short distance before turning left along the driveway for the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Stage 4

The Kelvingrove has a large collection of Mackintosh and Glasgow Style work including stained glass, metalwork, ceramics and furniture. The building itself provides a stunning backdrop for all the varied displays and you can easily lose yourself for a few hours. From the museum return to Kelvin Way and turn left until University Avenue where you turn left to climb steeply uphill. At the crest of the hill the buildings of Glasgow University surround you with the ornate building on the left housing the Hunterian Musuem. Our destination is the Art Gallery on the opposite side of the road up steep Hillhead Street.

Stage 5

The gallery on the left side houses the reassembled rooms of 6 Florentine Terrace, home of Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald from 1906 to 1914, in a reconstruction of their home. There are also changing displays from the Mackintosh Collection. To continue the walk retrace your steps back down University Avenue and turn right for a short distance back down Kelvin Way. Bear right down the second path into the park, passing a statue, to reach the River Kelvin. Turn right here and follow the riverside path until it bears left to cross a bridge and reach Dumbarton Road. Cross the road and turn right and then immediately left down Bunhouse Road. At the junction turn right into Old Dumbarton Road and at the next junction keep straight ahead onto Ferry Road.

Stage 6

At the end of Ferry Road pass under the railway line and then turn right along a path (signed for Riverside Museum). As the path comes alongside the Clydeside Expressway turn right onto a loop that passes under this busy dual carriageway. On the far side the path leads out towards the Riverside Museum - a striking building and well worth a (free) visit. To continue the walk, however, turn left across the approach road and follow a path which runs between the Clyde Expressway and a construction side along the river Clyde. The path emerges at a junction; bear right here past the heliport to reach the River Clyde. Follow the riverside walkway to the left passing the SECC and the Armadillo. On the far side the Glasgow Science Centre and Imax Theatre can be seen and then the headquarters of BBC Scotland and STV.

Stage 7

The walkway continues past the massive crane at Finnieston, and the Clyde Arc road bridge which crosses the Clyde at an angle and is known locally as the 'Squinty Bridge'. Pass under the M8, and further on cross the 'Squiggly Bridge' at Broomielaw, a footbridge with distinctive white triangular suspension arms. The next section is fairly dull along busy West Street. Continue ahead at all the junctions until Scotland Street is reached, turn right here and walk to reach the Scotland Street School almost opposite Shields Road subway station.

Stage 8

The School was Mackintosh's last major commission in Glasgow and shows his mastery of light and space. The building is open as a museum telling the story of education in Scotland from 1872 with recreated classrooms. The route now retraces the detour south of the river back to the footbridge over the Clyde, however it is possible to take the subway to St Enoch and pick up the walk there. Once back over the footbridge turn right to follow the Clyde Walkway passing under a road bridge, a rail bridge and another road bridge. Now leave the river and bear left to cross Clyde Street and follow the street, pass St Enoch subway station and continue into Buchanan Street, the main shopping street in the city. Once past House of Fraser turn left into Mitchell Lane.

Stage 9

On the left side of this narrow lane is The Lighthouse, formerly the Glasgow Herald Building and another Mackintosh commission. Today it houses the Mackintosh Centre and design exhibition. You can climb the helical staircase from the third floor to the top of the Mackintosh Tower or take the lift to the 6th floor where a more modern viewing platform provides a stunning vista out over the city. To return to Central Station continue along Mitchell Lane and turn right along Mitchell Street and then left onto Gordon Street.

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