Saturday, 25 June 2022

Scotland By Rail - Wemyss Bay station and the ferry to Rothesay, isle of Bute

Previous blog post - Port Glasgow, on route to Wemyss Bay

Next blog post - a 5km circular walk from Rothesay.

This blog post - Wemyss Bay and ferry to Bute

What a station.

I've been visiting recently in preparation for a set of commissions I am soon to undertake for the Friends of Wemyss Bay Station who have their bookshop and gallery in this part of the main station concourse:

And here is the inside of the bookshop and gallery space. Full of interest, history, books, cards, gifts to buy:

Mostly Wemyss Bay station is a place you travel to to:

- see the station, bookshop, cafe...

- travel onwards to the isle of Bute

Even while you're still in the station you hear and see the sea. Walking down the (stunning) covered ramp between station concourse and ferry ticket office I could hear and smell seabirds, wonderful. From the windows shags and gulls and other seabirds were visible:

pair of shags

same spot, zoomed out

Now on the ferry, about to depart:

The end of the ferry opens to allow cars in and out. I had to video it for our son:

On MV Argyll soon after departing Wemyss Bay.
Isle of Bute & Rothesay town ahead & MV Bute just visible forwards left.

The journey to Rothesay on Bute takes only about 35 minutes and ferries depart hourly from both Rothesay and Wemyss Bay, run by Calmac. There are two ferries, MV Argyll and MV Bute. They pass each other half way across.

MV Bute passes MV Argyll (which I was on), Bute heading for Wemyss Bay, Argyll for Rothesay

Toward Toward Lighthouse (yes, that's correct) on the Cowal peninsula

Bute already

looking north-north-west towards Loch Striven, Kyles of Bute...

now sadly derelict bath house

Note the Winter Gardens (sage green with terracotta roof).
Now Isle of Bute Discovery Centre (ie Tourist Info +)

Rothesay with mountains of Arran behind

And don't forget the Black guillemots:

Rothesay Ferry Terminal


Rothesay Ferry Terminal + ferry.

Next blog post - a 5km circular walk from Rothesay.

Previous blog post - Port Glasgow, on route to Wemyss Bay


Getting to Wemyss Bay:

Trains from Glasgow Central station are hourly and the journey takes about 50 minutes.

Check ScotRail 'Buy Tickets' in advance of your journey -

Ferry Wemyss Bay to Rothesay:

The journey takes only about 35 minutes and ferries depart hourly from both Rothesay and Wemyss Bay

Check Calmac timetable and website -


Thank you for reading my Scotland By Rail blog.

Please spread the word and do let me know of any of your favourite railway days out. 

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Scotland By Rail - half an hour in Port Glasgow, + video

(Next blog post - Wemyss Bay and ferry to Bute)

On my way to Wemyss Bay and the ferry to Rothesay (see future posts) I broke my journey in Port Glasgow. I wanted to see John McKenna's newly installed 33ft tall sculpture, Shipbuilders of Port Glasgow. I had half about half an hour before my next train and the walk to the shore and Shipbuilders is no more than five minutes, so fifteen minutes to enjoy looking out over the River Clyde, at the not-yet-finished ferry MV Glen Sannox, at the colossal Shipbuilders, at other public art I didn't know was there, and at a black guillemot. 

The Shipbuilders of Port Glasgow are truly outstanding. Here they are:

Shipbuilders of Port Glasgow, John McKenna

Shipbuilders of Port Glasgow, John McKenna

And here they are again in this short video / video blog / vlog I put on my:
Take your pick!

The Clyde:

The River Clyde, looking north-west towards Helensburgh, the Rosneath peninsula and beyond.
Click here for previous Helensburgh Scotland By Rail blog post.)

MV Glen Sannox, under construction..

Black guillemot. Living on the east coast I rarely see them.
The moment you get to a bit of west coast shore - there they are.
DYK they have bright red feet and inside-mouths to match?

Another shipping sculpture:

And other public art:

An excellent set of murals at Port Glasgow station:

I'll go for more than half an hour next time.

(Next blog post - Wemyss Bay and ferry to Bute)


Getting to Port Glasgow:

Port Glasgow is 20 miles west of Glasgow. The journey takes roughly half an hour from Glasgow Central station with three trains an hour on weekdays and Saturdays and two an hour on Sundays.

Check ScotRail 'Buy Tickets' in advance of your journey -


Thank you for reading my Scotland By Rail blog.

Please spread the word and do let me know of any of your favourite railway days out. 

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Scotland By Rail - Redhall Walled Garden, Edinburgh

So sorry it's taken such a time to get this online. Several other Scotland By Rail days to follow soon!

My last post was a really enjoyable and almost all traffic free walk along canal and river to Redhall Walled Garden. This one shows the garden itself. Please note these photos were all taken back in February and March.

SAMH's (Scottish Association for Mental Health) Redhall Walled Garden is "a therapeutic horticultural project based in a beautiful walled garden." It certainly is beautiful. I've only been in winter and spring when bulbs and tubers are poking their way through the leaf litter then turn by turn opening flowerheads wide. The woodland garden corner especially was an absolute dream. By now, the start of summer, the whole garden will be looking so lush.

Visitors are welcome at Redhall Walled Garden from 9am - 4pm Monday to Friday. The garden is closed at weekends apart from special open days. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates -

But I must warn you that Redhall has:


Not just a few plants. Hundreds and hundreds, in great variety and at much better than garden centre prices, and supporting a great project - proceeds going to the work of the garden. If you are, say, running a weekly art workshop there, you'll find it almost impossible not to buy another two or three to carry home on the train each day.

Here's the garden:

corkscrew hazel / twisted hazel

have you ever looked really close at hazels?

I mean really close... that pink is a female Hazel flower, only a few millimetres long!

beds waiting for spring and summer

woodland garden

woodland garden 

blue barrel planters

"I felt a soul move through me"

lungwort and snowdrops

unfinished new stained glass window for Redhall


Getting to Redhall Walled Garden:

- train to Edinburgh Haymarket then follow this lovely waterside walk -

- get train from Haymarket / Waverley to Slateford or Kingsknowe station. Each of these station is only about a 15 minute walk from the Redhall Walled Garden. Trains from these stations are usually hourly - check your journey in advance on ScotRail website or app -

- get one of various frequent buses from the city centre to anywhere you please on Lanark Road. The closest stop is called "Redhall View", only a couple of minutes walk from the garden.


Thank you for reading my Scotland By Rail blog. Please share with anyone who might be interested and let me know if there are any railway days out you recommend me to try.