Glasgow – from the eye in the sky (thanks to a windy day)
I saw a storm warning for Aberdeen, paired with a suggestion that the rest of the country was going to see an end to the rather nice weather being enjoyed for October. Thursday did look a bit blustery in the morning, but not too bad, and I carried on and headed out for a longish walk into Glasgow.
This turned out to be a mistake.
Two hours into this walk I had barely made an hour’s normal progress, and had gone into The Forge for a respite from the wind (no rain, just wind). The wind had just got wilder and wilder after I left home, and after two hours I was actually feeling ill from battling against it, and even after diving into The Forge for a while, when I left it was even worse, and I was having to lean into it just to make progress. Five minutes after restarting my walk, I decided it was madness to carry on, as it would have taken almost two more hours to reach Glasgow, as it was not letting up. I’ve been out for a long walk on a windy day… but this was getting ridiculous, and definitely no longer fun.
Being a Thursday, the Forge Market was open, so a diversion there would mean the walk was not a complete loss.
There’s a little stall there with second-hand books, which sometimes has local books, and this chance visit turned out to be a good one.
I picked up the book shown below, ‘Glasgow – from the eye in the sky‘, which is not one of the best (I’m biased here, as I hate Radio Clyde), but contains some great aerial images of the city.
It’s timing is (was) excellent, being published in 1988 means it has images from a period of change, and shows parts of the city no longer existing today, others which were new at the time (27 years ago at the time of writing this post), and that year was the year of the Glasgow Garden Festival.
The ‘eye in the sky’ refers to a helicopter that flew over Glasgow every morning and reported on the state of traffic around the city for the radio.
The book tries to give a bigger picture of the city by having not only the aerial shots, but pics taken on the ground, together with commentary describing what was happening, and tries hard to sing the city’s praises, as it transformed from being ‘No Mean City‘ to ‘Glasgow Smiles Better‘.
My interest, however, is only of the record of the time, not the commentary or sales pitch it tries to make.
The aerial pics are the gems in its content, and pleasingly large, covering double page spreads with no borders.
While it’s true that we can have Google Earth and its imitators provide similar aerial imagery online (and archived versions too), and it is great that it can be panned and zoomed, these shots are an alternative, oblique view from the helicopter. Most of the online aerial images tend to be from directly overhead, which means they generally miss the oblique detail. As you can see from the cover shot, this means you not only get to see the roofs of the many building, but also their sides.
So, while the wind ruined my day in one sense, it did mean I spotted a gem I’d probably have missed otherwise.
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