Go North my son to Glasgow n’all that : 10 things you didn’t know!

The amazing Red Hot Chilli pipers doing their stuff in Glasgow. Photo@ Chris James.
The amazing Red Hot Chilli pipers doing their stuff in Glasgow but who can tell me what is under their kilts?! Photo@ Chris James.

As you know the recent Commonwealth Games took place in Glasgow. For those who don’t know. It’s in Scotland laddie!

I’m from Manchester in the North-West of England but I do love Scotland. I’ve been many times and in fact, I was in Scotland only last October where I introduced you to picking a budget hotel in Edinburgh, The Bloody Streets of Scotland, Haggis, Tatties & Neeps, Whisky Tasting in the Highlands, Fishing in Inverness, and Cruising on a search for Loch Ness!

I would have loved to join in the Commonwealth Games but I had other plans….!

People make Glasgow real!
People make Glasgow real. At niiiiight!

Anyway, Glasgow.

Glasgow had a reputation of being enormously gritty, industrial, poor, and grey, but in the last 10 years has really cleaned up its act as in 2012, Glasgow was named one of Britain’s cities “on the rise.”

In 2013, Glasgow was also named one of the top UK destinations in the 2013 Travellers’ Choice Destination Awards, and is now one of Europe’s most vibrant, dynamic, and stylish cities.

Can you believe that this is Glasgow? How quaint!
Can you believe that this is Glasgow?
How quaint!

I’m not even going to ask but if you’re ever going to Glasgow, you’ve got to watch the brilliant cult film Trainspotting directed by Danny Boyle and that put Ewan McGregor (He is perhaps best known for his roles as heroin addict Mark Renton in the drama Trainspotting (1996), Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999–2005), and the poet Christian in the musical film Moulin Rouge! (2001). The film that also put Johnny. L. Miller who played Simon Williamson in Trainspotting (1996), was in Mansfield Park (1999) among other excellent productions, and is now making waves across the pond as Sherlock Holmes in the American CBS crime drama Elementary. I’ve seen it and for what it is, it isn’t bad.

Also starring the magnificent dramatist, Robert Carlyle in Trainspotting (1996), The Full Monty (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Angela’s Ashes (1999), The 51st State (2001), and 28 Weeks Later (2007), and also the lovely Kelly Macdonald known for her role in the independent film Trainspotting and mainstream releases such as Nanny McPhee, Gosford Park, Intermission, No Country for Old Men, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and Brave. On television, she is known for her roles in Boardwalk Empire.

Trainspotting: the cult movie by Danny Boyle.
Trainspotting: the cult movie by Danny Boyle.


  • Despite being set in Edinburgh, almost all of the independent cult film Trainspotting, was shot in Glasgow, apart from the opening scenes, which were shot in Edinburgh, and the final scenes which were shot in London.
  • Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city with a population of around 600,000 people.
  • The name ‘Glasgow’ is derived from a Gaelic phrase meaning ‘green valley’ or ‘dear green place’.
  • Glasgow, was founded in the 6th century and has a history stretching back to earliest times in which Celtic druids were among the first identifiable religious tribes to inhabit the area.
  • January 13th is the feast day of St Mungo, the founder and patron saint of Glasgow who, died roughly 1,400 years ago.
  • Football legend Sir Alex Ferguson, Comedian Billy Connolly, Midge Ure, the bands: Primal Scream, Texas, Simple Minds, Travis, Wet Wet Wet, John Barrowman (Torchwood), Gerald Butler (300), Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting), Robbie Coltrane (Cracker & Hagrid in Harry Potter), James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland), John Logie Baird (inventor of the television), Sir Thomas Lipton (tea), Jim Dunlop (Dunlop), Scrooge McDuck (Disney), and Merlin (of King Arthur), were all born in Glasgow.
  • The phrase ‘Glasgow kiss’ is given in the Oxford Dictionary to mean a headbutt, and was first used in 1982…..
  • Glasgow’s underground railway system is the only one in Scotland, and the 3rd oldest in the world! It is sometimes nicknamed Clockwork Orange, because of the colour of the trains.
  • There are over 20 towns named Glasgow in the US, as well as several in Canada, including New Glasgow. Glasgow is also twinned with several cities, including Jerusalem, Marseilles and Havana.
  •  Johnny. L. Miller, is the ex and first husband of Angelina Jolie (cheeky fellow, but phwrooah. She’s one hot sexy babe)?!
Athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, running for their country.
Athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, running for their country.

In 2014, Scotland will welcome the world with three (3) fantastic events: Glasgow 2014 via the Commonwealth Games, the year-long Home-Coming celebrations, and the Ryder Cup.

The Commonwealth Games will be the biggest sporting occasion in Scottish history, taking place in Glasgow but placing Scotland on a global stage, on not only about sport, but even whether the Scottish people choose to remain in the United Kingdom of four (4) nations rather than of three (3), by way of referendum.


Well, The Commonwealth is a collection of ex-British colonies and protectorates consisting of a unique family of developed and developing nations, a voluntary association of independent sovereign states spread from Africa to Asia, from the Pacific shores to the Caribbean. Members of the Commonwealth family make up to 2 billion people, which is 30% of the world’s population, and consist of many faiths, races, languages and cultures.

The Commonwealth Festival Logo.
The Commonwealth Festival Logo.


The Commonwealth Games is a unique, international, multi-sport event, which takes place every four (4) years.

In 2014, the Commonwealth Games took place between July 23rd to August 3rd, and as the XX Commonwealth Games involved:

71 teams of athletes.

17 sport events.

11 days.

250 medal events.

4,500 athletes.

And sold over 1,000,000 tickets


Although there are 53 Commonwealth countries, there are 71 Commonwealth Games Associations (CGA),  that can enter a team in the Commonwealth Games. This is because some Commonwealth countries have more than one CGA. An example of this is Great Britain or in this case, the United Kingdom, which although a single Commonwealth country, has seven CGAs – England, Scotland, Wales, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, and Northern Ireland,  all compete in the Games as separate nations.

The gorgeous John Barrowman aka Captain Jack Harkness of the fantastic BBC Dr. Who production - Torchwood.
The gorgeous John Barrowman aka Captain Jack Harkness of the fantastic BBC Dr. Who spin-off production – Torchwood, at the Commonwealth Opening Ceremony.

The Opening Ceremony for the XX Commonwealth Games also known as The Friendly Games, was a stomping, colourful, and joyous event, that kick-started the Games with energy characteristic of the host nation. It show-cased Scotland’s rich culture, and showed just why Glasgow is UNESCO City of Music with performances by Rod Stewart, John Barrowman, Susan Boyle, and hundreds of city singers and dancers.

Beginning with some showbiz sparkle from actor, singer and Broadway star John Barrowman, the Opening Ceremony was all about the kilts and tartan, with lots of handsome men sporting the traditional Scottish dress and even a giant kilt on stage!

The Highland Dancing Ceilidh competition with bright tartans, and hopping on one foot in Scotland!
The Highland Dancing Ceilidh competition with bright tartans, and hopping on one foot in Scotland!

You can’t have a Scottish party without bagpipes, and there were plenty of them at the ceremony! Glasgow is host to the World Pipe Band Championships in August which is a must-visit event for music-lovers.

Glasgow itself is a must-visit city for music-lovers, and was granted UNESCO status as a City of Music in recognition of this. If you’re in town in January, Celtic Connections is one of the biggest celebrations of folk music in the world, taking over iconic venues in the city for a month of musical collaborations between Scottish and international artists. 2100 artists, 300 events, and 20 venues, make it one of the biggest and best music events.

Small talk and playing the bagpipes at the Highland Games.
Small talk and playing the bagpipes at the Highland Games.

Nessie made a star appearance on the stage as well as the hundreds of (human) performers – and apparently, really is as big as is suspected!

To be in with a chance of seeing the famous monster for real, head to Loch Ness, in the Scottish Highlands, which guarantees beautiful views over the lake, or ‘loch’ and if you don’t get to see Nessie, you’ll see plenty of gorgeous Highland ‘coos’ (cows) instead!

Scottish ponies of Scotland!
Scottish ponies of Scotland! They aren’t Nessie but I thought they were cute anyway!

We went to see Nessie last year, and did we find her?

Of course we did!

The "queen" in Shanghai.
The “queen” in Shanghai.

Of course The Queen opened the Commonwealth Games, reading the message she placed inside the Baton before its epic world trip.

The Queen’s affinity and relationship to Scotland is well-known, as her favourite home Balmoral Castle, is where she traditionally spends her summer.

Visitors can now explore the castle gardens, open from April until the end of July, and even rent a holiday cottage on the grounds. Balmoral is in Aberdeenshire in North East Scotland, roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes’ drive from the city of Aberdeen.

When we went to Edinburgh last year, we also visited the Palace of Holyroodhouse which is The Queen’s official Scottish residence, and well worth a visit.

A beautiful Scottish Terrier that would break your heart!  Photo@ petguide.com
A beautiful Scottish Terrier that would break your heart!
Photo@ petguide.com

And finally, the Scottish Terrier lovingly known as a Scottie.

Who could resist its charm? So cute, so warm, so fluffy!!

There were 41 canine stars who led in the athletes’ teams, with thirty (30) getting two turns each in the spotlight.

Salt of the earth Scottish folk.
Salt of the earth Scottish folk.

The Scottish people are known as proud, warm-hearted, give-it-to-you-straight-no-messing-about type of people, and Scotland is known for breath-taking scenery, warm hospitality, wholesome food and drink, dramatic history, an inspiring destination, a vibrant, contemporary culture, and oh, yes. The best Indian curry outside of India!

So what are you waiting for?

“Come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!

Talking of freedom, Thursday 18th September, 2014 sees a nation vote on Scottish Independence. In short, whether the Scottish people wish to stay a member of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

I love Scotland and as I’ve already told you above, I’ve been to many parts of Scotland, like the Highlands, the Isle of Skye, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, and Edinburgh of course.

I love Britain and I love England. England is my country but I still think that the Scottish people should do what’s right for them, as they do have a point. England is far away and England seems to be making all the decisions. Let’s not even talk about Wales! Since, we are a civilized nation and a democracy, the people. The Scottish people, have to make their own decisions.

To add to that, I think certain people in responsible, official positions, acted like spoilt children getting their toys taken away, when they threatened to take the pound away from Scotland, now making the issue of Independence more complicated than it should have been.

I don’t believe that the original intention was to abandon Britain altogether. I think the issue is that of self-governing, complete independence, and living their life, their way.

Time will tell. So enough of the politics!

Healthy outdoor Scots doing the Nokia Coast to Coast Scotland's latest multi-sport challenge.  Gosh! I'm tired just looking at 'em! Photos@ Rebecca Lee
Healthy outdoor Scots doing the Nokia Coast to Coast Scotland’s latest multi-sport challenge.
Gosh! I’m tired just looking at ’em!
Photos@ Rebecca Lee

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my very own!

Next week, some of my surprises will be revealed. Not all. I’ve got to keep the punters wanting more LOL!

Watch this space!

It's Me! Don't I look fabulous?
It’s Me! Don’t I look fabulous?

Have you been to Glasgow? Have you been to Scotland? Do you think Scotland should leave the United Kingdom?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post.

Share it!

Tweet it!
Like it!