When the weather is bad in Edinburgh it’s normally not advisable to head west, as it’s invariably worse there. But that’s what we did today, as it was our last chance to see Glasgow transformed into Philadelphia for the shooting of Brad Pitt’s new film World War Z.
Surprisingly the weather got better after we passed through a torrential downpour at Shotts, and while it was still a chilly 11 degrees when we arrived in Glasgow, at least it wasn’t raining or too windy.
We continued through Glasgow and over the Clyde, branching off the M8 after the Kingston Bridge and onto the M77, before heading into Pollok in search of Crookston Castle.
Crookston Castle occupies the top of a natural hill which seems to have been fortified since ancient times. In the 12th century a wooden castle was built here by a Norman knight, Sir Robert de Croc, whose name is preserved in the name of Crookston.
In the 14th century Crookston was bought by the Stewart family, and around 1400 they built the stone castle which can be seen today. It took a rather unusual form, having a main central square tower at each corner of which was a taller square tower. The only tower still standing to its full height is the north-east one, and while the south-east tower’s footings are still visible, the north-west and south-west towers were destroyed in 1489 by Mons Meg and never rebuilt.
The castle is protected not only by the steep sides of the hill on which it stands, but also by a ditch and bank which pre-date the stone castle.
From Crookston we headed south-east to the edge of Newton Mearns, where Mearns Castle is located. Hidden away in a slightly odd position behind Mearns Castle High School, Mearns Castle is a large stone tower, built in 1449 by Herbert Maxwell, the 1st Lord Maxwell.
Standing on top of a steep-sided small knoll, it was once defended by a courtyard wall, gatehouse, drawbridge and moat, but all these features have long since been removed. It was restored in 1970, and connected to a newly-built circular, metal-clad church the following year.
The tower consists of four storeys, and stands to a height of some 12 metres.
Along the top of the wall are the original stone corbels, which probably would have carried a parapet.
Below a window on the top floor of the tower at the north-east corner are two corbels, suggesting some kind of balcony or platform.
From Mearns Castle we drove back into the centre of Glasgow, parked at the Buchanan Galleries, and walked to George Square. There was no filming going on while we were here, but lots of American vehicles were parked around the streets off George Square, and there were American signs and traffic lights everywhere. The effect was really quite convincing.