#Scotland 2015 Day 10 – Day trip to Dundee

#Scotland 2015 – Sept 20, 2015

Today we were off to Dundee to wander the streets and see the locations my crime-writer friend, Chris Longmuir, used in her novels.

We decided to take the 10:34 train from Broughty Ferry into Dundee so we would have the entire day to see and do things. The only train that stops there on the return trip leaves Dundee at 17:22 so we’d have plenty of time and not feel rushed.

The station in Broughty Ferry is unmanned and not even a machine to buy your tickets before boarding the train. This meant having to purchase them after we got on. We chose the last carriage because that’s usually where the conductor starts coming through to sell tickets. And since you need your ticket to get out of the station, the idea (while somewhat appealing) to ride for free doesn’t work. Since we were only going one stop, it made no sense to try to find a seat so we stood. The conductor started toward the front end of the carriage then stopped, turned and headed back the other way. Hubby followed him and in so doing, found Chris. What were the chances of the three of us meeting on the train instead of trying to find each other somewhere in the station?

Our first stop was at the RRS Discovery. Being Sunday, Discovery Point didn’t open until 11:00 so we had some time to kill before we could purchase our tickets and tour the ship. RRS Discovery is mentioned in Chapter 1 of Night Watcher.

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Warning sign on fence by the RRS Discovery

I’m not sure exactly where the underwater hazards are because there was no water. RRS Discovery was in drydock!

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RRS Discovery

Once Discovery Point opened, we went in and bought our tickets. We bought the pass that would also give us access to Verdant Works (a former jute mill turned museum).

Before we toured the indoor exhibits, we found a table in the cafe where we could make the exchange… sounds sinister doesn’t it? Not really, I bought print copies of Chris’s books and she’d brought them with her. I got the books, she got the money and hubby got to carry the books in our ‘jute’ Aberdeen bag.

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Chris ‘steering’ the ship
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Don at the wheel
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Dundee Law in the distance from the RRS Discovery

We walked up to the Overgate Shopping Centre where scenes in Chapter 1 of Missing Believed Dead take place.

Before we went inside, we saw the domed building Chris used in Night Watcher and the close across the street that graces the cover of the same book.

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The domed building on the right is used in Night Watcher

I’m not sure who dressed the penguins but it looks like a wedding and bridesmaid dresses. Apparently, this happens frequently and their attire chances.

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The penguins at Steeple Church

Once inside the Overgate, our first order of business was to find the EE store. I had bought a pay as you go sim card that came with what I was led to believe, a prepaid top up card when we were in Huntly for my unlocked iPhone but could never get the top up card to work. I had followed all the instructions from the packaging and on their website. Come to find out, the £10.00 I paid was only for the sim card and I had to pay another £10.00 to be able to use the card to top up the phone. That wasn’t how it was explained in the shop where I bought it so needless to say, I wasn’t best pleased. At least the kid working in the EE store was helpful but the whole experience left a bad taste.

We finished our tour of the shopping centre and headed off to the Verdant Works. In The Death Game, Kirsty comes here to see her father who worked at the mill.

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Don and Chris near Verdant Works
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Verdant Works

I was amazed at how soft the jute fibres felt. At one of the displays in the museum, you could feel the softened and combed strands. I thought I was stroking hair!

Chris told us that she worked in one of the jute mills for a time operating a spinning machine. She explained what you had to do if one of the strands broke to us and the interpreter working in this area.

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Spinning machine
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Sheriff Court

We walked by the Sheriff Court and the police station tucked away behind and made our way to The Howff – a cemetery that was used from 1564-1857. I love a walk through a graveyard and the older the better. This fit that bill perfectly.

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Path through the Howff
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The monument featured in The Death Game

You can get a feel for Chris’s historic crime novel, The Death Game, from the prologue.

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Interesting stone in the Howff

The McManus Galleries were nearby so we wandered through the various galleries. The Making of Modern Dundee, Dundee and the World, and the Pictish sculptured stones were my favourites.

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The McManus Galleries
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Pictish stone on display at the McManus
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Pictish stone on display at the McManus
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Pictish stone on display at the McManus

We made a stop at Waterstone’s where I picked up a novel by another one of my favourite crime novelists and one I’d not heard of before returning to the Overgate with a stop for photos at the Dragon Sculpture

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The Dragon Sculpture

and further up the High Street with Desparate Dan.

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Desperate Dan

There were demonstrations going on in the City Square so we went over. One tent was set up with Raspberry Pi computers connected to weather stations. We had to try it out. Another was reading a weather forecast in front of the green screen which was recorded for the readers but those watching could see it live. It was primarily kids doing this and their performances were priceless.

On the other side of the square, a tent was set up with a display of computers over the years. Two of the ones that stood out to me were the Commodore 64 and the Commodore PET.

In another tent, you could get your photo taken with a Dalek but we didn’t bother, although I did get a photo of said Dalek before we moved on.

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A Dalek

By now it was time to walk back to the railway station. On the return trip, we were able to get three seats together so it was nice to be able to chat about the day before having to say our goodbyes at the Broughty Ferry Station.

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