THE HILL HOUSE, UPPER COLQUHOUN STREET
The Hill House sits at the end of what seems like an endless series of roomy
tree-lined avenues, and on what one might indeed term a hill above Helensburgh. It is a
journey worth making, and not just for the apple trees in the garden. If
you are interested in Charles Rennie Mackintosh then this may be a house
you will wish to visit. In fact, even if you're not interested in our
Chuck you may still wish to pay it a visit. It's always nice looking
around other people's houses, and this one is going to be a good bit
different to anything else you have ever seen. It was commissioned in
1902 by publisher Walter Blackie, and Chuck - and his wife Margaret -
designed everything, both the house itself and the interior fixtures and
fittings. If you visit in autumn, remember to wear a jacket with deep
enough pockets to hold a good selection of apples.
SO, WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO IN HELENSBURGH? EM... NOT A LOT. BUT AS I
BELIEVE I HAVE SAID BEFORE, NOT HAVING A LOT TO DO IS NO BAD THING.
BECAUSE WHAT IT REALLY MEANS IS YOU CAN AMBLE BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS
ALONG THE TOWN'S PROMENADE, PAUSING NOW AND THEN TO BREATHE BRACING SEA
ODOURS AND GAZE THOUGHTFULLY OUT TOWARDS THE WATERS OF THE FIRTH OF
CLYDE WHILE WONDERING WHAT ON EARTH YOU'RE DOING HERE.
DOESN'T FEEL AS EXCITING AS, SAY,
. INDEED IT POSSESSES A
TIMELESS RUNDOWN AIR WHERE IT SEEMS THAT EVERYONE IS JUST SITTING OR
AROUND AND NO ONE REALLY CARES ABOUT ANYTHING. AND THE LATE EIGHTEENTH
OR EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY PLANNED RECTANGULAR LAYOUT OF ITS STREETS IS
JUST TOO ORDERED. IT LACKS INSPIRATION, AND CRIES OUT FOR A JAUNTY ROAD
ANGLE HERE OR A CURVING WYND THERE.
IF YOU GET FED UP, OR
EVEN BORED, SAUNTERING HERE AND THERE DESPERATELY SEEKING SOMETHING THAT
IS NOT ANOTHER WIDE STRAIGHT AVENUE, YOU MAY CATCH A FERRY TO KILCREGGAN, WHICH IS ANOTHER LAZY WEE PLACE WITH NOT A GREAT DEAL BUT A
NICE HOTEL AND WONDERFUL VIEWS. IT'S A SHORT JOURNEY ON THE FERRY -
TAKING JUST 25 OR 30 MINUTES - BUT IT IS A JOURNEY THAT OFFERS THE MAGIC
OF THE CLYDE COAST WITH ALL ITS HIGGLEDY-PIGGLEDY HEAVEN.