100 Weeks of Scotland: The many sides of Dundee

DESPITE growing up in Perth, only twenty miles along the River Tay from Dundee, I had barely ever spent any time in the city. I had heard a lot about Dundee’s regeneration and wanted to finally spend head to it and see what the fuss was all about.

Dundee from the Law. Picture: Alan McCredie

Week 73

I was completely blown away by the architecture and buildings – I had no idea whatsoever of the diversity that awaited me and I could easily have spent a lot longer than I did wandering the streets of this hard, but welcoming city. It was this side of Dundee, the faded buildings and factories and mills that really excited me. Regeneration is fine, I just find it a lot less interesting to photograph.

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My first image is taken from the top of Dundee Law, looking south at the city as it nestles between its two great bridges; the road and the rail, with Fife rolling off into the distance in the fragile spring warmth.

The few times I have visited Dundee have usually been to the football grounds and I have always found it strange that in a large city, the two main football teams (and huge rivals) should have their grounds located on the same street. The second image shows their proximity to each other with Dens Park, the home of Dundee FC in the foreground, while a little bit further down the road is Tannadice, the home ground of Dundee United.

Dundee has a very rich industrial background, mostly in jute, and many of the old industrial buildings, although looking a bit worse for wear, remain. I stumbled upon the Dens Street Market after becoming hopelessly lost trying to find the Tay Bridge. As soon as I drove past the building the car brakes were slammed on and the camera taken out.

Next up are two images showing the more modern side to the city. The brutalism of the multi-story car park is a testament to what I quickly discovered about Dundee – it is somewhere with many carparks and almost no on-street parking at all – hence the free carpark at Lidl and the skateboarders outside the store.

As I wandered I passed by the clearly closed premises of Robertson’s Furniture Store and took an instant liking to this slightly sorry looking building, which has been unoccupied since 2011. I loved the look of the building despite, or actually because of, it appearing a bit ragged round the edges. I liked it so much I included two images of it this week. I also included a shot of another magnificent old building, again no longer used for its intended purpose, the main Post Office on Meadowside.

Of course no visit to Dundee is complete without a nod to its most loved export – the comics produced by DC Thomson, most notably The Beano and The Dandy. As well as several statues of some of the characters from the comic, there has recently been the addition of Bash Street in a tribute to the ever-mischievous Bash Street Kids. It was quiet the day I went down Bash Street although I kept expecting to come under heavy assault from peashooters and mud pies.

I could have spent a lot more time in this incredibly interesting city, and will be back soon to explore its many nooks and its many crannies. It’s definitely worth a visit, and one I should have done properly years ago.

• Alan McCredie began the ‘100 weeks of Scotland’ website in October last year, and it will conclude in Autumn 2014. McCredie’s goal is to chronicle two years of Scottish life in the run-up to the independence referendum.

Alan says ‘one hundred weeks...’ is intended to show all sides of the country over the next two years. On the site, he says: “Whatever the result of the vote Scotland will be a different country afterward. These images will show a snapshot of the country in the run up to the referendum.

“The photos will be of all aspects of Scottish culture - politics, art, social issues, sport and anything else that catches the eye.”

Follow the project at 100weeksofscotland.com. You can also follow Alan on Twitter @alanmccredie.

• All pictures (c) Alan McCredie/100 weeks of Scotland