Having had a fantastic experience at Hinterland last year, I was keen to go back to the modernist masterpiece, St Peter’s Seminary at Cardross at the earliest opportunity, preferably without trespassing.

As part of the Doors Open Days 2017 that chance came much sooner than expected!
#DODSCOT is a free festival that celebrates Scotland’s heritage and built environment, opening doors across the country in the month of September each year.

The Doors Open Day had a lot to live up to after Hinterland, but I’m pleased to say it did not disappoint. First and foremost it was a completely different experience with the only similarities being the level of organisation and the building itself.

Having applied for my tickets as soon at the clock struck 10:30 on 29th August I had quite a wait until the visit on 23rd September. I was one of the fortunate ones…the tickets were snapped up very quickly!

Unlike the Hinterland experience, we walked from the railway station at Cardross to the abandoned Seminary.
I guess this was the nearest suitable location to park and meet, but the 25 minute walk only served to heighten my excitement and allowed me to understand more about the area surrounding St Peter’s.

We walked as a group through the village and, on entry into the Seminary, we were initially guided by the friendly stewards and, after a short while, were allowed free rein to explore and take photographs with the dangerous areas having been sealed off and carefully monitored by the organisers.

Image of book cover St Peter's Cardross.

It was a far less structured visit than Hinterland but arguably better due to its informal nature and much more rewarding for me as a photographer. Because of the well thought out group size, I managed to avoid including the other guests in almost all my images which for me was very satisfying. I have to say that the Hinterland light and music show had created a great atmosphere but somehow the brutal architecture and decay were far more obvious this time in the harsh light of day.

As with my last visit I walked away with more questions than answers:
The student priests that occupied the the small, damp bedrooms above the chapel, the drug addicts in rehab, the taggers and Graffiti artists, the homeless who sought shelter and the kids who played in the woods nearby…where are they now? Are they still here? It certainly feels like they are!

What will the new visitor attraction look like? Will this place still scare the living daylights out of me when I visit?

Questions that cannot be answered right now…but that’s no bad thing.

So I will stop writing and allow you to immerse yourself in the images I created during my visit. Hope you like them? Please share the page if you do!


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