Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Sad to say Glasgow has a problem, and the media have noticed

One of the more light-hearted themes I sometimes run in this Blog is ‘Missed me’, which generally features accident, or similar, sites I come across as I change the routes I walk. As I return to each route after a few weeks, it’s usually obvious that there’s been a crash or some sort of traumatic event where I would have been had I been on the ‘old’ route. At least two I can recall recently involved shots fired at houses, but at least most of those occurred at times when I’d have been nowhere near the scene even if had been on those routes.

But I also keep a list of incidents bookmarked if they happen on any of my routes, in case I’m stuck for something to write about. Thankfully, more normal items of interest keep that list unused, but in recent weeks it has become apparent that there’s been a real surge in violent incidents, and quite a number of stabbings.

Some might think something is going on.

Some do!

Apart from one or two people I worked with, I’ve never really knowingly been close to anyone from Glasgow’s underworld or organised criminal side. Although I’ve also come to realise (as a result of digging around for goodies for SeSco) that I’ve been a lot closer to them than I might have imagined.

But it’s not something I have any interest in, and deliberately steer clear of.

The media can take their chances with that, they at least get paid to do that.

It’s rather sad that we seem to be going back to Glasgow being a city that can generate headlines such as this, as seen in The Observer section of The Guardian:

Glasgow’s dark legacy returns as gangland feuds erupt in public killings

It’s s shame that we’ve come so far in improving the city over a number of years, only to be dragged back into the gutter in a matter of weeks.

It’s dangerous out there… Take this:

Police Support Unit

Police Support Unit

Inspired by:

Take This

Take This

July 23, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This is your street. Not your personal bin.

It looks as if Glasgow is having another go at its litter louts with a new campaign.

Wandering around various burbs, I’ve come across the following sign placed high on many lampposts:

Litter Campaign Sign Not Your Personal Bin

Litter Campaign Sign Not Your Personal Bin

While I like the sentiment, I suspect the people who will really like it are the residents who are fed up with those who litter, while those who litter will just laugh at it, and pay absolutely no attention whatsoever.

While I was raised not to drop litter, and don’t – ever – anything goes in my pocket or a bag to be disposed of later, I see very few children who have been taught not to litter. And they become the adults that also have no care regarding litter.

It’s sad to walk along the street, especially with shops, and watch the behaviour of people as they leave shops.

Those leaving convenience stores, newsagents, and fish & chip shops are amongst the worst offenders.

Often unwrapping cigarette packets, the wrapping is discarded instantly without a second thought.

But the saddest sight is that of the kids, especially the smallest ones, as they come out with packets of sweets or similar treats, and these are already being opened and unwrapped as they leave the shop, and you can see they have NEVER been taught not to litter, as the wrappers are dropped as soon as they come off, without as much as moment’s thought about what they are doing. They don’t even know they are littering. Putting the wrappers in their pocket does not even occur to them.

And if the council, a community worker, or police officer DARES to pull anyone up, or issue a fine?

THEY are slated as the ‘Bad Guys’, unreasonable and oppressive, just out to make money and pick on people.

If they wanted to do that (make money), they’d be better to collect all the discarded McDonald’s packaging that fills our streets (buyers of this muck are amongst the worst, just opening their car doors after visiting a drive-through, and dropping the lot on the road), return it to source and charge them for each piece of branded litter they return.

I can dream.

July 23, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Appeal, council, photography | , , , | 1 Comment

Fort William sculpture will recall the Ford Model T climb of Ben Nevis

One of the things which has always intrigued me is an event I am reminded of whenever I open a number of the books I have collected regarding the history of motoring in Scotland – the time a Model T was driven to the top of Ben Nevis.

The stunt took place in 1911 (repeated in 1928) and was carried out by Henry Alexander Jr, the son of Scotland’s first Ford dealer, who drove the Model T up and down the mountain as a publicity stunt to show the superiority of the mass-produced American car in comparison to hand-crafted British cars.

The attempt was not simply a case of turning up at the foot of mountain one day, and heading for summit, but was carefully prepared for.

It took six weeks to prepare the route for the challenge, with workers laying a timber path along the route to the summit, and five days to complete the trip, during which the car would frequently sink axle-deep into the boggy ground and have to be pulled out by rope. It seems that some obstacles were dynamited to clear them from the path. A newspaper report from the time said that one wrong turn of the wheel could have resulted in a fall that would have destroyed the car and killed the driver.

See film of the climb: Lost film of Ford Model T on Ben Nevis found

The 5-minute film is not embeddable, but can be seen here, on the BFI site: Motoring Ben Nevis 1911

It’s intriguing to note that, contrary to modern expectations where large tyres (or even tracks) are used to reduce loading and sinking into soft ground, the Model T’s skinny wheels and tyres actually worked with the car’s high ground clearance by allowing it to sink into muddy or soft rutted ground and gain traction at the bottom of the rut, where the ground was still relatively firm, as it not been churned up.

Back in 2015, an organisation called Ben Nevis Bronze Ford Committee began raising £86,000 to pay for a full-size bronze sculpture of the 1911 Model T, to be installed in Fort William.

Funding is now in place to have the sculpture made in Edinburgh, cast at the Powderhall Bronze Foundry, and installed in Fort William’s Cameron Square next May.

Via: Ben Nevis Ford Model T sculpture to be made

The actual climb took place between May 9 and 13 of 1911 – with plenty of snow still in evidence.

Ben Nevis Model T

Ben Nevis Model T – pic via BBC News

July 22, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Inland boatyard found in Westburn

I find some odd things lying around – this time, dead boats in Westburn.

The last time I saw anything like this was in Shettleston, where somebody with a bit of fenced off spare ground stores assorted ruined cars, but on one occasion picked up half-a-dozen or so various small speedboats. Not fast ones, just small craft with cabins, and better than rowing boats. They disappeared after a year or two.

Those boats were ‘Gin Palaces’ compared to the ones I spotted in the back lot of factory in Westburn.

These have definitely seen better days, and aren’t likely to be snapped up by anyone out for a quick bargain.

I actually thought it was just one boat there, but as I walked further along the road and got a better view, realised that two boats had been dumped there.

I doubt these are going to be restored any day soon, or see water – other than rain – again.

Westburn Derelict Boats

Westburn Derelict Boats

July 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography | , , | 1 Comment

Another wrong assumption – this time, memorial benches

It’s funny just how often an assumption can be wrong.

I first saw these benches near the Miner’s Memorial in Cambuslang some time ago, and noticed them again under the slightly odd (for me at least) conditions of daylight. I’m usually not around here until it’s dark, so don’t usually get to see them properly, or get a decent pic. Flash doesn’t work well on gloss black painted surfaces, and the same holds true for trying to take a ‘low-light’ pic.

I quite like them, given that recall events not to be forgotten, but I was a little disappointed (in my assumption, not the benches) to find they are standard pattern items. I had wrongly assumed they were a one-off commission for use at this memorial, but having shared memorial pics with others, it seems that they can be found across the land.

As I say, assumptions can get you into trouble (unless made carefully).

Memorial Benches

Memorial Benches

There was one interesting point – although not obvious in the above pic (thanks to the reflected glare on the flat metal seat backs), the red-painted floral tributes are not always so painted, and others I have seen have had the benches finished all black, with no features picked out.

Update

I passed on a better day, and managed a better pic – you can actually see a hint of colour (and, in the first pic above, see how my poor camera no longer shows ‘sharp’ detail in the right half of a wide-angle shot):

Memorial Bench

Memorial Bench (Revisited)

I have to take pics like this with full zoom to have the whole frame in focus. If you think the first pic above looks out of focus down the right-hand side, it’s NOT your eyes (or my carelessness), it really is out of focus after a recent mishap trashed the linearity of this camera’s focussing system at wide settings.

I had to stand back in Carmyle to take the second one!

(Just kidding – I only had to stand in the road and hope nobody wanted to run ‘The idiot with the camera’ over.)

July 20, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The replacement we need for Dali’s iconic work, Christ of St John of the Cross

It’s already well known that Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross is set to leave Kelvingrove and begin a series of world tours from September 2017 will see the painting go on loan to the Royal Academy of Arts in London, returning in summer 2018: Salvador Dali painting to leave Glasgow on loan

I don’t think I saw any mention of what will take its place, but I’m guessing a copy will take its place, to mitigate some of the disappointment visitors may suffer.

However…

Given that Dali was the creator of the original, perhaps this find from the interwebs might suggest a possible alternative, which would also pay tribute, or ‘cat tax’ to our feline overlords:

Dali Melting Cat

Dali Melting Cat

July 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Glasgow’s deadly east end, not even a Smurf is safe

Some say…

Glasgow is a violent city, and the east end is not somewhere to be after dark, Parkhead being no exception.

In fact, I was appalled to learn that the manager of a small estate agents in Shettleston insisted on having his shop closed and staff on their way home before 6 pm every evening, in the belief that the place turned into some sort of ‘battle zone’ not long after that hour passed, when open gang warfare would break out on the streets, and the locals cowered in their homes waiting for the dawn.

(True story, revealed when the owner – from the affluent suburb of Newton Mearns – would apparently not even allow a shopfitter I knew to work on upgrading the premises after hours to avoid disrupting the business – he preferred just to close down for a week and have the work done during the day.)

It’s all lies, of course.

However, I was shocked to see that not even an innocent little Smurf was safe in the area.

Send the children to bed now, or at least cover their eyes, so they are spared the sight of this unfortunate Smurf I found beaten to a pulp, and left for dead in a street corner near Parkhead Cross.

I’m pretty sure it’s dead.

Dead Smurf

Dead Smurf

July 19, 2017 Posted by | Blogroll, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Our Flickr pool just passed 10,000 pics contributed (but not with this one)

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has been kind enough to take the time to contribute pics to the Secret Scotland pool in Flickr.

I honestly have no idea if making it to 10,000 is good or bad, and had no preconceived ideas or targets when I set it up – it was just something groups had, so I created it, and to be honest, neglected it.

To be a bit fairer and accurate, I left it alone to see what happened with it, and what might need tweaked, but with a steady trickle of fascinating pics from around the country dripping in all on their own, I never really saw any need to do anything, on the basis of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

I thought it might bomb after a while, since I used to get around lots of interesting places, but this perk came to an end just as the group was established and I shifted up from toy digital cameras to proper digital cameras (great timing – NOT!) and left film behind. With nothing worthwhile, I almost gave up on the pool almost as soon as I created it.

But I guess I didn’t realise how things worked, and now see that provided there’s a half decent reason for a pool, interested contributors will support it.

So, once again, thanks to all.

I’m pretty sure the pic below is the 10.000th, but I’ve notice that uploaded pics can appear inconsistently, so I could be wrong. However, it was the 10,000th at the moment I looked and counted.

William Cordiner –  Peterhead Harbour – The boatlift at Peterhead, early on a calm spring morning

Sad to say, this image has full copyright and has had sharing disabled when I checked the source, so I’m not free to re-use (not quickly at least, as needed for this post).

But I’m not going to be thwarted…

So here is a shared pic of the harbour which shows the same boatlift:

Peterhead Harbour with boatlift

Peterhead Harbour with boatlift – © stu smith via flickr CC

Funny thing, despite being in Peterhead many times over the years for work, I really can’t even remember seeing the boatlift.

Then again, my work was usually in the former Crosse & Blackwell factory on the opposite side.

Although…

I did do one job on a DSV (diving support vessel).

It was so urgent it started on the dockside in Greenock, then when the vessel had to move, I had to drive up to Peterhead and rejoin it once it had berthed.

There was some fun then too, as they gave me cabin to stay in for the duration of the job, and the galley still ran 24/7, so the various shifts were always fed – very well, and so was I since I was told just to ‘Help myself anytime’.

The fun came when the haar settled one day – when I woke up in the morning and felt the ship moving, and couldn’t see a thing when I looked outside!

Thankfully they hadn’t forgotten about me being on board, merely been ordered move to a new berth.

But I can assure you, I woke up REAL FAST that morning.

July 18, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Barnton Quarry may open to the public in 2019

A favourite of those with an interest in the history of the Cold War (and Edinburgh’s vandals), the bunker located in Barnton Quarry is moving closer to completion of its restoration and refurbishment, with a broad date of 2019 being given as its opening date as an attraction.

There may, of course, have been stories we’ve missed, but the last time we spotted something newsworthy was back in 2013: Barnton Quarry bunker to be developed as partner to Scotland’s Secret Bunker at Anstruther.

We won’t go over the story again, you can read this article about the bunker’s history.

An article published by The Scotsman in July 2017 repeated the story, adding that the bunker is expected to open to the public in 2019.

Edinburgh’s secret nuclear bunker prepares to open its doors

There’s possibly a bit of ‘journalistic leeway’ in The Scotsman’s use of ‘prepares to open its doors’, which might tend to suggest someone is about to open them in a few days, or maybe weeks – but TWO YEARS is perhaps stretching this use of the description.

Barnton Quarry

Barnton Quarry – Courtesy of Subterranea Britannica

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Cold War, World War II | , , , | Leave a comment

Could Flamingo Land land in Balloch?

I was intrigued to see the apparently hostile response to proposals for proposals (yes, I did MEAN to say that) for a theme park and development located near Balloch and operated by the existing Flamingo Land owners.

While I’m not a theme park fan in the sense of visiting them to take part, I have always enjoyed wandering around them and seeing people enjoying them and the rides. I used to enjoy a run down to Morecambe for the day, which included a wander around Frontier Land, but that was closed and razed some years ago, when the town also gave up its illuminations in deference to Blackpool. This unfortunately coincided with personal problems which meant I was unable to visit during the years this happened, and when I did eventually manage a return trip can only say that the town was a sad and dead place without those features.

While I don’t claim that’s equivalent to Balloch, I’m left wondering if the apparently massive negative reaction to the proposal is from the sort of people who just like to say ‘NO!’ to anything.

Flamingo Land chiefs have unveiled plans for a public consultation as they seek to progress their proposals for a £30 million leisure resort at Balloch.

The Yorkshire-based firm is in the process of creating a website showcasing the proposals in a bid to win over local residents.

Tens of thousands of individuals have already signed a petition opposing the plans, while a number of locals staged a demonstration against the proposals by gathering in Drumkinnon Woods – part of the land which could be affected by the development if it gets the green light.

Via: Flamingo Land at Balloch a step closer with public consultation

While some would also look at the handful of negative responses in the comments after the story, sadly, I’ve come to realise that most of the commenters on Scotsman stories are sad and miserable, or just out to make political capital.

Hopefully the media will follow this, as I’ll be more interested in the result of the public consultation, than the potentially biased response of a few noisy activists.

As the proposer says:

However, in September last year, Mr Gibb admitted that the plans would not go ahead if they weren’t supported by ‘most of the people in Scotland’.

He said: “Flamingo Land totally understands some of the local concerns about our proposed leisure resort in Balloch and we are committed to engaging with all parties involved to fully explain our ideas.

“Our bid was successful due to the sensitive way in which we have considered the site in question and we look forward to continuing to cooperate with the consultation group.

“To be frank, if our plans are not welcomed by most of the people in Scotland then we will not proceed further but I do not trust the results of the petition and we have not yet been given the chance to fully explain our plans.”

Amusement Park

Amusement Park

Just to be clear, I am merely mentioning this, although I expect to be misrepresented and said to be in favour of the development – merely because I have not suffered an immediate knee-jerk reaction stating I am against it.

For what it’s worth, I still think the theme park in Strathclyde Country Park looks out of place as a permanent installation. I originally thought it was just visiting when it first appeared.

I’m more interested in seeing how the National Park Authority plays its part, as I see it as a body that like to make rules to keep itself in a comfy well-paid job, has introduced rules that would probably have Tom Weir spinning in his grave given the restriction it has brought in for wanderers, yet seems happy to allow development and housed to be built within the park it is supposed to be preserving.

These links might help keep some folk’s blood pressure down:

Flamingo Land proposals are opposed by thousands

Our view on Flamingo Land’s Loch Lomond proposal

The LLTNPA’s involvement in the Flamingo Land proposals

The potential impact of Flamingo Land’s proposals on the National Park

 

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

One for the Spitfire fans as another is saved

For such a small aviation museum run by volunteers, the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum punches above its weight, and is an impressive performer.

It’s a long time since I’ve been there, but I have watched its steady progress online.

Slightly irritatingly, I learned that before I made my visit I had regularly spent days within sight of the museum, but did not realise it was there. This was in the days when I used to (try to) fly RC helicopters, and attended annual fly-ins held on the old airfield runway.

Oh well…

The museum’s most recent success is the restoration of a World War II Spitfire that saw service in the Battle of Britain, but crashed during a training flight from Ayr in 1941, killing the Czech pilot.

The plane was finally salvaged from of Loch Doon in 1982, following a four-year search by divers after the museum’s founders commissioned the salvage project in 1977, not long after the museum opened.

This article covers the recovery operation: The Loch Doon Spitfire is Found

Since then, it has taken 35 years of work to restore the aircraft’s bodywork – although an expert (from Yorkshire) was able to restore the fuselage, it seems ill-health prevented further work, but the museum was able to raise fund to buy wings, and allow this part of the work to be completed.

However, there remains much to be done – while the exterior has been largely completed, the interior remains as the next stage of restoration.

Via: Loch Doon Spitfire goes on display in Dumfries

Longer story appeared later: Spitfire recovered from Loch Doon put on display

Dumfries And Galloway Air Museum Loch Doon Spitfire P7540

Dumfries And Galloway Air Museum Loch Doon Spitfire P7540 – Pic via BBC News

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Aviation, military, World War II | , , , | Leave a comment

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