Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

I found the River Clyde’s On/Off Switch (not)

I try to avoid mentioning the weather, as it makes an easy target, but the past week or so has just been miserable, and made all the more so by the pleasant weather that preceded it.

I find it almost hard to believe that it was only a matter of days ago I was happily wandering about in bright sunlight under almost cloudless skies, and wandering into places not seen for some time. It wasn’t even particularly cold, even when the wind blew.

Now, I just look at the assorted variations and combinations of rain, sleet, and snow bouncing off my windows, and the fierce and freezing north-easterly wind gusts which are driving them. It seems to be wet all the time, or when the temperature drops a little more, there always seem to be snowflakes floating around – when the wind lets them settle. I don’t even feel like stepping out of doors if I have to, let alone go and explore some interesting location on foot.

I like to wander through the gardens at Daldowie Crematorium, as this give easy access to the wilder parts of the banks of the River Clyde, not accessed by the walkway or cycle route that encroaches on most of this space. While I don’t want to generalise, and the vast majority of cyclist met there just amble along and smile or say “Hello” or “Hi”, there seems to be a small core that think the route is theirs by right, and anyone walking on it has no right to be there, and they speed along like some sort of ‘silent death’, not even deigning to ring their bells as they pass as fast and as close to walkers as they can, with a scowl on their face if they have lost pace. They need to waken up to the damage they are doing to the attitude many form against cyclists in general.

So, there I was wandering along the river at the big bend near the Rotten Calder. It’s some time since I took this route, and the area was then buried in snow, so it was interesting to see it in the clear once again, notably with much clearance work underway, improving visibility and making it look even better.

Heading towards the river, I caught the toe of my shoe in some loose turf, and when I looked down, was surprised to see that this chance trip had actually uncovered some sort of artefact – at first glance, a yellow box with a button in the middle, which I would have taken to be some sort of switch… had I been in my more usual working environment of the electrical engineering department of some factory or other:

The yellow box

The yellow box

Before I got down for a closer look, being an electrical engineer, I was already looking around automatically to see what might possibly need a switch, but I already knew there was nothing anywhere nearby that such a thing might have belonged to, so I knew my first thought had to be wrong.

A closer look revealed the truth, and the artefact is a Raised Head Ground Marker. This is the head of a steel spike that can be up to 500 mm long, driven into the ground to provide a fixed reference point for surveying instruments, assisted by the concentric rings which can be seen in the grey plastic cap:

Clyde ground mark

Clyde ground mark

So, no switch, no wires, just a spike:

Ground mark

Ground mark

Still… it was fun to think that it just might have been the mythical switch that turned the River Clyde on and off.

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March 26, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian | , , , , ,

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