Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Unique Skye ferry lives on after major refurb

While the arrival of the Skye bridge might have been expected to signal the end of ferry services to the island, this has not been the case, at least not for the MV Glenachulish which makes the short crossing between Glenelg and Kylerhea on Skye, across the Kylerhea Straits between the months of April and October.

This ferry is unique, and according the BBC’s article, the last of its kind in the world, as it is a turntable ferry.

And a manual turntable at that – no power assistance for the operator!

I could probably dig up some original B&W pics of this (or maybe one its predecessors), if I had a memory that was sharp enough to remember which collection of pics of old Scottish transport I had it hidden away in. A car ferry has crossed the Kylerhea Straits since 1934, but this one only dates back to 1969, when it was built by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company of Troon. My pic collection is a little older.

The ferry’s owner, Isle of Skye Ferry Community Interest Company, has paid more than £80,000 for the work.

Via World’s last ferry of its kind, Skye’s Glenachulish, upgraded

For the ferry service itself, see the web site here:

The Original Glenelg-Skye Ferry

Since I can hardly pop along for quick pic of the refurbished ferry, I was pleased to find this interesting note from the vessel’s past, with a shared pic, which shows of that unique turntable nicely:

MV Glenachulish North Strone

MV Glenachulish North Strone

Ferry at North Strome, taken in 2012.

With the loch side road to Strathcarron closed by a rock fall Highland Council hired the MV “Glenachulish” in January 2012 to temporarily re-establish the vehicle ferry crossing between Stromeferry and North Strome. This six-vehicle community owned turntable ferry normally runs between Glenelg and Kylerhea on Skye during the summer months.

The 10 minute crossing of Loch Carron to Stromeferry – visible in the background – avoided a 140-mile diversion by road.


Apr 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Alternative Belgrove Hotel view

While most views of Glasgow’s well-known Bellgrove Hotel tend to favour a frontal view of the building and feature the name, I noticed that the demolition of what was quite new housing on the Gallowgate left a clear view of the side elevation of the hotel.

For those unfamiliar with this Glasgow icon, I should offer full disclosure and identify it as a Men’s Hostel, one which can be found to attract adverse publicity in the local media.

I don’t usually see this view, but found it by chance when taking a shortcut across the ground where the house had once stood.

This view would have been impossible, even when the hotel was first built, as a street ran along the side of hotel, with tenements across from it blocking any view, as can be seen in original B&W views from the past.

Bellgrove Hotel side

Bellgrove Hotel side

More usually seen as (one my old pics – this tatty view is now refurbished to match the above):

Bellgrove Hotel

Bellgrove Hotel

Part of the refurb included the addition of glass panels to the doors, revealing a surprisingly well-lit reception.

The downside is that I now have to remember to cross the road when passing – the last three times I passed the new glass doors I found it was a handy way for a ‘resident’ to stay out of sight and jump out just as you get near, and ask for 2 pence.

Seriously, 2 PENCE!

That’s really what I get asked for if I’m careless and forget to cross the road before reaching the door.

Best avoided at weekends too, if there’s a game on at Parkhead, in which case the residents just stand outside asking for money as the mass of fans pass.

Apr 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 1 Comment

Interesting doorstep

It pays to keep your eyes open, there’s always something just a little bit interesting to see if you do, even on a humble Glasgow doorstep in the back streets of Tollcross.

If the colours and shadows look a little odd, they are, as this is a night shot, even if does look close to daylight. The nearby light was mostly white, but you can see the yellow tinge from the sodium street lighting (now you know to look).

Couple of points worth noting…

Trust – always helped by the odd length of chain and padlock. Still, I’d love to see how far some wee ned managed to carry it if he did try to make off with it.

Silver – this ‘Sword in the Stone’ (yes, I know it’s really and anvil) re-enactment has magically changed from white to silver since it was first photographed.

Sword in the stone... er... anvil

Sword in the stone… er… anvil

Apr 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Goodbye old friend

I was disappointed to discover my own carelessness led to the loss of a good friend that has been with me for a number of years.

Some may recognise the sad view of a Tool Logic credit card pocket tool below, devoid of what is probably its most useful accessory.

Tool Logic

Tool Logic

I suppose I expected this, but it was still a surprise the day it happened.

The empty corner – at bottom right – is where the small knife that forms part of this tool used to live.

I hated it when I first got the tool, as the edge was serrated rather than straight, but came to find it so much more useful than a straight edge as it could be used to saw through objects that a plain edge would just slide over.

I’ve no idea how this happened as I had become quite careful about clipping it back into the main body when I used it, and recalled the last usage, when I cut through the plastic security seals on the box containing an MP3 device I had just bought, and wanted to read the full spec of before I headed for home, and not too far from the shop.

Next time I needed the knife – GONE!

While I didn’t really expect to find it, I even spent a couple of hours backtracking my route to the point where I’d opened the box, but of course, found nothing.

As for the moulded (and also empty) area towards the top right corner…

That was an LED torch (red, as this is an old item), which also vanished one day.

I didn’t even know about this until I got home and was emptying my pockets. This one was even more of mystery as the cover and switch were semi-permanent and not removable, other than to replace the battery.

I can only guess that both fell victim to being caught on a seam or similar on my pocket or other item of clothing when being removed from my pocket, and I didn’t notice.

Pity, I had come to like this one, and depend on it on an almost daily basis.

Chances of replacement? Slim to nil.

A quick look online shows this once sensibly priced item has climbed to something like £25 (more than twice what I paid a few years ago) – which I think is just ridiculous, but reflect the trend to charge a fortune for anything that smacks of ‘gadget’, or even preppy or prepper usefulness these days.

I suppose Plan ‘B’ will have to be invoked.

I may not be able to make it from hardened steel, but I guess I can fabricate a similar blade, and spend a lot of time keeping the edge sweet.

Apr 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment


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