Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

It just snowed in sunny Glasgow

I should have known better, really, I should.

Yesterday was really nice, both dry and sunny, and well above freezing temps too.

Of course, I was stuck indoors for reasons outwith my control, or choice.

Today, I’d largely decided to get out, and the morning at least started well (if chilly), being dry and bright.

Come 10:30 or so, it was time for coffee, and I saw the dullness that had fallen was being accompanied by a combination of rain and wet snow, stuck to my window – had I arrived 5 minutes later, it would have been gone, as the temp was hovering a few degrees above 0 deg C, so no chance of it lying.

But I saw it, and it was no great surprise as the snow is already lying on the hilltops surrounding Glasgow.

It’s already stopped and gone away, so maybe I’ll still make it out after F1 free practice on the telly (if I can find my shovel).

No evidence to take a pic of, so…

Light Scottish Snowfall

Light Scottish Snowfall



I ventured past a window an hour later to find that a new period of dullness was down a REAL snowfall.

Unfortunately, still too much latent heat around for this to lie, I had to go on a quick learning course to find out how to photograph falling snow.

I had just about worked out how to do this when I thought the method had stopped working, but dragging my eye from the viewfinder revealed the flurry had just stopped while I had been busy.

But, I did at least get a usable view, even if I had to crop out most of the surroundings.

Warm Snowfall

Warm Snowfall

Hint: Flash might sometimes produce interesting effect in rain – but it’s not an option for snow.

I’d found a nice range of shutter speeds, but all fun stopped when the snow stopped, and focus/aperture/ISO remain mysteries for another day – but at least I learned something new.

F1 commentators were spot on too

Watching F1 free practice from the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi was fun.

News came in that those at Knockhill were “Up to their ankles in snow”.


“Well, you can be up to your ankle in snow at Knockhill in the middle of summer”.

Never quite saw that myself, but sometimes wished I had a wet suit and scuba gear as I waded around the circuit some years.

24/11/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

UK’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) passenger ferry built and launched on the Clyde

I have to confess to a miserable failure, having spent too much time looking at the detail behind the first hybrid ferries launched and operated on the west of Scotland to follow up on their story.

Built for Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) at Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow, the hybrid ferries MV Hallaig and MV Lochinvar were announced back in 2012, and I gave the early details here The hybrid ferries of CalMac are real

However, after their completion and entry into operation, I forgot about them (since I no longer ‘float’ around the Clyde) until I received a message to the effect that there had been some sort of problem with their batteries, and that they had failed to operate as expected.

Since I don’t like to rely purely on hearsay or a single unsubstantiated source, I never got around to finishing that story as I (then at least) couldn’t find any news reports or accounts of the problem.

Maybe somebody knows better, and will point me/us at proper details (or I might have another look).

But, this is really about the arrival of another new (here at least) technology for our ferries, unveiled at Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited’s Port Glasgow shipyard.

MV Glen Sannox

MV Glen Sannox can accommodate up to 1,000 passengers, is 102 m (335 ft) long and can carry 127 cars or 16 lorries. It can operate on marine gas oil (MGO) as well as liquefied natural gas (LNG), and is the first of two such ferries being built as part of a ÂŁ97 million Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) contract. The second LNG ferry (as yet unnamed), is still under construction at the yard, and is planned for the Tarbert/Lochmaddy/Uig route.

Intended for the Ardrossan/Brodick route, the new ferry is set to begin operating in winter 2018/19, and will contribute to meeting emission  reduction targets set by the Government.

This sees the return of the name Glen Sannox to an active vessel, having been seen on a car and passenger ferry serving Clyde routes between 1957 and 1989.

Via UK’s first liquefied natural gas ferry launched on Clyde

Glen Sannox Port Glasgow

Glen Sannox Port Glasgow

Thomas Nugent’s catches are often rewarding, and it seems a shame not to offer credit for the research done regarding this particular (sole surviving) Clyde shipyard:

A series of photos of the construction of MV Glen Sannox, taken from the same spot over a period of eight months.

Shipbuilding is still thriving in Port Glasgow, 237 years after Thomas McGill opened the first yard in the town in 1780.

Ferguson Marine shipyard is the last shipyard on the Lower Clyde and is also the last yard in the UK capable of building merchant ships. Shipbuilding started on this site at Castle Road, off the A8, in 1791.

Things could have been very different; the yard entered administration in 2014, 70 staff were made redundant and it appeared that the town’s proud shipbuilding history had come to an end. However, East Kilbride based Clyde Blowers Capital, owned by Jim McColl OBE, purchased the yard and have invested millions of pounds in an on-going modernisation project that will see the yard enter a new era and seek out new markets.

The building on the left is the new shipyard new office complex. The ship under construction, now known as “Glen Sannox”, is a 102m long LNG (liquefied natural gas) powered car and passenger ferry for Caledonian Macbrayne. Part of her sister ship “Hull 802” can be seen on the right.

See the rest of his pics at: Building a ship in Port Glasgow :: Shared Description

LNG and a Scottish loch

There is, perhaps, a slight irony in the arrival of these ferries, as Loch Striven on the west of Scotland was once used to hold giant gas tankers, which lay dormant for some 14 years:

Nestor and Gastor were two refrigerated LNG (liquefied natural gas) carriers completed during 1976 and 1977, intended to transport LNG from Algeria or Nigeria. The discovery of North Sea oil/gas in 1969, followed by the start of production on 1975, effectively rendered the tankers redundant, and they were laid up in the loch the with only a skeleton crew on board, They remained there until 1991, when Shell purchased them to transport LNG from Nigeria. Prior to undertaking the sea journey to France, the tankers were taken to the pier at Inverkip Power Station, where engineers reactivated the vessels and restored them to safe operation for the trip.

In the 11th November 2011 edition of the Dunoon Observer in the 20 YEARS AGO column an item,”Ghosts leaving” appeared:- “The twin ‘ghost ships’ of Loch Striven – giant gas tankers, the Castor (stet) and Nestor – were to be recommissioned after lying dormant in the Loch for 14 years. After a refurbishment by Shell UK, the Bermudan registered ships were to be used to transport liquefied natural gas between new gas fields off Nigeria and Europe and the USA. The 274 metre-long vessels were to be re-named the LNG Lagos and LNG Port Harcourt.”

Via our Loch Striven page

24/11/2017 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Buy Nothing Day

Not only one of those ‘Days’ most likely to be ignored by just about everybody, it’s one of that does not even fall on the same date every year, having been lumbered with the definition of ‘The Friday after Thanksgiving’ (so that was/is: 23rd Nov, 2018, 24th Nov, 2017, 25th Nov, 2016).

It supposed to be a protest against the consumerism, and is described as being founded in Vancouver, Canada, by some artist called Ted Dave back in September 1992. It’s arrival on a Friday is presumably meant to coincide with the day known as Black Friday. Since then, campaigns for the day arose in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, Norway… and it seems that more than 65 nations have now fallen in line.

Some say that taking part can be the start of a life-changing lifestyle commitment, while others claim it’s a pointless gesture, since participants will simply buy more the next day.

You pays your money, you takes your choice.

Oh wait! You DON’T pays your money of you take part!

Here’s our official UK Buy Nothing Today web site



No Scotsman ever needed such a day to help him keep hold of his money!

Locked Wallet

Scottish Wallet

24/11/2017 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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