Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Mackintosh Building S04 – I’m sorry I told you so

I’m sorry to see that the news regarding proper initial survey data on the post-fire remains of the Mackintosh Building are as bad as I thought the first videos suggested. I really was wondering what the folk who suggested things weren’t so bad were looking at.

The only good thing I can think of now is that summer had tentatively arrived, and we are, for the moment, not in imminent danger of seeing storms or high winds.

If such weather were to likely, I fear the decision regarding the remains and any potential to save original structure would be out of the council’s hands, and demolition on the grounds of public safety would be automatic.

As it is, things will still be subject to the stability of the remains.

At least there is still the opportunity to consider options (whatever they may be, if any).

The walls of the Glasgow School of Art have been moved six inches (15 cm) in places as a result of the fire, council leader Susan Aitken has said.

She said the movement of the building’s facade had prompted fears for public safety.

Speaking from the site, Ms Aitken said: “It is a dangerous building, there is no question about that.

“The facade has actually moved quite considerably – about six inches.

“There is an imminent danger of collapse.”

The restrictions remain as building control officers have warned people to stay away from the site of the art school fire.

They revealed concerns about the end walls of the building, which could fall into the street “without warning”.

Glasgow School of Art’s facades moved six inches by fire

This article suggests the hazardous nature of the structure means more detailed examinations will not be possible until the safety of inspectors can be ensured as they move into the remains.

The façade and standing walls remain high, and one falling stone block could result in fatality, and a collapsing wall would be disastrous if anyone was either inside, or beside, at the time.

Glasgow School of Art walls may fall ‘without warning’

Mackintosh building could collapse ‘without warning’

Glasgow School of Art fire: Warning to steer clear of damaged building

Pretty much sums thing up.

“It’s dangerous and is unstable, we can’t stress that enough.”

Glasgow School of Art moves six inches since huge blaze

Looks as if it’s just as well I can’t wander along for a look.

And now… The BAD news.

Looting of the Clutha Bar was no surprise after the helicopter disaster, and the scum just don’t give a damn.

Looters have raided a bar which was destroyed by a fire at the Glasgow School of Art.

Police were alerted to the raid at Campus on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow at 3.20am on Thursday.

Thieves went through the cordon to slam their way through the bar to steal alcohol.

Five years after three teenagers broke into the Clutha to steal alcohol, cash and charity tins following the helicopter crash.

Looters raid bar destroyed by Glasgow Art School fire

Looters target fire-damaged bar next to Glasgow School of Art

Meanwhile, seven men were executed in Saudi Arabia after being convicted of theft, looting and armed robbery a few years ago – but at the time of their offences, they were minors (around 15 years old). The usual method is by beheading.

Wonder what recent event brought that back into my thoughts?


22/06/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Loch Ness may get pumped hydro scheme

As an engineer who had to sit through lectures on this subject many years ago, any mention of hydro-electricity tends to attract my attention, especially pumped storage.

A pumped hydro storage scheme that would involve drawing water from Loch Ness could generate enough power for 400,000 homes, say its developers.

Hamilton-based Intelligent Land Investments (ILI) said the construction phase of its Red John project would create work for up to 300 people.

It has been proposed for a site south of Dores.

A 100m (328ft) underground “power cavern” and 2,650m-long (8,694ft) pipe would be built for the scheme.

Major hydro project proposed for Loch Ness

The scheme would involve pumping water between Loch Ness and a new upper head pond.

Pumped storage hydro is probably the largest and cleanest form of energy storage available at the moment.

Other forms of storage exist, and massive (gigawatt hour) have been commissioned, constructed, and are in service.

However, such things are not as scaleable as pumped storage.

Scotland was an early adopter of all forms of hydro power but… that means all the best sites were taken years ago.

But it could be that a modern take on the old idea (using newer technology) could utilise sites that were not considered practical in the past.

It’s also notable that a number of 19th century hydro schemes (not pumped storage) have been restored and returned to service in recent years.

Back to this scheme, and it’s worth bearing in mind that the description shows this is purely a pumped storage scheme, does not generate any power, only stores surplus which has been generated by others. This stored energy can then be released later, when required by demand.

It will be interesting to see if any naysayers turn up and rubbish this proposal, or make negative claims about its environmental effect.

Systems like this don’t need the huge areas and dams of hydroelectric power generation schemes (which have to collect water).

I’ll be watching.

ILI Pumped Storage - ILI Diagram

ILI Pumped Storage – ILI Diagram


Looks like more info appeared a little later.

Meet Red John – the Highland hydro scheme that could be a gamechanger for renewables

It’s intriguing to look at the comments after this item, and the stupid gripe raised over the use of the term ‘Renewable’ – and consider they neither read not understood the article.

I did, and nowhere does it state that pumped-storage is renewable.

It refers to how it can work with growing renewable resources – but since when did the odd fact ever influence those promoting their sad ‘anti-just-about-anything’ agenda?


22/06/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Where was 2018’s ‘Midgie Invasion’ panic story?

A story about midgies published this evening reminded me that we had not had the usual panic story from the so-called ‘midgie experts’ this year.

I’ve noted that for the past year, these ‘experts’ have been warning Scots the THIS YEAR is going to be a BUMPER YEAR for midgies for some reason or another.

And, while the midgies may have invaded elsewhere, I have to say that for the past few years, in spite of these dire warning of potential death by being sucked dry of blood by billions of midgies – they never turned up here. Maybe they can’t read, or don’t have the Internet in their damp ponds.


All that said, it would seem we have perhaps found a reliable way to deal with the wee beasties.

It seems that devices using CO2 to attract them into traps are not fantasy, and heaps of the little bloodsuckers (they don’t actually suck, lest I find myself corrected) can be collected.

So many, it seems someone wants to use them as delicacy, or just get revenge on them.

An Argyll hotelier has unveiled plans to serve burgers made with midges to his customers.

David Keat, who owns the Brander Lodge Hotel near Oban, said he would harvest the blood-sucking insects from the hotel’s midge exterminator machines.

He said the burgers would be dipped in a coat of midges, like breadcrumbs, and a special secret ingredient added.

The plans are due to be considered by Argyll Council’s environmental health department.

Hotel plan to serve up midge burgers

Seems fair – I’d support them, even if I don’t particularly feel like having one of their ‘treats’.

Anything that gets rid of midgies gets my support these days.

I don’t know what’s changed in recent years, but I seem to have become more sensitive to midgie bites recently, and find that nothing acts as a repellent, and their bites seem to have become more irritating AND last for much longer than they used.

Supposed relief treatments and potions also seem to have become less effective too.

These days, I watch the calendar (and my skin for the first bite) and retreat indoors for a few weeks, or avoid places where I know they might be flying around. Basically, if I can’t stop them, or treat them, I just have to minimise the number of bites (yes, I know the saw the skin rather than bite, but you know what I mean).

Crazy midge

Crazy midge

22/06/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Polish shutter mural (gone)

Looking through some older wandering, I found this neglected shutter pic.

Obviously the shutter and shop sign have no connection – the sign came later, after the mural, which belonged to a Polish eatery on the Gallowgate.

Since then, I think at least two different eateries have occupied the shop, but I’m not sure of the current status as I don’t pass that way nowadays.

That said, I do know it was a bookie’s before all these better uses arrived.

I can’t recall seeing the sign without that ‘E’ missing – maybe it was never there (or was pinched/fell off very early in the sign’s life).

Gallowgate Polish Shutter Mural

Gallowgate Polish Shutter Mural

As an aside, it’s maybe interesting to note that Tesco has its own ‘Polish Bakery’ which provides quite a nice range of Polish recipe breads, under this brand label. I didn’t realise it was actually their own brand/bakery until recently.

Tesco Polish Bakery

Tesco Polish Bakery

22/06/2018 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Today is Chocolate Éclair Day

22 June is Chocolate Éclair Day.

Another easy one.

But I have to confess to a love/hate relationship with this creamy chocolate treat.

Éclair can be translated to ‘flash of lightning’, and this is a fair description of the speed these delicacies can disappear if not well guarded.

It also describes the way a well prepared example disappears in your mouth, and good ones are gone in a flash!

The chocolate topping, cream filling, and pastry just melt together in a good one – and that’s both good and bad, all at the same time.

Oh well.

Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolate Eclairs




22/06/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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