Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Yet another ‘derelict’ initiative

After the recent news of attempts to use legislation to force owners of derelict property to sell it, there is news of an initiative intended to rejuvenate vacant and derelict land.

I wonder if there is any connection or relation between those behind these efforts, and the coincidental timing of their appearance?

A task force to develop some of Scotland’s 12,000 hectares of vacant and derelict land is being launched.

A register of disused property was set up 30 years ago but the total area – around twice the size of Dundee – has barely changed since.

The project aims to find ways of bringing derelict land back into productive use.

The target of the task force is to halve the amount of land on the register by 2025.

The group – set up by the Scottish Land Commission and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) – will examine the impact on vacant land of planning policy and legislation.

It will also look at practical ways for the land to be utilised.

Task force to develop derelict land in Scotland launched

As with the preceding housing initiative, while I don’t want to be misinterpreted as being in some way opposed to the idea, I do have similar concerns.

If those houses, and now this land, is such ‘hot property’, why haven’t the existing owners cashed in, and made some money, instead of (probably) losing money by leaving their supposed gold mines undeveloped?

I speak from sad experience, having inherited a small house, ended up paying various charges/bills/taxes associated with it, and then had to sell at a loss to get rid of it and its associated liabilities.

While every case is different, I can’t help but wonder at the wisdom of effectively ‘forcing’ sales and development of land and property (which has not inspired such a thing on its own), and how long such forced projects will survive once the novelty has worn off, and they have to survive on their own merits.

It would be interesting to see, after say 10 year or so perhaps, how many of the projects arising from this sort of legislation are still in place and economic, and how many have not been sustainable, and reverted to back to vacancy or dereliction.

Coincidentally, there were two stories seen in the news along with the above, one related to possible success, and the the other to failure.

In the first, refurbishment of an abandoned dry dock has led to positive proposals.

New steel could be made from metal recycled from decommissioned offshore oil and gas structures under a plan for one of Europe’s largest dry docks.

Liberty Steel, part of a group that owns the Fort William aluminium smelter, has proposed constructing an arc furnace for the work at Kishorn.

The dry dock in the west Highlands was established in the 1970s.

It has now been refurbished and made available for new work, including recycling offshore infrastructure.

Arc furnace planned for dry dock at Kishorn

But in the second, dry docks that have lain abandoned and decaying for some thirty years, with no development (although housing seems to be probably), and not attracted any serious commercial development.

Senior politicians from three parties have backed calls for a new industrial strategy to help “save” former ship repair sites on the Clyde.

A letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the Inchgreen dry dock in Greenock and Govan Graving Docks have needlessly been allowed to decay.

Campaigners want an action plan to stop marine industry sites being lost to housing or retail development.

The owners of both sites have insisted they have plans for their future.

The STUC along with 23 MPs and MSPs from the SNP, Labour and the Greens have endorsed a joint letter to the first minister from the Campaign to Save Inchgreen Dry Dock and the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative.

Call for industrial strategy to ‘save’ crumbling Clyde docks

While the first story about Kishorn looks hopeful, being based on an actual proposal for commercial use, sadly, the second seems to be little more than hot air from those with political motives, and claims that amount to ‘Conspiracy Theories’.

I worked in some of those docks, and it’s always been depressing to see that nobody came up with a practical and economic use for them years ago, before they decayed.

If they were so good, why didn’t one, or more, of the successful overseas shipbuilders snap them up years ago, when they could probably have been acquired for ‘Fire Sale’ prices?

We’ll see.

These docks are outside my range, but I found a great night pic, taken in 2008, from Thomas Nugent’s collection.

Construction of a floating jetty for the MOD continues night and day in Inchgreen dry dock

Construction of a floating jetty for the MOD continues night and day in Inchgreen dry dock

25/09/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | Leave a comment

Are ALL commenters on The Scotsman’s articles really morons?

While I take the results of most studies made by ‘business and financial advisers’ with a pinch of salt (you don’t have to be a genius to work how easy it is to skew the results by carefully crafting the study itself), I feel less charitable towards the commenters (or ‘morons’, as I tend to think of them nowadays) who seem to have endless time to spout their mindless and ridiculously preconceived views in those Scotsman articles that still allow comments.

I wouldn’t normally even waste the few minutes it will take to rattle this post together on their ramblings, but one stood out as so ridiculous, ill-informed, and biased, I had to stop for a moment.

This story caught my eye, initially to see how it had been fabricated. Probably the result of someone worried about keeping their job, and looking for a way to ‘get noticed’ by the boss, for doing something ‘clever’. In this case, inventing a term called ‘vibrancy’ and making sure Glasgow and Edinburgh came out at opposite ends of the scale.

Edinburgh and Glasgow at opposite ends of ‘vibrancy’ league table

But forget that, what really caught my eye as I sped-read down the page was this moron’s comment.

MLyons1952 • 6 days ago
Passed through Glasgow for the first time in many years last week. Judging by the people on Buchanan Street there is definitely something gone very wrong with the gene pool in the city. 200 years of bevying probably.


I’d venture that MLyons1952 has never set foot in Buchanan Street.

I’m there quite often.

It has some of the most expensive shops to be found in Glasgow.

Passing through it these days, I often feel like a peasant, as it filled with ‘The Beautiful People’ who are not short of a bob or two, are dressed in the latest fashions, and have mobile phones clamped to the ears (or rather their hands, as they seem to spend more time scrolling through social media than talking nowadays).

I’d venture that many of them are tourists too, with many American accents, and others babbling away in languages I can’t understand (and I don’t mean the Polish I’m used to hearing throughout the east end, from my fellow ‘natives’).

Maybe MLyons1952 is suggesting all those tourists are inbred (or staggering around drunk)?

At the moment (if MLyons1952 is not actually lying about being there ‘last week’), it’s also full of street performers, who I doubt would be wasting their time there if those in Buchanan Street were either ‘bevvying’, or suffering from gene pool defects.

I don’t have many pics of Buchanan Street – it’s too ‘kewl’ for me, and I’m so down-market I like to move quickly, for fear of being moved on as I look like a tramp.

Remember my ‘coffee victims’?

I’ve never paid (never would, never will) for a cup of coffee what they paid for those paper cups!

I wonder if MLyons1952 thinks they’re ‘bevvying’, or are inbred?

I think I’d quite like to chain MLyons1952 to a pole in Buchanan Street, with a copy of their comment pinned to their chest, and watch the locals’ reaction.

Coffee Fashion Victims

Coffee Fashion Victims

25/09/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

East City Way set to join West City Way for cyclists – Drop in event at Mount Vernon Primary School

While it’s probably familiar enough for those west of the city, it took me a long time to discover the WCW, or West Cycle Way, which is a great way to get to and from somewhere like Kelvingrove from the city centre. Not only segregated routing, but also priority traffic lights.

I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s pretty good, and much better than rubbing wheels with city centre traffic. It makes a nice change from sticking with the route along the Clyde Walkway, for a bit of variation.

I mentioned part of it here recently.

There’s also a South City Way, but I haven’t seen any that yet, so no comment.

While it’s possible to cycle into Glasgow from the east end on a dedicated route, you still have to get to the start of this route on London Road, at Springfield Road. That’s not too hard if you know the back streets, or don’t mind pedalling a bit faster and joining London Road traffic before Tollcross, so you can avoid the busier roads.

I had been wishing the start of the London Road cycle route started further east – and was surprised to find that there was a plan already pending approval, and described online some weeks ago.

Welcome to the online consultation for the East City Way.

There’s not really a lot of point in regurgitating the details given in the consultation (that’s what it’s there for, after all) – it’s there to be read and studied if you are interested.

There’s also a short survey you can contribute to there.

While it looks like a relatively small project, it actually has quite a large impact on the cycle routes in this area, as it fills a gap in existing routes.

To the west, there is already a segregated route (both by road markings and physical barriers) on the road towards Uddingston.

And, as I hinted above, there is already a cycle route, with shared paths and physical barriers leading from Parkhead (at Celtic Park) to Bridgeton Cross, and onward to Glasgow Green.

There is also this forum:

East City Way (ECW)

As regards this subject, it just has views of this card which fell through our doors a few days ago, inviting anyone interested to attend a Public Drop In Event on Thursday, 26 September 2018, at Mount Vernon Primary School, from 3:45 pm until 7:00 pm.

East City Way - Phase 1 Engagement

East City Way – Phase 1 Engagement



While I can’t reproduce the view they showed in their concept, I could at least stagger to the end of the road, and take a pic BEFORE the work takes place.

Hamilton Road At Mount Vernon Avenue

Hamilton Road At Mount Vernon Avenue (London Road to right)


Proposed Layout London Road

Proposed Layout London Road

The online consultation (referred to above) has complete details of the proposed routes and layouts, with further artist’s impression of the layouts.

This one can’t come soon enough, especially after recent events in near Cuthelton Street (my former ‘quiet’ back street route towards Parkhead avoiding main roads), where someone was targeted and shot multiple times during a house invasion.

On the WCW

There’s surprisingly little publicity or mention of the West Cycle Way.

I never found it when looking online for recommended routes, and really only found the details after spotting ‘WCW’ painted on some road sections (to keep cyclists on route), and looked online to find out what the letters meant.

The WCW has these cycle priority traffic lights on a number of junctions.

Cycle Priority Traffic Lights

Cycle Priority Traffic Lights

They provide a phase where only the cycle lanes are given access to the junction, which can be in busy places, such as this one on Sauchiehall Street at Claremont Street. It’s kind of nice to sail across a completely halted junction when these are green.

What’s not so nice are the cyclist who are still sailing through all the other reds, and doing NOTHING to promote responsible behaviour or support for cycling initiatives.

I’ve even been forced to stop and avoid these morons, as they just shoot through the red lights on the road I’m crossing on ‘my’ green.

I believe (from other comments) these lights have sensors to detect the presence of waiting cyclists.

They’re not quite perfect. While this one is fine, I’ve found another in the city centre which does not seem to detect reliably, and can phase around the whole junction two or three times, bypassing the cycle lanes and only giving green to vehicles on the streets either side. It’s not a problem as you and negotiate the junction when the parallel road has priority, but I’m sure some snotty people will point at cyclists doing so, and say they are ignoring the system provided, so should never have ANY provisions made for them.

This route also provided an excuse to convert the former ‘Bridge to Nowhere‘ (a relic of an unfinished part of the M8) into the Bridge to Glasgow, as part of the WCW. This is the approach to Waterloo Street.

Bridge To Nowhere Or Bridge To Glasgow

Bridge To Nowhere Or Bridge To Glasgow

25/09/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Psychotherapy Day

25 September is Psychotherapy Day.

One day I keep well away from anybody qualified to pass judgement on my behaviour, or mental condition.

It’s said that if you tell anybody that you are celebrating Psychotherapy Day they’ll probably say “You need your head examined”, or make some similarly witty remark.

Psychotherapy Day was founded in 2012 by a group of professionals and students, intending to combat misconceptions and raise awareness of the vital work done by therapists in helping the one in four people who suffer from mental illness, as well as those with emotional problems.

The colour turquoise is worn to show support for Psychotherapy Day, and can be combined with their logo of a turquoise counselling chair on a black background. It is an ideal time to talk, write, read or blog about psychotherapy in order to break down stigmas and worries, to volunteer, or donate to community mental health centres and to share psychotherapy research.


I’ll just continue to keep my head down – it’s far too late for me to change my ways, and suddenly turn ‘normal’.

You know what’s coming next, don’t you?

Psychotherapist Sign

25/09/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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