Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

I expected delays, not a complete brick wall for Bloodhound

Over the years I watched the progress of Bloodhound (it does actually have Scottish bits), and been both impressed, and amazed, as it managed to go from expensive step to expensive step, thanks to it ability to attract both backing and volunteers.

Having overcome so many hurdles over the years, I would probably have bet that even if it struggled, it would have made it to the end.

Seems that bet would have been lost.

The main structure of the vehicle has been built already with “shakedown” tests a year ago working to plan.

But failure to secure the investment forced the firm financing the project into administration.

“Since [then] we have worked tirelessly with the directors to identify a suitable individual or organisation who could take the project forward,” joint administrator Andrew Sheridan said.

“Despite overwhelming public support, and engagement with a wide range of potential and credible investors, it has not been possible to secure a purchaser for the business and assets.”

Mr Sheridan added: “We will now work with key stakeholders to return the third-party equipment and then sell the remaining assets of the company to maximise the return for creditors.”

Bloodhound supersonic car project axed

It’s brought together so many diverse scientific and engineering demands, apparently bringing a range of problems which have all been solved, in theory at least, and only needed the final chapter to be completed, by actually getting to the test run.

I’m still hopeful that this may happen.

With all the costly R&D done, and only (simple word ‘only’) the final phase to be completed, there are plenty of people who could drop some loose change they wouldn’t even notice, and easily find the project’s completion.

Pity it’s a British project, a certain fruity US company rolling in money taken from silly people could fund it without even noticing.

But they’d also set it back years, since their board’s first order would be to dump all the existing computers!




07/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Good Scottish wildcat (kitten) news

I get fed up looking at news feeds – if it’s not the media itself blowing something up out of all proportion (to make you look) with an ‘Anger’ headline, then it tends to be actual bad news as somebody dies, or is killed or injured (I’m ignoring all the political crap washing over us these days).

On that basis, it’s nice to see something that can be called ‘Good News’, and that has to be the case in this story of the discovery of a genuine wildcat kitten in a trap.

A third Scottish wildcat kitten has been rescued by a conservation group in Aberdeenshire.

The kitten was captured in a live trap in Aberdeenshire and will be released in spring.

Wildcat Haven came to the aid of the cat after it was caught in a live trap by a farmer investigating the loss of several chickens.

There was no sign of a mother near the location and the young kitten appeared to have been alone for a while, scavenging scraps wherever it could find any – with a chicken coop proving just too tempting for a cat with little ability to hunt wild food.

A vet check confirmed that it was underweight, but otherwise healthy.

Wildcat trapped as farmer investigates chicken deaths

That could so easily have ended badly if the farmer had been one to ‘Shoot first and ask questions later’.

Steve Sleigh of Wildcat Haven, which carried out the rescue, said: “It was incredibly exciting when I got the call to investigate the new kitten.

“I had no idea what to expect, but as soon as I saw her, I knew she was a wildcat kitten with a thick blunt tail, perfect dorsal stripe marking and ferocious personality.

“She was snarling and spitting as soon as I went near, but looked very small for her age, she clearly needed to get to a vet straight away.”

Wildcat Kitten Pic Credit Steve Sleigh Wildcat Haven

Wildcat Kitten Pic Credit Steve Sleigh Wildcat Haven

The story continues…

Dr Paul O’Donoghue, chief scientific advisor for Wildcat Haven, stated: “These three kittens represent almost 10% of the current worst-case population estimate, emphasising their importance as a lifeline for the species in the wild.

“We’re very lucky to have this incredible rescue centre from Highland Titles to give them all a real chance at a long life in the wild.

“We’re reluctant captors and there’s no question that these kittens will all return to the wild; we hope the male may bond with the new kitten so that they could be released into adjoining territories, enhancing the chances of them breeding healthy new kittens out in the wild, where these cats belong.”

07/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Maid of the Loch gains £950 k after missing out on £3.7 million

I told you so (and hoped I would be right, of course) – not to worry about the gloom and doom spread after the HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) rejection.

This project has simply gone on for far too long to let something like that derail, it might slow it down, but I could not believe those behind it would ever give up.

Paddle steamer Maid of the Loch could be set to sail again after the group behind the ship’s restoration said it is to receive a Scottish Government grant of almost £1 million.

The Loch Lomond Steamship Company said the £950,000 capital grant award has been confirmed after a £3.7 million bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) was rejected earlier this year.

The charity, which has been working to restore the static tourist attraction on the banks of the loch since 1996, said the cash means work to repair the ship’s hull and overhaul its engines can go ahead.

“Our next step will see the ship brought out of the water in January on to the Balloch Steam Slipway to allow us to carry out an essential ultrasound test of the entire hull to check its condition. Any repairs will then be carried out.

“It will be the first time any work has been done on the hull since 1981, so there is great excitement among our volunteers, who can’t wait to help.”

He added: “Everyone who has visited the Maid over the years has said we must get this beautiful ship sailing again.

“Getting her in steam and with her paddles turning again is the next best thing, and we anticipate great interest next year as people come to watch her majestic engines moving for the first time in 37 years.”

The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society has also confirmed a grant of £50,000 towards restoring the ship.

Full steam ahead for Maid of the Loch after £950,000 award

Lifeline for ailing Loch Lomond paddle steamer

Maid of the Loch 2017

Maid of the Loch 2017

I really do have to find out how to get there, since I’ve been priced off the road, which ended my jaunts there whenever I felt like it.

I saw someone write a ‘funny’ about cycling there (from Glasgow), and how everybody thinks they can, tries it, then finds themselves stuck in Balloch, too sore to cycle back home 🙂

So far, I’ve done half the trip (turned at Clydebank) and didn’t feel a single twinge.

Maybe that’s some sort of cunning trap, designed to lure you in, so you collapse somewhere on the way back!

07/12/2018 Posted by | council, Maritime, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Christmas in The Forge

Just a quick shot of Christmas as seen in the Forge Shopping Centre in Parkhead.

It’s really weird, I seem to be in such a hurry to get places this year I almost miss these things.

Then again, maybe it’s the lack of true frosty days we’ve had in past years, which means that my brain is not clicking fully into ‘Christmas Mode’.

And there are still no thronging crowds in the city centre. Busy, yes, but not the ‘sardine packing’ I’ve become used to.

Has online shopping now arrived for real?

It’s strange weather-wise – there have only been a few nights with light frost, clearing quickly, and I have seen days hit 11-15°C in the past week. While it is by no means warm, it’s nearly as cold as recent years at this time.

Even the high wind warning we have in place for today is being thwarted.

As I write as we head towards noon, the Sun is shining in a blue sky with clouds.

But an hour or so ago it was dull, there was a shower, and the wind was so strong it ripped a branch of a spruce tree, and it landed almost at my feet, complete with five cones still attached!

Christmas Forge

Christmas Forge

07/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Shettleston Christmas lights

I almost missed Shettleston’s Christmas lights!

I haven’t been in the main street for ages, and because Parkhead’s lights have still not been fixed, I didn’t realise Shettleston’s would be up and lit. Funny how they haven’t got to those dead lights at Parkhead – maybe nobody’s told them, or their purse is empty.

Shettleston’s lights aren’t animated, so you can try spotting the bits that aren’t working.

You can also see whiffs of sodium yellow creeping into the shots and tainting them, despite the predominance of white LED street lighting we have now. Side streets, and those away from the main street continue to be lit with the ‘Yellow Poison’.

Strangely, I’ve had a lot of arguments with people claiming they are being dazzled and blinded by the new white LED lights.

I wonder if this is just the knee-jerk reaction to any sort of change that some people love to indulge in.

Looking at these three shots, it should be clear that there is very little side spill or even direct line of sight to the actual LEDs themselves, which only light on one side anyway, which means their spread is less than 180° with little or no light projected sideways.

This is quite unlike all the old sodium, or other non-LED street lights, which throw light over a full 360°, and need lenses or reflectors to direct light that would otherwise shine upwards or to the side from being wasted.

Street pics no longer have the completely burnt-out or flooded areas of glare where every street light shone directly into the lens.

In fact, it’s almost hard to even see the lights now!

Shettleston Christmas Lights East View

Shettleston Christmas Lights East View

I wonder if they’ll be given some maintenance, or of this is our lot for the year?

Shettleston Christmas Lights West View

Shettleston Christmas Lights West View

I tried a second viewpoint, after noticing the layout of the road due to a change in width, means it looks as if you are standing in the middle of the road, but are actually still on the pavement.

Shettleston Christmas Lights West View 2

Shettleston Christmas Lights West View 2

Still finding this year’s camera settings are intriguing – I wish I’d paid more attention to what I had fiddled with.

Last year I was adjusting most pics to alter the lighting balance, and probably lifting too much detail out of the backgrounds and the shadows.

This year, I’m hardly touching any of them, and am able to use them straight from the camera, as shot.

The darker backgrounds/shadows seem to be coming out better – bearing in mind this is all hand held, without a tripod or other support.

It’s almost funny (for me) seeing others struggling with tripods, and getting in the way of people walking in busy streets.

07/12/2018 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment


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