Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Will an 18-storey complex on the River Clyde get planning permission?

I will await with interest the outcome of a planning application for an 18-storey build-to-rent complex at the Buchanan Wharf development near River Clyde close to Glasgow city centre.

The development of 324 flats would sit at the corner of Kingston Street and Commerce Street, in the south east corner of the Tradeston site.

Documents submitted by architects Stallan-Brand state the building, with two 18-floor towers, “will play a key role in Glasgow’s skyline, in particular when entering the city from the south”.

AIMING High With Major Build-To-Rent Towers At Buchanan Wharf

This seems to me to be a shocking plan for the area, and I hope it goes the way of most such ridiculously high developments – and gets thrown out.

A look at the surrounding area shows that the proposed towers are about TWICE the height of most the existing building in the surrounding area.

It’s been pointed out in the past that some developers seem to determined to virtually cut off public access and public view to the river front, and create a nice little closed environment for their tenants.

Those that can afford to get to the river can enjoy it, while the rest of us end up being excluded, not only from access, but even most of the view.

Click for bigger.maps

Buchanan Wharf Development pic credit Drum Property Group via reGlasgow

Buchanan Wharf Development pic credit Drum Property Group via reGlasgow

There was one positive line.

For 324 flats…

There will be 324 secure cycle parking spaces. A ground floor car park will have 16 spaces.

I wonder how that will go down with the planning department?

Do the proposers really think there will be a mere 16 car owners living there?

Or is it more likely some 300 cars will somehow ‘vanish’ into the surrounding streets?

How about friends and visitors? Do they fold up their cars and stick them in their back pocket if they decide to visit?


16/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Organ recital – apparently both interesting and not so interesting at the same time

I’ve found the organ recitals at Kelvingrove can be a great opportunity to indulge in a little ‘people watching’.

I find it helps prevent me being carted off for occasional bouts of violent assault, as those who seem attracted to stand next to me also seem to be the ones who have no interest in the recital, and see it as some sort of opportunity to have loud discussions about something as vital as their next sh… (complete that well-known phrase for yourself).

I really don’t understand why I seem to be such an attraction for them, as a look around the balcony always seems to still mouths on just about everyone else.

It doesn’t really matter to me, as I’m a musical moron, and could go every day if I wanted to. But I do feel sorry for some people, especially some elderly/retired I have spoken to here, and who have perhaps made the visit as part of a one day trip to Glasgow and Kelvingrove.

However, it was the appearance of some useful technology that caught my eye first this week, with a large screen tablet (or maybe all-in-one PC) replacing the usual pile of musical scores sitting on the organ.

While some performers manage these well, I note that some of them end up with a pile of discards as they play, with some turning their own pages, and others employing the services of a page-turner. It’s like the stops, which some can alter while completely cross-armed and playing without missing a note, while others seem to need a break in the music, and change the stops during the silence, then resume.

This setup seemed to work well. Unlike paper, these pages don’t get stuck together, although I suppose they could be programmed to appear in the wrong order, so care is still needed.

High Tech Organ Music

High Tech Organ Music


Back on the people watching theme, I do wonder if everyone taking up space is there because they want to be.

It’s not unusual to find there are no space or seats at the start of a recital, only to find most of that same crowd has melted away before the performance has even reached the halfway point.

Somebody didn’t look to be too happy about being there.

I could be...

I could be…

On the other hand, the music could be a pleasant accompaniment to some nice quiet knitting (or similar, I couldn’t make out the detail, and she’d gone by the time I got downstairs for a closer look).

Musical knitting

Musical knitting

16/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

People’s Palace – still all there

For anyone wondering about the People’s Palace and the effects of any changes made since the closure at the start of the year – worry not.

I got there sooner than I expected to, and took advantage of the chance to get there shortly before closing yesterday.

It’s all still there (there are some unrelated changes and other fixes underway, but they don’t count), plus a new display in the temporary exhibition space upstairs.

Obviously, there’s no access to the Winter Garden/glasshouse. Corridors and doors that used to lead the public that way are no more.

New routes have been established for the lift and toilets, with the latter now directly accessed from the main entrance foyer.

Sadly, the large arched window that formerly provided a view into the glasshouse has been painted over, so is now just a plain white feature.

Peoples Palace Arched Window Obscured

People’s Palace Arched Window Obscured

The café that used to be in the glasshouse is now located in the space to the left of the doorway into the shop, where the counter can now be found.

This extends into the room/space at that side of the shop, which holds a display relating to Templeton’s carpet factory building which can be seen through that room’s window. Unfortunately, they managed to close the doors to that room just before I got my camera out.

The display was around the perimeter of the room anyway, so no changes really needed to be made to allow tables for the café to be added to the space.

Peoples Palace Old Shop New Cafe

People’s Palace Old Shop New Cafe

The temporary exhibition space on the top floor was created some time ago, and has already been home to a number of short exhibitions.

The space used to be dedicated to many of Glasgow’s industries, but sadly, for some reason best known to whoever sanctioned the change, all those artefacts were dispersed after the space was cleared and used for registration for the Monte Carlo Rally when it started from Glasgow some years ago.

Currently, it now holds a number of black & white prints from a collection of old pics taken by members of Glasgow’s camera clubs, and is well worth seeing.

The other notable change is the loss of the balcony that used to overlook the Winter Garden from the top floor of the People’s Palace, as this has been walled off.

I had been worried about access to the Viewing Gallery (or just Viewpoint) overlooking Glasgow Green and beyond, but am pleased to say that as this is part of the stairwell, when I pushed the door it didn’t set of an alarm, but still led to the gallery.

Today, the view showed the fair that was at the base of Nelson’s column was packing up and leaving.

Peoples Palace Viewing Gallery or Viewpoint

Peoples Palace Viewing Gallery or Viewpoint

Cycle parking – still there too

One of the problems I spotted arising from closing off direct access to the glasshouse was the unfortunate side effect of also blocking access to the new bike racks provided there, as they were installed immediately adjacent to the north door, so fall within the fenced off zone.

Fortunately, there is a second set of proper bike racks provided adjacent to the disabled parking area, located just to the left of the main entrance into the building.


Those paying attention may have noticed I missed something.

While I didn’t forget about spying out revisions to the emergency exits (a problem, as this was previously provided via the glasshouse doors), I did forget to pay attention to the detail, and note them.

I did notice the new corridors etc had the usual signs and arrows, after which I completely forgot I had meant to look at where they went.

Oh well… maybe next time.

16/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Could today have been our last chilly day for 2019’s spring?

I hate doing weather posts, they seem like the weather equivalent of ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ where Scotland’s weather is concerned.


The media was off again this evening:

Glasgow to be hotter than Barcelona for Easter bank holiday weekend as temperatures hit 21C

And this time I do have to say that the forecasts I watch and trust have been in agreement with prediction for more than a week.

Today was ALMOST not chilly.

At 6 am it looked grim and grey despite being sunrise.

By 9 am we had sunshine and blue skies.

BUT – poking the ‘test nose’ out of the door confirmed constant gusting winds which ensured things just did not feel warm.

Sadly, that gusting wind persisted throughout the day and into the evening. Things might have already been quite nice but for its chilling effect.

I really wish I could get a decent ‘Compare and Contrast’ pic of the way folk were dressed, but they never seem to come together. Suffice to say that while some seemed to be happy in t-shirts and shorts (not even carrying jackets, just in case), other were still firmly attached to their woolly hats, scarfs, gloves, and heavy jackets.

I’m addicted to carrying pockets full of ‘junk’ I need, so am usually attached to a decent jacket most of the time, and frankly needed it with today’s wind. It just never stopped gusting all day long.

But stepping indoors (to shops or similar) means it has to come off, or overheating kicks in fairly soon.

One irritation from the wind was thinking I’d like to get onto my bike, a thought that keeps arising whenever I’m indoors looking outside.

But then, as soon as I stepped outside, I’d remember the last ride I had in similar weather, which was not fun, especially when a gust came out of nowhere from side streets, or I was in a street where the wind was channelled into a headwind – which seemed to happen regardless of the direction I was travelling. The next few days STILL show gusts up to almost 25 mph, and that’s both significant, and NOT fun, even if the average is less than half of that figure.

I’d like the ‘chilly weather’ to go away now, and make way for the ‘nice tourist’ weather.

Nice Tourist

Nice Tourist

16/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | 2 Comments

The Maid of the Loch will open to visitors at Easter

Nice to see the Maid of the Loch continues to progress toward the ultimate goal of sailing on Loch Lomond once more.

Following a cash injection from the Scottish Government, the tearoom will be opening with guided tours of the ship and nearby Balloch Steam Slipway will be available.

Seems the work in hand will see the addition of a lift!

That will help in getting between decks – they never had things like that when the paddle steamer was originally in service.

From Easter weekend onwards, the Maid of the Loch will open every day until the end of October. Opening hours and any closures due to works on the ship will be posted online.

Some people like to be glum, but I’ve always held out for this restoration to have a successful conclusion, no matter how slow progress may seem at times.

I sailed on the Maid as a kid, only a few years before the paddle steamer was taken out of service and disappeared, so never even got the chance to go back.

Then I was wandering around a park somewhere at the bottom of the loch, near Balloch, and came across what seemed to be little more than the abandoned hull one day.

No Internet or easy way to ask about it then, so I’m afraid I forgot about the find (I didn’t even get a pic), and it was years later, as the recovery project was made public and an appeal was made for ‘scavenged’ parts to be returned to help with the restoration, that I learned it had not been scrapped.

  • Maid of the Loch was the last paddle steamer built in Britain.
  • It was built by A. & J. Inglis of Glasgow and was launched on March 5, 1953. It entered service later that year.
  • The ship operated on Loch Lomond for 29 years, and as with other steamers, cost pressures led to the ship being laid up after a last commercial sailing on August 31, 1981.
  • A series of attempts to bring the boat back into service under a succession of owners were unsuccessful, to which it gradually deteriorated at the side of the loch.
  • Since 2016, it has been undergoing restoration work at Balloch Pier thanks to The Loch Lomond Steamship Company.

Maid of the Loch set to open its doors on Easter weekend

I intend to make a serious attempt at a revisit to see the steamer. Last time I did it things went very badly, as I was able to drive, but my car’s battery decided to expire without warning in the car park near the Maid. Rather than a nice visit, I ended up spending the rest of the day getting buses, trains, other vehicles, and long walks in order to get a new battery and rescue my car.

This time I’ll either cycle (I did just over half the trip last year, and it was easy) – even though the Glasgow/Balloch is reputedly one many try, but never finish 🙂

Alternatively, I’ve been looking at alternate transport I can afford (ie free) and found that the same route that can me to Helensburgh also goes to Balloch, so might be a nice day out.

I need a decent pic.

When I last visited and actually took a digital pic, the camera I used was so down-market (at the time, a 1 MP Olympus cost around £560 – I know because I had to buy one for work) that it only pretended to take a 640×480 pixel image. In reality, the resolution was about half of that, and it interpolated the capture to scale it to that number.

I don’t even have those image, or I do, but the barely used hard drive they were stored on failed, and fixing/recovering is a job I need to get around to one day. Before you ask, IT was the backup, and only had a few hours use before going wonky. Of course, it was also the only backup drive I’ve ever really needed , as the source did fail.


Was there ever any follow-up to the incident that occurred during the slipping of the vessel some months back?

I don’t recall seeing anything in the news after the initial report, and the media had looked as if it was going to feed well on it.

16/04/2019 Posted by | council, Maritime, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments


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