Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Animal cruelty as a precursor to human violence – has the link reached Scotland at last?

I’ve mentioned the real need for animal abusers to be turned in and caught on a number of occasions.

While I haven’t tripped over any local studies linking the two, I’ve come across a number of papers prepared outside the UK where researchers believe they have established an unfortunate pattern in studies of animal abusers – deliberately, or subconsciously, there’s a serious probability that they’re just practising, starting small  (since they’re cowards at heart), and using animal abuse as a means of making that first step to towards child abuse, adult abuse, and worse.

The Scottish SPCA is teaming up with the University of Edinburgh to explore the link between animal cruelty and human violence.

A specialist conference and knowledge exchange event will raise awareness of intentional and unintentional animal cruelty, its connections with human-directed violence and child abuse, and how this can sometimes be a precursor to further crimes.

The event will examine the ramifications of animal cruelty and provide information on interventions.

It will also include guidance for professionals on recognising non-accidental injury in animals.

Gilly Mendes Ferreira, Scottish SPCA head of education and policy, said: “By highlighting the implications of animal cruelty in young people, we can encourage and advise on the best steps to address this behaviour.

“By doing this, we can help professionals who work with young people and/or animals to recognise, and report, concerning actions.

Those attending will get to learn about the Scottish SPCA’s Animal Guardians Programme, the latest research being conducted by the Child, Adolescent and Animals Research (CAAR) team at the University of Edinburgh, and hear a keynote speech by Phil Arkow – coordinator of the National Link Coalition, the national resource centre on the link between animal abuse and human violence in the United States.

Jo Williams, professor of applied developmental psychology, clinical and health psychology, added: “This landmark conference will focus on animal cruelty and its links to adverse childhood experiences and human violence.

The conference will take place on September 9 at the Playfair Library Hall in Edinburgh.

Exploring the link between animal cruelty and human violence

Follow this link for further details…

Programme for the Scottish SPCA and University of Edinburgh conference highlighting link between animal cruelty and human violence

I wasn’t going to attach a graphic – most turn out to be connected with animal activists, and they’re almost as bad, or maybe worse, since they consider they have ‘right’ on their side, and don’t seem to care about harming humans.

But I found this while having a look, and thought it would do, since it’s just a list of facts, extracted from a slide presentation to officers.

Animal abusers turned human predators

Animal abusers turned human predators

16/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S43

It’s the first anniversary of the big fire, and it seems it’s not been forgotten.

Although there’s little external evidence of ongoing activity at the remains of the Mackintosh Building (I know, I’ve been past it a few times, with little new to see), it seems that work is still being undertaken on a daily basis to make the structure safe, and parts are still being deconstructed.

Glasgow School of Art has re-affirmed its commitment to restoring the Mackintosh building, one year after it was ravaged by a tragic fire.

On the evening of Friday June 18, 2018, firefighters raced to the city centre blaze which had engulfed the Mack. When the fire was finally extinguished, a scene of devastation was left behind.

Ever since, Glaswegians have been left wondering whether we will ever see the Mack in its full glory again – the building was just months away from completion after being gutted during another major fire in 2014.

Yet Glasgow School of Art has this week confirmed to Glasgow Live the school’s intention to restore the building in honour of Charles Rennie Mackinstosh.

They said: “The Glasgow School of Art is committed to rebuilding the Mack as Mackintosh envisaged it. We will be bringing it back for our students, for the people of Glasgow and the wider world.

“This Friday will see 2019 Graduation which will be a day of celebration for our amazing students following a hugely successful Degree Show. Many will them will then be exhibiting work in London at the annual graduate showcases.

“We are focusing on this.”

However investigations into the fire continue, with Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service both involved – it is still unclear what sparked the blaze, with the building then under the day-to-day control of Kier Construction.

When asked by Glasgow Live what stage their inquiries are at, an SFRS spokesperson commented: “The investigation is still ongoing”.

Glasgow School of Art committed to restoring Mackintosh building one year after fire

Investigators are entering the final phases of their probe into the fire which devastated Glasgow School of Art.

The world-renowned Mackintosh building was extensively damaged when a blaze broke out on 15 June last year.

A year on, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said several hundred tonnes of debris still had to be removed from the remains of the building.

Neighbours of the art school told BBC Scotland they were eager to find out the results of the investigation.

Investigators have examined two sectors of the building following the removal of 400 tonnes of charred wreckage, according to the Scottish fire service.

They have also scoured hundreds of hours of CCTV footage and taken witness statements.

But before the final stages of the investigation can take place, more debris needs to be taken away from the “complex site”.

SFRS Assistant Chief Officer Ross Haggart said the fire service was working alongside on-site contractors to have the “significant volume” of remaining fire debris removed.

He added: “The fire investigation remains focused on likely origin and cause – but against the backdrop of an unprecedented large scale fire scene within a complex and challenging site.

“Our fire investigation team is working hard based on what remains within the building once the debris is removed, alongside all other evidence available to them.”

The probe is being led by fire service group manager David Dourley, who said the final phases of the investigation would be “challenging” due to the volume of debris.

“It is also a challenging site and we will require, at times, to work within confined spaces,” he said.

“But safety is paramount and each time we move to begin an excavation or go onto the site we will consult with Glasgow School of Art and also the on-site contractor.”

Earlier this year, the school of art was criticised by Holyrood’s culture committee, which found bosses did not give sufficient priority to safeguarding the building.

It has also faced criticism from some local residents and businesses who were unable to return to their properties for several months.

Ms Simpson said: “I want to know who is responsible for the fire because it is somebody’s fault. There is somebody, or a variety of bodies, that were to blame but you need to see the facts first before you start shouting ‘it was your fault’.

‘Final phases’ of Glasgow art school fire investigation

Probe into Glasgow Art School fire moves into final phases

And the ‘forgotten’…

To many Glaswegians, the major fire at the School of Art may seem like it was just yesterday, but for the residents of Garnethill this has been the longest year.

12 months ago, on Friday June 15, the area was devastated by a huge blaze which engulfed the heart of the community – the world renowned Mackintosh building.

Not only did the residents have to suffer the sight of ‘a fireball falling from the heavens’ on their very own doorsteps, some were unable to access their homes for three months in the fall-out from the fire.

Yet there is finally hope for those living in Garnethill and optimism for the future. During a deeply traumatic time, community spirit has never been stronger.

In the week in which Glasgow Live reported the School of Art’s unequivocal commitment to have the Mack reconstructed “as Mackintosh envisaged it”, we had the opportunity to speak to chair of Garnethill Community Council, Jane Sutherland, about the experiences of the area’s residents over the last year.

Recalling the night of June 18, Jane said: “It was very frightening – it was a very scary night.

“We were all out on the streets, watching a fireball fall from the heavens. It really was terrifying.

“The firefighters looked like they had water pistols on it. It was an absolute inferno. I think they expressed on the night that some of them had never seen anything like it. I believe it was visible as far afield as Motherwell. It really was like a volcano.”

While the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland’s investigations into the blaze continue, the scars of that evening are still understandably apparent, yet there’s a sense from Jane things are starting to move in the right direction.

She explained: “I think there is a traumatised community.

“As you can imagine, it’s been an exceptionally challenging time, for all of the residents in Garnethill and for all the people who work here as well, because access to Garnethill is very restricted and that’s the ongoing day-to-day problems.

“It’s also been difficult with access because of the Sauchiehall Street Avenues project – slowly that’s all opening up and that will see a boost and an improvement to the fabric of the neighbourhood – bring a bit of cheer to faces.

“It’s been really hard-going with all of that building work and all of the building work going on at the Mack and the Reid Building. Renfrew Street is still closed, and looks like it might be for sometime yet, which restricts access.

“The thing is not just to dwell on the challenges of it, how hard it’s been – it has been shockingly hard – it’s the efforts the community and the Art School, all kinds of groups, have been working very, very hard since the fire to improve the community relations and see what good we can bring out of this.”

And in spite of initial difficulties, the relationship between the School of Art and local residents has now strengthened, while the city has given its backing to local community projects helping to renew Garnethill’s sense of purpose.

Jane added: “Since November, I think the Art School have recognised their communications with the community wasn’t as good as it should have been. I think they’ve made sterling efforts to really integrate into the community here, and offer opportunities for practical help and assistance.

Glasgow Art School fire – traumatised Garnethill residents reflect on ‘shockingly hard’ year

I’ll just leave these here…

Remembering the Glasgow Art School fire – one year on from devastating blaze

02 ABC one year on from Glasgow Art School blaze – here’s what’s happening


Mackintosh Building Renfrew Street

Mackintosh Building Renfrew Street


16/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Slightly odd, maybe even worrying – St Kilda named by ‘leading travel bible’

While it’s never going to be the easiest place to get to, St Kilda is a place I tend to think of as being protected, if not subject to visitor restrictions.

It’s not very big either, and the ‘Points of Interest’ are few, meaning that any visitors (tourists) will tend to tread the same path, so the arrival of increased numbers could lead to serious damage and erosion. And, while NOBODY does it (aye, right), it would take many people collecting some little a souvenir of their visit to leave the place looking pretty poor.

I don’t pay any attention to social media, or online reviews, but that doesn’t mean I’m not aware that many thousands of people do, virtually worship the people or sites that they follow, and mindlessly following any recommendation they make.

I hope this accolade doesn’t turn into a Death Note for St Kilda.

St Kilda, the remote cluster of islands lying more than 40 miles off the coast of the Outer Hebrides, have been named one of the most beautiful places in Europe by one of the world’s leading travel bibles.

Conde Nast Traveler has hailed the “unforgettable ocean views and unique ecosystem” of the Unesco World Heritage Site, which is 100 miles from mainland Scotland and was evacuated by its last permanent residents in 1930.

However an estimated 5000 visitors now flocking to the largest island each year thanks to the growing popularity of boat trips from Skye and Harris, the quickest of which still take nearly three hours.

They are drawn to an abandoned village dating back to the 19th century, its spectacular coastline, the highest sea stacks and cliffs in Britain, and Europe’s most important seabird colony.

St Kilda, which has been owned by the National Trust For Scotland since 1957, is the UK’s only dual World Heritage Site, recognised for its cultural and natural significance.

The archipelago, which lies 40 miles west of North Uist, has now been rated alongside Biarritz, in France, the Dolomites in Italy, Lapland in Finland, and the Swiss Alps by Conde Nast Traveler, which has showcased what it describes of 20 of the most breathtaking landscapes across Europe.

The travel website states: “This cliff-dotted archipelago along the western coast of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides has unforgettable ocean views and a unique ecosystem.

“Visitors can encounter hoards marine life on one of the many ocean tours offered by local boating companies, while those without sea legs can also explore the area’s ancient ruins.”

St Kilda named one of ‘the most beautiful places in Europe’

Pity Conde Nast Traveller doesn’t have a proofreader checking their article.

Two absolute howlers are immediately obvious – not only did they use the wrong word hoards (stuff that’s been gathered or collected, possibly in secret) instead of hordes (a vast multitude), the didn’t notice they’d missed out the word ‘of’ after it!

Then they managed to misspell the name of the very archipelago they were featuring.

It’s name really is St Kilda *with no full stop after the St), rather than St. Kilda, which they unfortunately used.

This screen grab of their entry shows…

Conde Nast Traveller St Kilda name error

Conde Nast Traveller St Kilda name error

Probably better to go see the display in Kelvingrove, and not to any damage to the site.

Easier to get to as well.

St Kilda Goat

St Kilda

16/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Cold War, military, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Surprise? The Italian Job coach died in Scotland

We can only wonder at what it might have been worth if it had not been scrapped.

At a time when a rare and original James Bond Aston Martin DB5 is about to go to auction (used by Eon Productions to promote 1965 film Thunderball) and is expected to raise anything up to £5 million (and ‘ordinary’ example might make at least £750,000 at the moment), it seems the coach which was seen hanging precariously over a cliff edge at the end of The Italian Job had an interesting life afterwards, but was lost (scrapped) before film memorabilia ‘investment’ could save it.

“After that, like all movies, you sell off assets that you don’t need anymore and this coach went back to being a passenger vehicle. Up until 1979 that’s what it did and it ended up in Anstruther.”

The coach was used by the Craw’s Nest Hotel, run by the family of radio and TV presenter Edith Bowman, and was driven by her grandfather.

After being converted back into a passenger vehicle, the bus operated in Blackpool, Liverpool and later Kirriemuir in Perthshire where it was used by local firm Meffan for school runs. It was later bought by racing driver Archie Cromar, in Anstruther, and converted — like in the film — into a transporter for his Formula Ford racing car.

The bus had another two owners before it was scrapped by Burnside Motors in Leven around 1990.

Cliffhanger coach from The Italian Job ends its days in Fife

Oops, somebody missed a chance there.

Since the article quoted used the inevitable ‘cliffhanger’ shot, I’ll go with a nice pic of the coach.

Find more views of this lost star in the source.

Italian Job Bedford VAL 14

Italian Job Bedford VAL 14

This story’s not really that unusual for vehicles used in, or produced for, TV and films of the time.

They were often impractical, if not almost undrivable due to the odd styling and modifications carried out, or damage inflicted during shooting.

Many specials were lost over the years, as can be seen in this feature on Straker’s car from Gerry Anderson’s TV series UFO.

16/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Buchanan Wharf development seems to be trying to save buildings at risk

While the damned ‘activist’ types whine about buildings that are not being used, or potentially being lost (while not actually doing anything useful, other than whining and giving the rest of us sore heads), I prefer to watch what might be being done to help.

A while ago (say a year or two) I started passing through the Tradeston area, which is now known as the site of a development known as Buchanan Wharf. Very derelict and run down, I noticed the worst of the remaining building were slowly disappearing – but not all – even though at least one was looking very ‘At risk’, yet surprisingly remained.

As recently as 1950 there were 73 buildings on the area bounded by Clyde Place, West Street, Kingston Street, and Commerce Street 0 the area where Buchanan Wharf is now being constructed. The buildings provided a variety of uses ranging from engineering sheds to offices.

Dating from the 1870s, two remain, with one marked for transformation as part of the plan, while the other had an uncertain future. Now it seems that building may also have a future.

The so-called Beco building on Kingston Street is the only part of the three-block location that is so far not part of the transformation which will include a campus for Barclays Bank that will accommodate thousands of workers.

But the latest statement about Buchanan Wharf submitted to Glasgow City planners explains: “It should be noted that Drum [Property Group] and Barclays [Bank] now have a degree of control of the Beco building.

“As part of the overall regeneration, the developers and Barclays are committed to saving the Beco building and will continue to negotiate to acquire residual ownerships and look at other options of achieving full control with the City Council.

“Securing the future of the Beco building is very much part of the holistic approach which Drum and Barclays are taking towards the regeneration of this part of Tradeston.

“The Beco building is decaying and has been vacant for several years; due to vandalism and neglect its appearance and condition is very poor.”

The statement continues: “Its appearance and also its condition has led the Beco building to be included in the Buildings at Risk Register.

“Currently, the upper floors are thought to have been laying vacant since at least 2004 whilst the ground floor is still in use.”

BUCHANAN Wharf Developers ‘Committed To Saving’ Second Listed Building At The Tradeston Site

I had intended to grab a pic as I’ve passed through this area recently, but can’t make it at the moment.

Instead, I’ve (hopefully) embedded Google’s oldest Street View images of the area.

These date back to 2008, and show the place was already derelict, and if you zoom into the white sign with the blue writing, you’ll see that the place was supposedly already being regenerated.

11 years on – not a lot had changed, other than the land being used for car parks wasn’t being used for car parks.

Worth bearing in mind when various Green Loonies tell you Glasgow is congested and the place is jammed solid with cars. They really are overdoing their message nowadays, and don’t seem to have realised the place is half-empty!

But if they admitted that, well, they’d have no reason to make irritating whiny noises and be permanently angry.

16/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Fudge Day

16 June is Fudge Day.

Fudge is a soft, smooth confectionery made by heating and mixing milk, butter and sugar (at the right temperature).

Like tablet and caramel, I favour fudge over toffee. It’s just so much nicer, and not tough, hard, or too keen to do an impression of super-glue against any teeth.

I also tend to prefer my fudge plain, but then again, a dash of chocolate never hurt anything.

That’s all.

Plain Fudge

Plain Fudge

16/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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