Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Damn! Kelvingrove’s not that far from Charing Cross

I used to go for some fairly long walks, especially when I had long days to kill – 3 hours out, and 3 hours back can eat up a day, especially if you mess about while stopping to take pics.

Not sure what’s changed, but while I still walk a few miles most days, the long ones seem to have melted away as I can’t find the time for them.

One ‘extension’ I pondered, but never followed, was the stretch from Charing Cross to Kelvingrove.

I often looked along St Vincent Street, or Sauchiehall Street, but always turned around, remembering that I still had to walk back home after getting there.

I never checked the distance, but it’s only about a mile, or 20 minutes, so would actually have been fine – but it just felt a lot longer when I ran the route in my head.

I’m not sure what the walking distance would be (maybe I’ll have to step it out one day) but I do know that between the bus, or the bike, the distance travelled is between 7 and 8 miles. However, unlike those two routes, which have to wander around a bit to suit the roads, walking can be considerably shorter as it can be more direct, so would be less than either of those alternatives.

The view below shows the route I wandered along when I decided to take a wander through Kelvingrove Park after leaving the museum.

By the time I got to the memorial at the Park Circus gate (the houses right of centre), it seemed daft to head back, so I just carried on to Charing Cross.

While this was not even the most direct route, it seemed to take very little time, and would have been even quicker/shorter had I left the park at the Claremont Gardens gate, and headed to Charing Cross from there, which is almost a straight and direct route.

Kelvingrove To Charing Cross

Kelvingrove To Charing Cross

22/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maps, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

SatNav (and female) – still good for avoiding DUI charges :)

“The SatNav MADE me do it!”

I’m still amazed to see that careless driving still has a universal ‘Get of Jail Free’ card that appears to work to this day.

I find it both disturbing and intriguing to read stories of careless driving that have no mention of charges being made against the driver (of sometimes serious results and consequences) if they are able to point at their SatNav and say “The SatNav MADE me do it!”

(I’d make a joke about how females get away with motoring offences, but the PC brigade would come down on me, so you’ll just have to use your own imagination for that one now.)

It’s almost as if the authorities give them a pat on the head, a nice warm cup of tea, and some soothing words to help prevent them from suffering trauma as a result of the evil SatNav’s influence over them, and subsequent PTSD.

A car had to be recovered by the coastguard after a driver followed sat-nav instructions on to an Ayrshire beach and got stranded.

The Vauxhall Corsa with two women on board had travelled from Glasgow and was following instructions to get to Irvine Beach Park.

However, the sat-nav directed them down an access road onto the beach.

Both the driver and passenger were safe and the vehicle was pushed off the beach before high tide.

North Ayrshire beach rescue after sat-nav blunder

No mention of charges, not even the cost of calling out the coastguard and lifeboats, or the recovery of their vehicle.

According to the article, MANY were called…

“Both Troon RNLI lifeboats, Ayr and Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Teams were sent.”

When they hear the circumstances, maybe they should all have stayed in, and let Darwin Law take its natural course.

SatNav User Fines


Grumpy sees Stupid People

23/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, Maps, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Seldom mentioned Glasgow Green Boundary kerb stones

Another of those pics I’ve never got around to using, this time a look at one of the ‘GREEN BOUNDARY’ kerb stones which can be found around Glasgow Green.

Find these on Greenhead Street, maybe elsewhere too, as I’ve never gone looking for more, but there are a number to be found in that area.

No explanation needed.

Glasgow Green Boundary Stone

Glasgow Green Boundary Stone

23/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maps, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Just for fun – Seven interesting facts about Glasgow Green reviewed

I spotted this article a few days ago, and it’s stuck in my mind as it is one of the few sources that has come up with some genuinely interesting AND little known facts about Glasgow Green, so I think it merits ‘Special Mention’ in recognition of that.

I’ve mentioned some of them in the past, so will add links.

However, I’m more intrigued by some of the others, which I’ve simply no memory of whatsover, despite having a number of books that cover the Green, and even some specific volumes that claim to tell of the lesser known aspects of Glasgow and its features.

  1. It was once home to a large bandstand and amphitheatre
  2. It was the former home of Paddy’s Market
  3. A ‘super baths’  was nearly built in it
  4. It used to have a train station
  5. It was home to Glasgow’s first golf course
  6. It nearly became the site of a coal mine
  7. Every Glaswegian has the right to hang out their washin’ there

I came across this one only recently, when I was digging up info on the (now non-existent) bandstand in Tollcross Park. These features were much more prominent in the past, as noted in Kelvingrove Park, and when live music at outdoor venues was the norm. I haven’t mentioned it before as it didn’t come with much detail or pics (unlike Tollcross Park, which has quite a good history). Guess I should go dig into this one day, a pic would be nice.

Paddy’s Market was a bit of a surprise, probably because I only knew if it in its ‘modern’ location at the railway arches, where it is also no longer.

Second surprise in a row, I’ve never come across mention of these plans for baths between Nelson’s Column and the People’s Palace. Lucky the war intervened, and they were abandoned (but apparently not until 1950!)

Train Station – OK, that’s an easy one, although it was razed. One day, I will digitise my film pics, and have pics of when it was there.

Glasgow Green Station 2013

Glasgow Green Station 2013

A third surprise. I find it amazing that none of the histories I’ve read referring to Glasgow Green don’t seem to have bothered mentioning this.

The coal mine was such an affront, and apparently raised a number of times, that it gets mentioned in most accounts. Fortunately always voted down by the good people of Glasgow whenever they got to hear about the idea. So, the coal is STILL down there.

Glasgow Green’s life as a drying green is well-known, as is the people’s right to use it.

Glasgow Green

Glasgow Green

Seven interesting facts you might not know about Glasgow Green


03/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost, Maps, photography | | Leave a comment

Unbelievable! TWO positive drone stories in a row!

After noting a positive drone story yesterday, regarding their potential application in the delivery of medical supplies in remote parts of Scotland.

I’m shocked and stunned to see ANOTHER one today.

A 3D digital map of Canna and Sanday has been created to provide a new perspective of the isles’ archaeology.

A fixed-wing drone was used to take more than 4,000 photographs of the islands, which are managed by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).

NTS said Canna and Sanday in the Small Isles had been the subject of the most detailed mapping exercise ever undertaken of any islands in the world.

The project has mapped the location of dozens of archaeological sites.

New sites were also found in the photographs taken by the drone.

Paul Georgie, of GeoGeo, said his team spent five days on Canna in “miraculously calm and clear weather”, with the drone navigating itself over a total distance of 248 miles (400km).

Drone’s mapping of Canna and Sanday ‘a world first’

I’m even more intrigued to see the project utilised a fixed wing drone, and did not just fall in line with the fad for rotary wing types.


Fixed Wing Drone Pic Credit GeoGeo

Fixed Wing Drone Pic Credit GeoGeo

It’s a shame that it’s usually the lowest common denominator moron drone misuse and abuse stories that hit the headlines and get all the publicity.

01/02/2019 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, Maps, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

So THAT’s what an ‘urbanist’ is

The Urbanist

I was intrigued to read this, as I’d occasionally come across the term ‘urbanist’ when reading articles in architectural journals, but had never really bothered to go look for a definition, and was content just to go with my own assumption about what the term meant. Thankfully, that thought wasn’t too far off the mark, and probably covers an even greater range than I had imagined.

I never realised it was a job!

GLASGOW City Council has appointed Professor Brian Evans as its first city urbanist.

The part-time role will see Professor Evans work with councillors, officers, the design community, and city partners and stakeholders to enhance Glasgow’s approach to place-making and connectivity. He will also see s act as a bridge between the council, communities and developers.

Professor Evans is a professor in urbanism and landscape at The Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh School of Architecture, and one of the UK’s leading urbanists

He will work with politicians and senior officers to develop and embed an approach to ‘place quality’ in plans and strategies that affect housing, business, environment, transport and place connectivity.

GLASGOW Appoints Its First City Urbanist

Randomly selected online dictionary definition:

urbanist (ŭrˈbə-nĭst)

n. A specialist in the study and planning of cities.


25/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maps, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Tree lined avenue surprise

By sheer chance, I made a VERY surprising discovery while wandering around a few days ago.

Some nearby land is being proposed for development (houses), and there has been some upset about this as the land has some very old trees on it. I don’t know how this is progressing. After some initial publicity about objections, there’s been silence.

The land was fenced off, having once been used for animals, but this seems long forgotten. Although I did actually find some related buildings and other evidence was still there, were a house used to stand, and the land had been used for a riding school.

While wandering along some recently made paths alongside this piece of land, I noticed the fence was completely gone at a number of spots, and decided that if the local kids could go there and have little bonfires and drinking parties, I could go for a walk there – during daylight of course, when the little angels are not to be seen.

I know the land belonged to a ‘Big House’, but that was lost some time in the 1930s (leaving only a lodge on the land), and the land was then cut through by a new road some time around 1960.

I hadn’t expected to find anything of interest, but as I wandered through the trees I DID!

The tree-lined avenue that would have led from the entrance to the grounds of the Big House to its forecourt was STILL in evidence, and the avenue suddenly became apparent as I crossed its path and the trees on either side suddenly lined up.

This was a complete surprise.

I really should go back and take some more pics, in case that development gets planning permission.

I only grabbed one view, so I could dig out Victorian era maps of the estate, and see if the avenue and its trees were shown as I believed I had found them.

They were.

Big House Tree Lined Avenue

Big House Tree Lined Avenue

I think this is only the third such example I have ever come across when on the land of one of Glasgow’s many ‘Lost’ Big Houses.

12/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, Maps, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Looks like I really do live down a cold hole

After a couple of years of noticing an odd weather (or is it local climate) effect, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m NOT imagining it.

This year in particular, with its apparently milder start to the winter season compared to recent years, has made this effect even more noticeable for me.

What I find is that I can either be at home, or wandering the local streets, and think the day is freezing (which it is, both by looking at the ground, and reading thermometers). But, if I have to go out, once I get about a mile away, it’s always warmer.

I used to think I was just imagining this, as walking a mile takes 15-20 minutes, so you should be warming up anyway. But, that wouldn’t explain the lack of ice/frost, or frozen ground, which I might just have walked through near home, but is not present once I’ve walked that mile.

Tonight, I found another confirmation after decided to cycle to the shops.

The road past my door is gritted regularly, and the gritters have been out, so it was fine.

Then I turned off it – and found myself being VERY cautious. There was a nice, sparkly, coating of ice on the road.

Yet when I was coming up to that first mile – all was well again, and there was no ice on the back streets near the shops.

At least I knew to be extra careful as I headed home.

Hydraulic disk brakes on bikes – absolute MAGIC!

I also note that Glasgow City council (you know, the council I suggest local people STOP slagging off, and actually LOOK at what it does) published its ‘Bad Weather’ policy statement a few weeks ago, and that included a commitment to have its gritters not only working on established critical roads, but also cycle paths and routes with them.

While they can’t clear EVERY road and route, it does mean that they are NOT ignoring cyclists, as perhaps the damned ‘cycling activists’ might want us to believe.

We even have an online Gritter Tracker

Apparently the tracker is worth looking at just for fun, as out gritters have names, such as ‘Gritty Gritty Bang Bang’.

But, we don’t have these though (as far as I know).

10/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maps, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aberdeen joins Glasgow as ‘special’ Soviet era target

Striking me as slightly pointless if we are/were to believe the anti-nuclear loonies, Glasgow was mapped in detail by the Soviets back in the days of the Cold War.

Purpose unclear, since the anti-nuclear brigade was assuring everyone that Glasgow would be amongst the first places to be wiped off the face of the Earth, because… Holy Loch nuclear sub base!

Had they not turned it into a big hole, they might have moved their dachas here, we are on the same latitude as Moscow.

Now it seems that Aberdeen was treated to a similar mapping exercise.

A Soviet map of Aberdeen compiled by undercover operatives in 1981 showing strategic locations for invasion has come to light after cash-starved employees sought revenge against their former paymasters after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The map is revealed in a new book examining 500 years of military mapping in Scotland.

The detailed map of Aberdeen, a city which suffered severe bombing during the Second World War, gives precise measurements of many features, including the widths and lengths of the Victoria Bridge and Wellington Suspension Bridge over the River Dee.

The mapmakers colour-coded buildings by function – green for military, purple for civil administration, black for industrial and brown for residential. This is accompanied by a ‘spravka’ essay of more than 1,800 words focusing on 58 important objects, which notes the coastal area north of the city is “suitable for amphibious landing” and the impressive “harbour dockage facilities can provide complete overhaul of vessels, including destroyers”.

The spravka included details such as the land around the city being “dissected by deep river valleys that are the major obstacles for non-road mobile machinery”, that its quarries could be used for shelters and that “Aberdeen seaport is the major maintenance base for oil deposits in the North Sea”.

Scotland: Defending The Nation – Mapping A Military Landscape by Carolyn Anderson and Christopher Fleet includes military maps from the 15th century.

Revealed – Soviet spies’ secret map of Aberdeen, a city ripe for invasion

Maybe somebody realised they’d made a mistake by mapping Glasgow, that it would become a smoking, glowing, wasteland after the few minutes it would take for World War III to be completed, and that they’d better have a nice wee bolthole for their masters to retire to, before they ‘disappeared’.

It’s a long time since those Glasgow maps were revealed, and unless my memory is really bad (possible) there was some amusement to be had by the media back then, as the tired old hacks tried to raise a laugh by pointing out mistakes or misunderstandings on the Russian map.

I don’t see anything similar in the Aberdeen article – maybe the workers that made those mistakes… ‘disappeared’.


Viewing Russian maps

I’m not sure if there are other resources (online), but since the first Russian maps of Glasgow appeared many years ago, I have relied on Old-Maps for my regular viewing of the material.

For my purposes, all the material is free. (there are some conditions, but not usually relevant).

I had a quick look, and confirmed that they also have Russian maps of Aberdeen available.

Find them here…


Serious Cat

Serious Cat


09/12/2018 Posted by | Cold War, Maps, military | , | Leave a comment

Just a couple of Glasgow’s pedestrian direction signs, and an observation

I highlighted one of the sign installed a few years ago, for pedestrians and cyclists travelling around the Glasgow area, as it had a bit of an anomaly regarding how long it might take to walk from it to the entrance to Tollcross Park.

I wasn’t sure if they were to be permanent fixtures, or just installed for an event, but it looks as if they’re there to stay, so I thought another couple of examples might be in order, especially since one of them raised another question.

Both examples are just chance grabs, when they caught my eye one day.

The first is pretty simple, but still makes me wonder about some of the detail.

In this case, showing 7 minutes to the Forge Shopping Centre, and 10 minutes to Parkhead Cross.

That’s a difference of 3 minutes. Granted this is a small time interval, but you’d have to trip and fall a few times if you tool that long to get from the Forge to the Cross.

Glasgow Direction Sign

Glasgow Direction Sign

The second one caught my eye after I noticed the time difference between walking to Glasgow Cross, and then on to the City Centre, as seen on the highlighted sign on the right.

A difference of 12 minutes, or around half a mile – just doesn’t feel ‘right’.

This is actually more or less matched by the first sign, which I later noted shows 28 minutes to Glasgow Cross, and 40 minutes to the City Centre, also 12 minutes.

Glasgow Direction Sign

Glasgow Direction Sign

I guess the simple explanation is that a local thinks of these destinations as areas, rather than points (on a map), so perceives those time and distances in terms of reaching the edges of those areas, while the times on the signs are calculated between fixed reference points.


14/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maps, photography | , | Leave a comment

It’s official at last – If you’re not from Shetland, you’re as thick as two short planks

While it might seem to be eminently sensible to bring remote islands onto a map placing them in a box, thereby retaining the larger scale representation of the land mass (for a given size of page, for example), and avoiding most of the map being sea, it seems that’s not so.

Apparently everyone is too dumb to realise the islands have been moved closer to the mainland, and therefore have no idea how far away, isolated, and hard to reach those islands are.

The box has now been banned!

I’ll let them explain – I have to take a moment to go bang my head off a nice soft wall for a while, or at least until it stops hurting.

New rules barring public bodies from putting Shetland in a box on official documents have come into force.

Islands MSP Tavish Scott had sought to change the law to ban the “geographical mistake” which “irks” locals, by amending the Islands (Scotland) Bill.

The bill’s “mapping requirement” has now come into force, although it does give bodies a get-out clause if they provide reasons why a box must be used.

Mapmakers argue that boxes help avoid “publishing maps which are mostly sea”.

The Islands Bill, which aims to offer greater protections and powers to Scotland’s island communities, was unanimously passed in May.

It gives island councils extra powers over activities on and around their coastlines and requires ministers to have a long-term plan for improvement.

Thanks to an amendment from Mr Scott, it also includes a “Shetland mapping requirement”.

The Lib Dem MSP said the common practice of placing Shetland in a box off the Moray Firth or the Aberdeenshire coast was “intensely annoying” to islanders, and created a false impression of the challenges they face on account of their remote location.

Ban on putting Shetland in a box on maps comes into force

Nice one Shetland.

I wonder if the only factory in the world that makes blue ink for printers is on Shetland?

Let’s see how long it takes for the good folk of Rockall to follow suit.

An offending example of how NOT to do it now,

And there was me thinking I could just have paddled across to Shetland when I was up in places like Fraserburgh.

I could have DIED!

The Shetland Box

The Shetland Box

And why not – time to buy those shares of ‘Blue’.

New Scottish Map

New Scottish Map

The real reason I made this post is down to the relative ease and frequency with which some laws can be made nowadays (not just for the box, bit for too many other items which don’t need or merit ‘a law’), while other, far more important and life-critical legislation can languish in the system for years before making progress.

04/10/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maps | , | Leave a comment

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