Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Inland boatyard found in Westburn

I find some odd things lying around – this time, dead boats in Westburn.

The last time I saw anything like this was in Shettleston, where somebody with a bit of fenced off spare ground stores assorted ruined cars, but on one occasion picked up half-a-dozen or so various small speedboats. Not fast ones, just small craft with cabins, and better than rowing boats. They disappeared after a year or two.

Those boats were ‘Gin Palaces’ compared to the ones I spotted in the back lot of factory in Westburn.

These have definitely seen better days, and aren’t likely to be snapped up by anyone out for a quick bargain.

I actually thought it was just one boat there, but as I walked further along the road and got a better view, realised that two boats had been dumped there.

I doubt these are going to be restored any day soon, or see water – other than rain – again.

Westburn Derelict Boats

Westburn Derelict Boats

July 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography | , , | 1 Comment

Anstruther exhibition honours fishermen killed in the First World War

submarine

World War I was not confined to the more well known venue of The Front, but also extended into the sea, with German submarines deployed in order to disrupt supplies – fishermen working off the coast were potential targets:

A new exhibition has been launched to honour the fishermen who died in service during the First World War.

Anstruther was one of the fishing communities affected when war broke out, as fishermen were called to fight.

Many men from Scotland’s fishing industry went to fight in the conflict, and fishing regions were highly affected by the injuries and casualties they suffered.

David Christie from Anstruther sank a German U-boat in 1918. His granddaughter Davina Knox has the casing of the shell and his medal.

She said: “They were on a drifter patrolling the Irish Channel and they only had one gun on board the ship and this U-boat must have come up and they had a wee battle seemingly and they fired a direct hit and they took the 36 men prisoner. There was no loss of life.”

David Christie’s story features in a new exhibition at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in the town.

via Anstruther exhibition honours fishermen killed in the First World War | Dundee & Tayside | News.

The First World War had both personal and collective impacts on those involved, whether they were away fighting or at home.  In this exhibition we explore the specific effects that the war had on those who made their living from the sea.  Using objects from our collections and individual stories of those affected we paint a national picture of the war in Scotland’s coastal communities.

At the beginning of the war many fishermen entered the services and swapped the familiar hazards of life at sea for the dangers of the trenches or naval work.  For those who stayed at home fishing became severely restricted.  Fishermen were left with very small areas left to fish in and many boats were requisitioned for the Navy.

Exhibition Dates:

28th June – 26th October

Entry : included in museum admission, accompanied children FREE

A Shared Experience · What’s on · Scottish Fisheries Museum

June 30, 2014 Posted by | Maritime, military, Naval, Transport, World War I | , | Leave a comment

Helensburgh submarine museum funding on council agenda

submarine

I’ve been watching out for mentions of the proposed submarine museum in Helensburgh, and waiting until something positive appears that suggests it is moving forward and will materialise one day.

I’ve jumped on earlier mentions of forthcoming project of a similar nature in the past, because I want information about their existence to be out there, as it might be spotted by somebody who matters, but so far, feel as if I am getting my fingers burnt, as they all seem to fizzle out.

I’m not going to mention any specific past project, in case I say something wrong, as I am not privy to any special knowledge, but on the other hand, do know that one or two of these projects are still being pursued, but perhaps by different people and/or in slightly different directions.

So, back to the submarine museum:

Funding to the tune of £140,000 is also expected to be released by councillors for the Scottish Submarine Trust specifically towards the development of The Submarine Museum in Helensburgh. The condition of the funding mean the cash must be split evenly and released in two instalments of £70,000 when the following milestones are achieved; proof of legal ownership of the building; and receipt of Listed Building Consent. The museum aims to tell the history of the Royal Navy’s Submarine Service will be told using new media and immersive 3D projected imagery and exhibits.

A 39 tonne ‘X’ Craft – or mini submarine – will be displayed as the centrepiece to the museum, which will also house an interactive electronic memorial in Remembrance of the 5,329 submariners who have given their lives in the Royal Navy Submarine Service.

The project, which aims to attract 10,000 visitors to the Burgh, is spearheaded by Visit Helensburgh.

The museum will be within the hall of the former St Columba’s Church, and the company will take formal ownership of the property on March 28 of this year.

Via: Submarine museum on today’s council agenda | Helensburgh & Lomond | News | Helensburgh Advertiser

May 14, 2014 Posted by | council, Maritime, military, Naval, World War II | , , , | Leave a comment

Web site dedicated to Bute at War returns to the Internet

Bute at War

Memorial web site returns

I was really pleased to see a media article which announced the return of a web site which had unfortunately evaporated due to unfortunate circumstances some years ago, and which I therefore thought had been lost forever, which would have been sad.

The site had been created as part of a much wider effort to mark the 60th anniversary of celebrations to mark V-Day on Bute. Considerable material was collected at the time, much of it not generally known, and a book was also published at the same time.

“Bute’s War”, a book by Jess Sandeman, who was a War veteran, former Chief WREN, and a long-time voluntary genealogist at the Bute Museum, was launched early in June 2005 to coincide with the island’s V-Day festivities. I was able to obtain a copy from the author, who ultimately passed away only a few years later, in August 2009.

Bute's War by Jess Sandeman 2005

Bute’s War

Circumstances, changes, and losses in the years following this event eventually saw the site disappear from the web, and my contacts were also lost, so I had no idea what happened to the content – fortunately, the person who actually organised it retained a copy, and the material is now back online.

There is a wealth of local information regarding the part the Isle of Bute played during the war – and it’s now so long since I saw the site I dare not try and summarise, rather just recommend it for a good trawl if you are at all interested in the area and its war time history:

Bute during World War II

See also: New website keeps Bute’s WW2 story alive – The Buteman

May 3, 2014 Posted by | Maritime, military, Naval, World War II | , , , , | 2 Comments

Arctic Convoy naval hero leaves Bute for final journey

I was unaware of the presence of one of the recipients of the Arctic Star medal, who lived in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute until 2011, and passed his 100th birthday there.

Commander Ian Hamilton joined the Clyde division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) in August 1932, then served in the Royal Navy from 1936 until 1957.

During World War II, he saw service in the Atlantic, the South Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the battles of Taranto and Matapan, the D-Day landings, and took part in the Arctic Convoys which carried supplies to Russian ports between 1941 and 1945, described by Churchill as “‘the worst journey in the world.’

His Arctic Star medal was presented at Erskine in April 2013 following approval by the Queen of an award to recognise the service of Royal Navy and Merchant Navy personnel. Commander Hamilton’s campaign medals already included the Naval General Service Medal, the 1939-45 Star, the Italy Star, the Africa Star, the Defence Medal, the War Medal, the Defence of Malta Medal and the Soviet Union’s Arctic Convoy Medal.

The body of Commander Ian Hamilton, who passed way in the Erskine home for former service personnel at Bishopton in Renfrewshire on February 9 at the age of 103, was piped on board MV Argyle, en route to his funeral at Greenock Crematorium.

Rothesay naval hero dies aged 103 – The Buteman

VIDEO: Lone piper gives Rothesay naval hero a fitting send-off – The Buteman

Seems this is another video source I can’t embed.

Fortunately, Zak was on hand to record the event (and I’m grateful for permission to use the occasional image):

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Maritime, military, Naval, World War II | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Poppyscotland 2013

Looks like I have reverted to my old habit of giving Poppyscotland Home Page and Remembrance a late reminder – I think I’ll stop worrying about it.

However, and as usual, other things arose unexpectedly about a week a ago, and diverted my attention.

Poppyscotland

I’m crossing my fingers this year, as I have not been able to look at many news feeds recently, so hope that the usual stories seen in the past few years, telling of the sort of scum that steal collection boxes and money for the appeal, have actually not appeared, and not just been missed.

However, that does not mean that all is well, as we have seen a very bad year for thefts of metal from memorial and similar.

Sadly, while England has enacted new laws recently to make anonymous metal trading more difficult, Scotland is lagging behind, and has delayed moving on this, although we actually reported in last year’s article that “The Scottish Government proposed changes to the rules for scrap metal trading, removing the option of cash-in-hand payments in casual transactions“. Other than noting the deferral of this proposed deterrent, we have not noted any more positive actions against this growing theft.

Last year, we ended this with: Perhaps there will be something different to mention in a year’s time.

I’ll try something more imaginative his year…

Perhaps there will be something different to mention in a year’s time.

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime, military, Naval, World War I, World War II | , , | Leave a comment

City of Adelaide – Arrival, September 25, 2013

Stage 1 arrival at Chatham on Thursday, September 25, 2013.

First video I found of the event:

And pics to go with it:

City of Adelaide at Chatham | Thames Pics

September 26, 2013 Posted by | Maritime, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

City of Adelaide – departure Friday, September 20, 2013

Since Channel 5 and ‘Monster Moves’ appear to have shown no interest in a fairly unique and large-scale move – how many other clipper hulls are likely to be move from Scotland to Australia this century? – I was pleased to come across this video which shares a look at events on the day.

City of Adelaide – September 2013 from Dougie Coull on Vimeo.

If you’re not familiar with the long story behind this day:

Clipper Ship ‘City of Adelaide’

September 24, 2013 Posted by | Maritime, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

City of Adelaide (The Carrick) could (and did) sail from Irvine, September 20, 2013 (18th, 19th CANCELLED due to weather)

Update: Departed, Friday, September 20, 2013.

Underway at lunchtime, around 1:30 pm local time.

Destination: CHATHAM ETA: 2013-09-26

Follow progress here Live Ships Map – AIS – Vessel Traffic and Positions

Just input/select Dutch Pioneer in the ‘Go To Vessel’ box near the top left of the screen.

Revised plan now 11:00am-1:00pm BST on Friday 20 September 2013

UPDATED Thursday 19 SEPT at 5:15pm: Strike Two! Thursday’s attempt was abandoned. The weather prediction was for the wind and swell to decrease, but as the high tide was approaching the wind was strengthening. The tug master had taken the decision to leave two hours ahead of the scheduled time, but the swell and wind were too great even by that earlier time. The forecast is for improving weather tomorrow (Friday) when the next (third) attempt will be made to leave the river. Departure from Irvine is now scheduled for 11:00am-1:00pm BST on Friday 20 September 2013.

Revised plan now 12:00pm-2:00pm BST on Thursday 19 September 2013

UPDATED wednesday 18 SEPT at 11:30am:  Disappointingly, a storm has developed overnight in the Irish Sea of Beaufort wind scale 7-8 (gale force) winds. The barge voyage is very sensitive to such conditions and so the departure has been delayed another 24 hours. If the forecasts in next 12-24 hours show the storm has passed, the departure from Irvine will be 12:00pm-2:00pm BST on Thursday 19 September 2013.

Via Final Departure of World’s Oldest Clipper Ship from Scotland – 19 September 2013

Scottish weather, don’t you love it?

My saying to anyone who asks is “Give it another 10 minutes… something you like will be along soon.” 🙂

Original plan (18th)

There has been little news on the final stage of moving City of Adelaide from Irvine harbour after the remains were successfully loaded onto a barge and floated in the harbour area last week.

This morning, I spotted a news item which informed us as follows:

IT brought thousands of settlers to Australia in the 19th century, now, the world’s oldest surviving clipper ship will itself be brought thousands of kilometres across the sea to a new life in Adelaide.

The only surviving sailing ship to bring migrants from Europe to Australia, the City of Adelaide will depart from Scotland on Wednesday’s high tide, about 9pm (AEST).

It first heads to London for a formal farewell at Greenwich, on the River Thames, where it will moor for several days alongside its sister ship, the world famous Cutty Sark.

It will then travel on top of a large barge after being fixed to a steel cradle designed to protect the fragile timbers of the hull on the journey to Australia and is expected to arrive at Port Adelaide between February and April next year.

Via Clipper begins final voyage to SA | The Australian

Of course, this still depends on the circumstances prevailing at the planned time, and tide, weather, and other circumstances could see this change at any time.

Pic below shows the remains shortly have being transferred to the barge (thank Brian) and if it looks a little top-heavy and maybe not too secure, don’t worry, the Dutch engineers in charge seemed to know what they were doing (I notice a lot of commenters in forums discussing this complimented their work), and a number of steel braces were welded into place around the hull, in order to stabilise it.

September 18, 2013 Posted by | Maritime, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Clydebank Titan crane designated Engineering Landmark

One of my regrets is the fact that there were no digital cameras when I was doing my first ‘real’ job. Because my education bridged what I might describe as ‘old and new’ electronics, I was always ending up inside dying Scottish factories, patching up their ancient electronics if possible, or replacing them with something newer in order to gain a few more years production at minimum cost – nobody could afford new plant (except whisky, which seemed immune for a time.)

Nowadays, it would be easy to pocket a small camera and record the places where I worked, but when I was wandering around those factories that did not realise just how little borrowed time they were on, taking pics with film gear would not really have been practical, and I’d probably have thrown out on my ear.

Today, I think the factories I have in mind are all gone, literally razed to the ground in most cases, so no chance of even going back for exterior pics.

One such place is/was John Brown Engineering in Clydebank, birthplace of ships such as the QE2 (I used to walk through the sheds there, where the patterns were stored in case a part had to be re-manufactured), and latterly a manufacturer of odd things such as floating power plants driven by jet engines. Apparently these were popular in the Middle East, and floated on rivers.

I really wish I had pics of these now, because places like Brown’s and the Rothesay Docks on the Clyde have been cleared of almost all evidence of their past.

One exception is the last Titan crane standing in Clydebank.

It has survived the now obligatory clearing and tidying that means we have little industrial heritage, since anything that might upset a sensitive eye, or a tourist, gets obliterated nowadays.

I have to confess to never having noticed the Titan crane when I was in the yard, but it was probably at the end I didn’t get to.

The Titan was built in 1907, by Sir William Arrol & Co, and cost £24,600.

Used in the construction of many of the largest ships ever built on the Clyde, such as the Cunard liners, it was also used for many of the Navy’s battleships, and survived the Clydebank Blitz undamaged, as the enemy’s raids missed it completely.

In 2007, the listed structure was refurbished as part of a £3 million tourism project, and became a museum dedicated to the history of shipbuilding in Clydebank. Fortunately for visitors, the works included the installation of a lift, since the Titan’s platform is some 150 feet (46 m) above ground. So visitors can see some spectacular views as well.

International Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering Landmark

The crane has now been recognised as an International Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering Landmark, an award given by the American Society of Civil Engineers Board of Direction and endorsed by the American Society for Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers, and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Last year (2012),  it received the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Engineering Heritage award.

It becomes  the fifth “engineering landmark” in Scotland along with the Forth Rail Bridge, Forth and Clyde Canal, Caledonian Canal, and Craigellachie Bridge in Aberlour.

Via Titan Crane joins Eiffel Tower on list of world engineering landmarks | Glasgow & West | News | STV

August 22, 2013 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, World War II | , , , , | Leave a comment

Go to St Kilda from Skye

St Kilda isn’t the easiest archipelago to get to – you can read some of the items we’ve come across here: Secret Scotland – St Kilda

The distance (about 40 miles) means the journey takes some four hours, assuming the weather doesn’t delay you, and even if you set out in good weather, there’s a chance that things won’t be so good when you get there, and you might have to turn back with your goal in sight. Cancellation is a real possibility.

So, the arrival of a second regular service sailing there has to be good news.

Sailing from Uig on the Isle of Skye, the new service will compete with existing services operating from Harris.

Although described as a “new” service, it seems that the route is a historic one that operated many years ago.

Day trips

The service allows for day trips:

At the time of writing, these are on offer during May, June, July, August, and September, and other dates by arrangement. The cost is given as £230.

Departure at 7:30am, and return time 8-9pm, allowing approximately 4 hours on Hirta, main Island of the St Kilda archipelago.

World Heritage Site

St Kilda is a World Heritage Site (dual, both natural and cultural), managed by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), and the potential increase in visitor numbers may be a cause for concern.

Paul Sharman, a ranger with NTS, said: “I think it is a good thing that people are coming to experience this unique world heritage site.

“But most people stay in the village area, which does cause some wear and tear.”

Via Historic St Kilda link to Skye restored

Further details of the service and other trips can be found here:

Go to St Kilda from Skye

Go to St Kilda brochure.pdf

The Good Old Days

I had a look for some recent pics of trips to Hirta, but I chose the pic below (from 1965) as a better example of ‘Compare and Contrast’ between then and now.

The owner’s original caption probably sums things up far better than anything I might add:

We had had an uncomfortable 17 hour journey from Mallaig in the fishing boat with only a National Trust for Scotland tea-towel displaying a map of Scotland and the NTS Properties for finding the route. It was good to be on the land although it seemed to be rocking and rolling for half a day.

 

August 11, 2013 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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