Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Enjoy this 1942 film: Song of the Clyde River: Elvanfoot To Glasgow – 1942 – CharlieDeanArchives / Archival Footage

Unknown to many, there are still a few sites online using the NSV file format which was popular before YouTube came along.

I keep these playing in the background as they spare the viewer/listener from the abuse of disgusting adverts and advertisers, allowing us to enjoy untarnished content without interruption.

One of the surprises is this short film, which can be found on… YouTube (with unwanted ‘extras’, of course).

Song of the Clyde River: Elvanfoot To Glasgow – 1942 – CharlieDeanArchives / Archival Footage.

‘A film of the Clyde, from its source at Elvanfoot to its mouth at Glasgow, from rivulet to mighty waterway. Street scenes in Glasgow, shots of factories, docks and shipyards, of shipbuilding, of giant cranes, of ships loaded and unloaded. As its title suggests, the film has a notable musical accompaniment.’
(Films of Britain – British Council Film Department Catalogue – 1942-43)

CharlieDeanArchives – Archive footage from the 20th century making history come alive!

It contains a surprising amount of varied content, especially the views of places now lost to time and demolition, along the Clyde itself, the shipyards, and Glasgow.

24/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ferry tales, a bit like fairy tales, as long as they’re not Scottish

While the sad state of ferry building (and hate campaigns by some passengers and activists) in Scotland means I really have withdrawn from my past days of light-hearted reviews of the various shenanigans that go on in that area, that doesn’t mean I ignore it, or might mention general, rather than specific cases.

Looking at recent news, for example Scottish Govt Takes Over Ferguson Shipyard, suggests somebody, somewhere, is doing something wrong.

Given the Clyde’s past history of shipbuilding, this definition of ‘fairy tale’ seem kind of appropriate to today’s situation, “Colloquially, the term “fairy tale” or “fairy story” can also mean any far-fetched story or tall tale; it is used especially of any story that not only is not true, but could not possibly be true.

Currently, this definition doesn’t apply, at least not here, “the term is also used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in “fairy-tale ending” (a happy ending) or “fairy-tale romance”.

It’s more like a Danish fairy tale, where the Danes seem to be able to build electric ferries without the problems that seem to beset Scottish efforts:

Electric ferries have been running in Norway since 2015, but none nearly as large as the 195-foot long Ellen. This ferry can carry up to 30 cars (electric cars, we’d hope) and 200 passengers, and is powered by a 4.3 megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack made by conversion company Leclanche.

World’s largest electric ferry completes maiden voyage

Had Scotland NOT made such a dog’s dinner of the two ferries mentioned in the Ferguson story, it MIGHT just have had the lead in a rapidly developing market for such ferries, as revealed in this article:

All-electric ferry cuts emission by 95% and costs by 80%, brings in 53 additional orders

There’s more on this ferry from its beginnings in 2014/2015, including pics that show some of its details, including the fact that it is a catamaran.

Ship Photos of the Day – World’s First All-Electric Ferry

Ampere electric car ferry Pic credit Siemens

Ampere electric car ferry Pic credit Siemens

Apart from some very small, and rather successful, yards, I don’t think anyone has any reason to look this way if they want a ferry built – certainly not bases on performance/management/delivery.

16/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Small update on the Waverley

I happened to pass the Waverley and the Queen Mary last night.

There had been an article in the media the day before, but it just appeared to be a repeat of the appeal story.

Now, I think whoever wrote it forgot to include the current figure for the fund, as reported in this article from tonight.

DONATIONS to save the Paddle Steamer Waverley have now exceeded half-a-million-pounds following the iconic steamship’s withdrawal from service earlier this summer.

The major appeal which was officially launched in June aims to raise the £2.3 million needed to fit new boilers on the Waverley and return her to service in 2020.

Waverley’s general manager Paul Semple said: “Thanks to the fantastic public response to our Save The Waverley Boiler Refit Appeal we have reached a key milestone in our fund-raising campaign.

“To date over 4,000 individuals have donated with some of our core supporters giving a ‘once in a lifetime donation’ knowing that we urgently need funds to secure Waverley’s future.

“In addition, we have received offers of help from several organisations and companies, but we will need further help to get Waverley’s paddles turning again.”

Several fund-raising events have taken place in the various towns and villages which Waverley serves.

Save The Waverley fund-raising appeal passes £500,000

PS Waverley Science Centre Glasgow Tower TS Queen Mary

PS Waverley Science Centre Glasgow Tower TS Queen Mary

08/08/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Seems Marnock has been busy since the Inchmarnock sale was mentioned recently

Action pics from Zak 🙂

Daily Bute – 31st July

I have to give the Ardmaleish Boatbuilding Co. Ltd (on the Isle of Bute) a little mention, not only for producing Marnock, but for quietly getting on with its work, rather than being the controversial/embarrassing news magnets which bigger players on the Clyde now appear to have become.

The little yard deserves more credit and publicity.

Marnock by Zak

Marnock by Zak

01/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

My brain hurts – I must have been trying to read a Scottish ferry article

Yup, THAT was careless of me.

I used to enjoy travelling on the occasional ferry. I even managed to do a little work on some of them, and had some ‘free’ trips along the Clyde as they went to the trials area. That was even more fun – normal ferry journeys don’t include running the engines up to full power with the rudder hard over, sailing in circles with the stabilisers fully deployed to keep the vessel level. We even managed to blow cylinder heads on one trip (and they’re big on ferries that can carry up to 500 passengers and 120 cars).

While I’m still interested, it’s no fun following the fates of both the old vessels (retired) and the new, as the news never seems to be good.

It used to be intriguing as various people and groups claimed they could operate and maintain the services better than CalMac, but never really had to worry about actually delivering since the chances of them winning the work were slim, but they cost everyone else millions thanks to their challenges.

Fast forward something in the order of twenty years, and it seems that little has changed, with millions apparently still being gobbled up by side issues (as opposed to running costs and subsidies), plus RET (road equivalent tariff), howled about and demanded for years, yet apparently the ‘wrong thing’ when it was introduced. Apparently what should have been applied was a journey pricing system in use by air carries. No, I’m NOT going to summarise this one in then words or less.

And, I digress (and it’s not even reducing the pain).

Here’s another chapter to add the disaster which has grown from the opportunity to create new ferries…

Ministers reject Ferguson shipyard share ownership bid

Far too much political nonsense and blame being concentrated on.

All concerned really do seem to have lost the plot, and completely forgotten the idea was to develop and build two new technology ferries.

Can’t wait for the next chapter.

Hole in Boat

01/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

It’s Scottish island sale time again – this time one I’ve seen, Inchmarnock

It’s been a while since a Scottish island was mention in the For Sale column, and news of this one made me look twice since I’ve seen it quite a few times, together with the little landing-craft style ferry which services it.

Not quite a “stone’s throw” from the Isle of Bute, Inchmarnock lies about a mile to the west of the larger island. There’a car park and viewpoint where you can stop and look across to the smaller island, and usually see the little ferry (Marnock) moored somewhere nearby too.

Never looked like this whenever I was there, but then again, photographer Zak does have the advantage of being there, unlike those of us who just enjoyed the odd day here and there.

Inchmarnock from Bute

Inchmarnock from Bute

I never really though about buying – but now know the asking price (today at least) is offers over £1.4 million.

We’ll see how that goes – I may be relying on my memory rather than running off to spend time researching, but I think most of these sales have either never happened, or seen a drastic reduction (thing half a million or so) before they did.

As far as I’ve read over the years (and the sale documents will be more up to date) some buildings are occasionally used by the owner of the island, but most are now empty/derelict. There was chapel, St Marnoc’s, but that is just remains. The Isle of Bute Museum (I think/hope, it’s a long time since I was last there) mentioned a bronze Age cairn discovered at Northpark. This held the remains of what became known as The Queen of the Inch, a 3,500 year old woman decorated in a jet bead necklace and with a dagger and housed beneath a glass panel.

There’s a World War II connection. Like a number of coastal regions around this area of Scotland, landing training and exercises were carried out on the shore (using craft similar to Marnock), in preparation for the D-Day landings.

Nowadays, the ferry carries livestock to and from the island, for grazing.

The island was bought by Lord Smith of Kelvin in 1999.

Someone’s been out with their new drone, so you can have a ‘virtual’ look at the island from this link.

Inchmarnock Island music – struttandparker-1

In the media:

Stunning Scottish island with rich history on sale for £1.4m

From the selling agent:

A peaceful and historic private island estate in the Firth of Clyde.

Lovely shot of Marnock underway – and far better than anything I ever took, usually just a little dot moored in the sound.

Marnock from Zak's collection

Marnock from Zak’s collection

29/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Oh dear – looks as if my hints that things would not go well with the latest ferry contract were right

Not that I claim any special insight or understanding.

But I don’t think even a blind man could have failed to see ‘something’ was coming, and that it wasn’t likely to be good.

I doubt I’ll win any popularity contests, but I think I’ve dropped enough hints in this blog, to the effect that (on a large scale at least) there are no shipyards on the Clyde because “we” have lost the plot, and anybody wanting a big floaty thing built really isn’t likely to decide the Clyde is a good place to put their money.

It’s a shame, since there are some really good small yards, currently producing some nice vessels. Getting on with things quietly – and being overshadowed and obscured by the big boys’ nonsense.

I’m afraid it’s all become so silly I don’t even bother to look closely enough to make comments now, it’s neither interesting not fun, just sad and frustrating.

I can’t even end by saying it will be interesting to see what happens with the last contract for two ferries.

Instead of being a chance to produce something innovative, it just descended into farce ages ago.

Ferguson shipyard could be nationalised amid ferry row

The lifeline ferry deal that went adrift

Clyde shipyard could be nationalised amid row over ferries

I’m so glad I don’t have to bother studying this sad stuff any more.

Just read… and forget.

Sinking boat

Sinking boat

20/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | | Leave a comment

New blockade runners memorial quickly restored after vandalism

Looks I was too slow to catch this one after seeing reports that the recently installed blockade runners memorial had been defaced:

RMT – the union for transport workers – have tweeted a photo of the defaced statue, expressing their frustration and disappointment.

The tweet read: “After so much hard work by so many wonderful people and the excitement earlier this year unveiling this fantastic memorial to the Blockade Runners we were totally disgusted to to see this vandalism today.”

‘Totally disgusted’ – vandals slammed for defacing memorial by River Clyde

Reported locally on the 14th, I wasn’t near enough to take a pic until today, the 19th, by which time the graffiti had been cleaned of, and the stonework restored.

I hadn’t expected to see it clean up so soon, and this was how it looked this afternoon.

According to an update to the original story, it had already been dealt with by Wednesday (17th).

Blackade Runners Memorial restored

Blackade Runners Memorial restored

This is how it looked a few days ago, as seen in the pic tweeted by the RMT:

RMT pic of defaced memorial

RMT pic of defaced memorial

19/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

And the ferry ‘fun’ just goes on

While I may have given up on commenting on the decades of fun certain people have already had at the expense of those running Scotland’s ferries, that doesn’t mean I have to ignore the ongoing hilarity.

My generalisation stands, that there’s a noisy, vocal, clique which, for whatever reason, just says ‘NO’ to whatever is done regarding ferries (and CalMac in particular), and that they’d still whine and complain in just the same way if there were twice the number of ferries sailing, and they were free too use.

Don’t misinterpret that, there are genuine issues, but they’re nothing to do with ferry services as such, for example, the current nonsense which has developed regarding the supply of two new ferries being built on the Clyde.

Bet they wish they’d had them built in Poland.

And so it goes on, with people trying to play at winning ‘Brownie Points’.

More whining, no action, and, of course, Cmal’s to blame…

An independent inquiry into the future of West Coast ferry services is now a necessity, writes Brian Wilson.

An open letter to staff from a respected Caledonian MacBrayne skipper, retiring after 34 years, did not miss and hit the pier.

This account makes Fred Karno’s Circus seem like a smooth operation. Linkspans that don’t fit cardecks. Gangways that don’t fit ferries. Transient management in Gourock that doesn’t listen to seafaring experience. And so on.

What is to be done? Many problems trace back to a quango called Caledonian Marine Assets Limited, chaired by a Danish logistics expert and including nobody from the ports CalMac serves.

Respected skipper’s letter exposes dire state of West Coast ferries – Brian Wilson

The next whine will be along shortly.

Sinking boat


13/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | Leave a comment

News of the Waverley’s return in 2020 looks good

While I suspect the total funding it not in place, the latest (good) news about the Waverley suggest those looking after the repair and restoration are up to speed, as it takes time for all the goodies needed for the work to be prepared, and for the work to be planned.

Leave that too late, and the whole project can slip far behind the required schedule.

Plans to return the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer to full service have taken a major step forward after its owners placed an order for new boilers.

A “make or break” £2.3m fundraising appeal was launched last month to safeguard the future of the Waverley after the ship was withdrawn from service following the discovery of significant structural defects.

Today, Paul Semple, general manager of Waverley Excursions, confirmed it had placed an order for the ship’s new boilers at Cochrane Limited, an internationally renowned boiler specialist firm in Annan, with a view to securing the Waverley’s future for the next 20 years.

While those behind the appeal stressed the need for further donations, the order is seen as a significant step towards returning the steamship – a longstanding fixture on the waters of the Firth of Clyde – to full service.

Mr Semple said: “This is the first step in returning Waverley back to service, and we’ve only been able to take that first step because of the donations we’ve received so far.

“We’ve spent the last two months, since we announced Waverley’s withdrawal, planning the technical refit. By the nature of it, we have to start ordering the major components now, and that’s why we’ve therefore placed the orders for the new boilers.”

He also clarified that the £2.3m appeal target covered not only the cost of replacing the boilers, but included the need or a new electrical switchboard in the engine room, generators, and an oil and water separator.

The costs of the overhaul in the shipyard would be “significant” in terms of lifting the ship’s funnels off, he emphasised, with other expenses including insurance, pilotage and towage fees.

Historic steamship the Waverley could sail again in 2020

While the news is good for the Waverley, once again the ‘Comment Section’ after the article is a complete embarrassment to Scots and Scotland as it is hijacked by the sort of mindless moron who can only express their twisted opinions in places where they can do so without fear of ending up in the Clyde, under the Waverley.

It would have made a nice opening scene for ‘Taggart‘, as the Waverley’s paddles stirred up body parts, and the shocked crew called for an emergency stop, and camera panned across their shocked faces 😉

Pacific Quay PS Waverley

Pacific Quay PS Waverley

Waverley hopes to be sailing by next year as new boilers are ordered

12/07/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | Leave a comment

A couple of ‘City of Adelaide’ videos arrived today

There’s not much arising from the ‘City of Adelaide’ clipper (better known to those of us from Glasgow as the Carrick) these days, with the issues around a permanent location and other developments tending to be the matters that get noticed by the media.

That said, I have been pointed at little pieces of news and updates which aren’t really big enough to form the basis of a post, but show the project is alive and well, and would undoubtedly benefit from an ending of the uncertainty over a final location.

For now, just enjoy the recent videos.

The first is new/recent (26 May 2019)  is from Department of the Premier and Cabinet, and (despite the problems over a resting place) states:

The City of Adelaide clipper ship is an important part of the history of South Australia, as well as a drawcard to the rejuvenated Port Adelaide.”

The second is a little older, 29 Apr 2016, and is a documentary which I assume was made by a student as a course submission.

08/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | Leave a comment

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