Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Unseen Tidal Weir Centenary Plaque

I shouldn’t really be surprised by finds like this, but I am (sighs).

Living on one side of the (River) Clyde really does mean knowing little about the other, presumably just from being too lazy to find one of the many bridges the river does actually have, and drag my weary backside over to the other side.

It’s worth it though, as there are goodies to be found over in that strange, non-city centre oriented world.

While I’ve wandered over to the Glasgow Green end of the river’s tidal weir, it’s not all that interesting, although there is some nice stonework to see close-up.

Clyde Tidal Weir From East

Clyde Tidal Weir From East

However, it’s the other end to the south that seems to be the ‘business end’ (no park or green there, just a path and access road, so not so nice), where I guess the main controls are located.

Over the door to that end there is a plaque, and it commemorates the weir’s centenary, back in 2001.

Tidal Weir Centenary Plaque

Tidal Weir Centenary Plaque


June 9, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maritime, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Another surprise find – VIC32 in Glasgow

I think it’s now around 75 years old, and VIC32 continues to sail around Scotland.

If you’re not familiar with VIC32’s progress over the years, you can read more on the related web site:

Save The Puffer!

During World War II, the Admiralty was mindful of the puffers’ contribution, and commissioned a similar craft to service the fleet with supplies from its victualling yards, and weapons from its munitions depots. These were known as Victualling Inshore Craft, or VIC boats.

The Clyde puffer was ideally suited to the job, and provided the Admiralty with the craft it needed, and required few changes from the original design to meet its needs.

While they adhered to the overall puffer design, the original clipper stern was complex and hard to build, so the Admiralty developed a simpler hard chine design which also allowed more room for the Master’s cabin.

Most of the VIC boats were built in England, with many coming from the Doncaster area. A number of boats were fitted with water tanks in lieu of a hold, and were used to carry fresh or distilled water to ships at anchor. In addition to their service at local British naval establishments, a number of these boats were shipped overseas as deck cargo, and operated in locations such as Malta and the Far East.

There’s more on this in our Wiki page on Clyde Puffers.

I usually just get to see other people’s pic of the puffer as it tours around the coast, and canals, but this chance find means I get my own pic.

This is at Pacific Quay, with the Science Centre just visible to the left, and the IMAX theatre behind.

Not the best view, but I’d have had to fly or swim for anything better – and neither of them is happening any time soon, for me at least.



May 30, 2018 Posted by | Maritime, photography | , | Leave a comment

Loch Ewe remembrance visit is down to three Arctic Convoy veterans

In past years I’ve noted the holding of an official memorial ceremony at Loch Ewe to mark the Arctic Convoys which assembled and departed from the safety of the protected location.

I think it was last year which was reported to be the last official ceremony, with an announcement to the effect that the official gathering would no longer be held, due to the advanced years, failing health, and distance involved for the few remaining veterans.

But that didn’t preclude personal visits, and while four planned make the trip, only three were able on the day:

  • Edwin Leadbetter, also known as Eddie, was serving on HMS Fencer, an escort aircraft carrier, when it joined an attack on the German battleship Tirpitz. He spent more than a decade in the Royal Navy and is a recipient of both the Arctic Star and the Burma Star.
  • James Docherty will be making his first journey back to Loch Ewe since World War Two. He remembers looking at the ship next to him, only to see his neighbour from Dalmarnock, Glasgow, looking back at him. He is a recipient of the Arctic Star and the Ushakov Medal.
  • Bernard Roberts, also known as Barney, served in the Royal Navy from 1942 and finished his service in 1947 on HMS Forth, in Rothesay. He spent time on mine-laying ships in the Arctic Circle and an application for the Arctic Star has been made. He has also received the Africa Star for his contributions in northern Africa.
  • A fourth veteran, Albert Lamond, 92, from Erskine, was unable to attend the trip due to illness. He is a recipient of the Arctic Star, the Ushakov Medal and is a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur for his service to France during the invasion in World War Two when his ship acted as an escort to Bombardment Force D of the Eastern Task Force.

Via Three veterans commemorate Arctic Convoys at Loch Ewe

Gun emplacement by Loch Ewe David Brown

Gun emplacement by Loch Ewe David Brown

May 12, 2018 Posted by | Maritime, Naval, Transport, World War II | , | Leave a comment

I came across the TS Queen Mary

I’d almost forgotten about the arrival and return of the TS Queen Mary to Glasgow.

The story bubbled up into my news feeds for a few days at the time, but since then – nothing, so it had slipped my mind.

I’d crossed the bridge over the Clyde at the Glasgow Science Centre, where I noted the PS Waverley was moored, and carried on to the Festival Park, the last tiny vestige remaining of the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival, and where I was headed for a quick look as I was in the area.

While it’s nice that the park survives, there’s no real clues as to why it’s there.

Worse, for someone who saw it being created, what could once be recognised as having come from the festival site is now largely hidden by undergrowth. It’s not that the place is neglected, it’s not, but rather being cut back to let the features show, the plants have been allowed to grow over them.

That didn’t take to long (it was only a flying visit), but the roads past this park are INSANE!

I was almost run over when my attention was diverted for a moment…

What appears to be a dual carriageway is in fact two, two-way roads with a divider between them, and there are big signs every few metres warning users to LOOK BOTH WAYS as they cross each one.

This aerial view of Pacific Drive (courtesy of Google Earth) illustrates the madness…

Pacific Drive

Pacific Drive

From the top, you can see two lanes with arrows showing traffic flow to the right, and the third lane flows to the left.

But if you look to the left you’ll also see things change as the arrows show it becomes one lane to the right and two lanes to the left,

There’s then the physical carriageway divider, which is a raised area.

The fourth lane shows an arrow indicating traffic flow to the right, while the arrow in the fifth lane points to the left.

Small wonder the fences around the pedestrian crosses are covered with LOOK BOTH WAYS signs – you can see them in Street View.

And pedestrians HAVE to cross those lanes – there’s actually a BUS STOP sited on that central divider.

And BUS LANES are the reason for this insanity.

I was waiting for some slow cars coming from the left to pass the crossing near the right edge of the above pic.

They took so long to arrive, I had forgotten both sides of this dual carriageway carried two-way traffic, and had started to cross before I remembered and looked to my right.

Of course, another car had entered that junction while I’d been watching the snails, but fortunately was not moving quickly, at least not as fast as my embarrassment level!

Really? This was the BEST traffic management somebody could come up with?

The same person must have trialled this in Cambuslang first, where they’ve this mixed carriageway in place for years, AND similar warning signs regarding two way traffic, with a warning to LOOK BOTH WAYS on each side of the road.

Having made it across the road (alive) I was just ambling back towards home when I notice there were too many funnels on the horizon.

That was when I realised there was another ship moored around the corner from the Waverley, and that it had to be the old Queen Mary.

It’s a bit of a sorry sight at the moment (but will hopefully be restored to become an attraction), and is being stripped, as evidence by the skip alongside.

Good job I’m mastering wide shots/stitches – this is the view from the steps at the bottom of the Glasgow Tower.

Click the pic for a bigger version.

Queen Mary Pacific Quay

Queen Mary Pacific Quay

I had thought of heading around the other side of the old dock to get another pic – but this is fenced off as it belongs to private dwelling over there, so I had to make do with some more shots from further away.

There’s a funny story to go with the pics – it seems that towards the latter part of 2017 site security spotted a man hiding on the deck of the old ship. Police attended the scene and found a 29-year-old man. He later appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court charged with being on the ship without lawful consent and with the intention to commit theft.

As noted in referring to the skip, a large amount of scrap metal lies on the ship, and he had intended to steal and sell it.

TS Queen Mary

TS Queen Mary

It’s getting interesting down at Pacific Quay.

But, how times change.

I was at a pre-completion viewing of the Science Centre, and saw an Imax film before these venues opened. Now I’d be pressed to buy tickets to get into the same places – oh well (I can take pics for ‘free’). The Glasgow Tower wasn’t ready then!


Queen Mary – Glasgow Tower – Science Centre – Imax Theatre


Pity it was getting dark (note the lights, and that this is an enhanced image), and I NEVER get dead calm water – a mirror smooth reflection in the water would have been nice.

Glasgow Pacific Quay Queen Mary Glasgow Tower Reflection

Glasgow Pacific Quay Queen Mary Glasgow Tower Reflection


The steamer will be berthed permanently at the Glasgow Science Centre and will be connected to the SSE Hydro and SECC complexes.

A period bar and restaurant will feature menus from ships around the world giving this important part of Glasgow one of the best venues in the city.

Plans are to create a skills academy on board the TS Queen Mary, providing a training ground for chefs for the maritime world.

This was noted on the 85th anniversary celebrations of the TS Queen Mary.

The event celebrated the maiden voyage of the Clyde’s last turbine steamer, whilst raising awareness of the ship’s on-going restoration project.


May 9, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

MV Eigg retires after 45 years on the Clyde

MV Eigg is the last of eight Island-class vessels operated by Caledonian MacBrayne  (CalMac) and was launched in 1975, with a capacity for 75 passengers and fives cars.

It has been withdrawn from service, and is to be sold off.

Caledonian MacBrayne’s oldest ferry MV Eigg ‘retired’

Operating mainly on the route between Oban and Lismore, it also saw service at Largs, Lochranza, Tobermory, Iona, Raasay and Lochaline.

The wee ferry was pictured between the slips at Rhubodach and Colintraive during March, by Zak.

Click on the image for the original, and see more CalMac vessels in Zak’s gallery: CalMac Ferries

MV Eigg Copyright Zak

MV Eigg Copyright Zak

April 10, 2018 Posted by | Maritime, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Another boost for the Maid of the Loch

Looks as if I will have to start saving for a ticket, as another boost for the final stages of restoring the Maid of the Loch to sailing the loch was reported in the news.

Funding boost for moored paddle steamer Maid of the Loch

All I have to do is keep shuffling along for a few more years, and I can maybe recreate the sailing I managed just before she fell out of service.

John Beveridge, chairman of the charity that owns the Maid, said: “The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society has supported us from the beginning, and to now give us £50,000 shows the faith they have in us to get the Maid sailing once again.

“Their support takes us yet another step closer to our goal, and it is a huge boost to have the country’s leading preservation organisation demonstrating this commitment.

“We are most grateful, and look forward, with confidence, to the Maid’s first sail.”

Paul Semple, PSPS national chairman, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the PSPS is able to offer this level of support to help ensure that the Maid of the Loch returns to service.

Maid of the Loch 2017

Maid of the Loch 2017

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, council, Maritime, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Nice little boost for Maid of the Loch fund raising

I was going to make a post about the Maid of the Loch receiving an award of £950,000 from the Scottish government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund towards the goal of £5.5 million needed to complete the paddle steamer’s return to operation.

While I first saw this listed in the total award summary, the BBC was kind enough to prepare an article summarising the project.

After some 22 years of constant fundraising and repairs, investments of around £2 million over that time, the company is almost ready for the final attempt to get the steamer fit to sail the waters again.

The Maid has not sailed since 1981 and has been moored at Balloch Pier for more than two decades.
The funding from the Scottish government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund takes the project closer to its £5.5m target.

It is hoped the ship can be used for cruises and functions.

The Loch Lomond Steamship Company, which owns the paddle steamer and is leading the regeneration project, has described the funding as a “major milestone”.

Chairman John Beveridge said: “It is absolutely wonderful news and a complete game changer for The Maid’s full restoration.

“This takes us significantly closer to reaching our £5.5m target, but we still have a way to go.”

Via Major funding for Balloch-based Maid of the Loch

It’s so long since I’ve been able to go there, but it might be worth the effort of using public transport to get there soon.

My last visit was ages ago, during a ‘Doors Open Day’, when visitors could wander around.

I was also lucky enough, by chance, to sail on the loch not long before the Maid was taken out of service.

Some years later, when I assumed the paddle steamer was lost and gone, I was walking somewhere out of Balloch towards the loch and got a shock/surprise to find the derelict vessel parked somewhere on the shore.

Maid of the Loch 2017

Maid of the Loch 2017

March 20, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

City of Adelaide Clipper gains children’s activity book

Strangely, if you ever listened to the ramblings of one poor individual from Sunderland, it seems the fortunes of the hull of the City of Adelaide clipper which went to live in Australia a few years have been good, and so far at least, it has not spontaneously combusted, or disintegrated under the fierce Australian sun, nor has the rescue project foundered.

It’s actually rather nice to see it amble along slowly, step by step.

Far better than many I watched arrive with great fanfare and promises/demands of many millions – over-ambitious and doomed to failure if the promises fall short. Over the past decade or so it’s become clear that projects which limp along with a steady cash-drip and avoid sensational claims are much more likely to be around for years.

This looks like one of those ‘small steps’.

SEAFARING adventures are swept off the page in a new children’s activity book about the clipper ship City of Adelaide.
The ship’s restoration project director, Peter Christopher, and Meredith Reardon — a descendant of its captain — have teamed up to create Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Facts and Figures.

More than a quarter of a million Australians can trace their ancestry through passengers and crew who sailed on the City of Adelaide, which made 23 return voyages from English ports between 1864 and 1887.

Mr Christopher said the 40-page book had been specifically written for children — a deliberate move as most of the material available about the historic ship was geared towards adults.

Via New City of Adelaide clipper ship children’s book opens maritime history to new audience

He and Ms Reardon, a teacher, first had the idea for the book two years ago but it wasn’t until they received a grant from an anonymous donor that they were able to publish it.

Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Facts and Figures is now on sale for $10 at the ship at Dock One.

It will soon also be available in selected newsagents and book stores.

City of Adelaide

City of Adelaide lying at Irvine on 07 February 2012 © wfmillar

March 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | 1 Comment

Water Bus sign

Digging back into the archives for an unused ‘rainy day’ (freezing day?) pic, I found one I spent so much time fiddling with I forgot to use it.

I’d taken a few that day, and had suffered a bad attack of ‘Tilted Camera Syndrome’, and couldn’t settle on a final version or edit that looked any way half decent or square. Although I whittle the mess down to this one, I forget to finish the job.

While a quick look trawled up some reference to a Clyde Water Bus running for a few years up to 2012, I’m pretty sure the Water Bus refers to something that ran some years before this.

I can’t (quickly) find anything online referring to this, nor can I recall much more than a vague memory. It didn’t seem to cover any routes or destinations that made it of any use to me, so I never had the opportunity to play on it, and then it was gone.

If you know or remember more, a comment below would be nice.

But this quite nice entrance has survived. A bit faded perhaps, but otherwise substantially OK.

Water Bus Sign

Water Bus Sign

Find it on the Broomielaw, at the corner of King George V Bridge, and the junction with Oswald Street.

Wider view, for a bit of context. (Click for a little bigger).

Water Bus Sign Wider

Water Bus Sign Wider

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Sailing on the Maid of the Loch gets closer and closer

While I’ve been following the gentle progress of restoring the Maid of the Loch to sailing condition, over the years I’ve learned that media stories which suggest such sailing might be seen within any timescale that could be interpreted as ‘Next year’ are best read lightly.

While another of those has just appeared, given the fate of all those that have gone before, and the amount of work yet to be completed – I think any suggestion that the sound of a paddle steamer slapping its merry way up and down Loch Lomond are best given a rating of ‘Hopeful’ rather than practical.

Far from being construed as a negative thought, that the steamer has arrived at the position it has now reached is a credit to all concerned, and I only wish I had been closer to where the work is being carried out.

The Maid of the Loch has not sailed since 1981 and has been moored at Balloch Pier on Loch Lomond for more than two decades.

Campaigners need to raise another £1m by the summer to release £3.8m from the National Lottery.

If the cash is raised, the steamer could take to the loch again next year.

John Beveridge, chairman of the Loch Lomond Steam Ship Company, said the whole project would cost £5.5m but £4.5m had already been raised, including £3.8m from the lottery fund which will be released if they can find the final £1m.

Via Stars sing the praises of the Maid of the Loch

The steamer ended up being moored at Balloch, but sad to say, much of the interior (anything that could be stolen and sold) disappeared, then current owners The Loch Lomond Steam Ship Company took it over in 1996, and began renovating it. ‘Disappeared’ items were even returned over the years.

Maid of the Loch 2017

Maid of the Loch 2017

January 27, 2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime | , , | Leave a comment

City of Adelaide clipper fly-around post move

I’m not really sure what triggers some of the bots I have watching for relevant material, but I did get a few videos flagged up, and this one from January 2017 (a year ago) seemed relevant.

It’s worthy of note after the news that the ongoing development work in the port area saw the hull being moved a couple of hundred metres from the dock where it was resting as the various discussions/debates/demands/requests/wrangles carry on regarding a final acceptable home somewhere in the midst of the continuing developments and plans for this area.

Last video I saw of this spot was bare, with only the barge moored in this berth, and gangway for access.

This slightly later one looks more interesting.

Coincidentally, I also heard of a local media source having a short item by someone who was able to go for a look:

From Ayrshire to Australia … Largs Bay and other connections

I recently received a little ‘postage stamp’ thumbnail said to be of The Carrick during one of its sinkings in the River Clyde.

But there were no details given, not even a date (or source of the original).

I blew it up to the usual blog pic size, and was surprised at how well it came out (OK, I did play about with it to try to smooth it out and make it more viewable).

I’ve no reason to doubt the subject, and from the days I spent working around some of the dry docks on the river, recognise the stepped area which can be seen on the right of the image, which also leads me to believe this is The Carrick floundering to the left.

The background is just rubble, and a fairly anonymous lorry, so not really much to go on.

But if anyone does recognise the scene, or has seen a proper full-size version of this image, it would be nice to pin it down and identify the date and/or location.

Sunk Carrick

Sunk Carrick

January 16, 2018 Posted by | Maritime | , , , | 4 Comments

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