Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Squirrel, fox, Flying Spur, bee, coo, stag, deer – you pick the subject

Spoilt for choice, I have no idea the best subject to pick for this pic, so…

YOU decide!

Bentley Flying Spur

Bentley Flying Spur

April 29, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

If it’s stopped, it’s parked XI

It’s unfortunate that those who seek fame on the scourge that is ‘Social Media’ and try to create ‘viral’ content have found popularity by making the most trivial of parking errors into something to be seen as some sort of Mortal Sin or major crime. Instead of using it to log serious offenders, they have succeeded in making any parking transgression a matter that needs vigilantes to ‘key’ or otherwise vandalise offender’s cars, or take some other action against them, even though all they may have done is park over a line in a car park – usually where there are many empty spaces to be seen in the background, so nobody has been inconvenienced or troubled.

Equally strangely, those same vigilantes seem to see such parking as a major offence – yet seem to think they are justified if they (deliberately and knowingly) park one – or more – of their vehicles to block the first vehicle in, or block the driver’s access to it.

Strange logic – unless you are a bully, thug, or someone out to win ‘likes’ or create a viral pic or video.

Meanwhile, in the real world, they seem unable to see genuine offences on the road and footpath.

For example, this doesn’t look to bad at first glance, but look closer at the kerb:

Barrachnie Parking Vauxhall 01

If it’s stopped it’s parked

Seen from the other side, the problem becomes more obvious:

Barrachnie Parking Vauxhall 02

If it’s stopped it’s parked and not legit

Sadly, this is the sort of thing that is leading some people (not me, I just take pics in public places) to seek new laws to make it easier to fine those who park like this.

I don’t agree incidentally, since this is already an offence – vehicles may not drive on the footpath, other than to cross it for access.

But this law is seldom enforced – yet we supposedly need another!

A little further along the road, we had a more blatant example.

I suspect the driver thinks this makes them immune from the double yellow lines on the road, since they are off the road and on the footpath.

Not so!

Check the law and you will find that the enforcement area of the yellow lines extends to EITHER SIDE of them – so parking on the footpath does not escape their enforcement, and ADDS a further offence, of driving on the footpath.

Baillieston Tesco parking

If it’s stopped it’s parked

April 27, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Change – Progress – Development

As a car nut who has not lost touch with reality, I’m able to enjoy the changes that have taken place in their design over the years – unlike some I have rubbed shoulders with and describe any changes as a betrayal to their favourite marque.

I’ve never quite understood this, as the implication is that once the model they like was put into production, it seems they would have liked the manufacturer to stop development, halt progress, and set that design in stone.

In a sense, I can appreciate their view, but it’s also a dead-end and would lead to the death of the company they supposedly like so much.

Even Morgan, which some may consider to be set in their ways, has moved on, even if (some of) its cars appear largely unchanged.

In my own case I can look at my own little collection, and while one late 1950s model was amongst the fastest normal production cars of the day (excluding exotics), and was able to cruise the Autobahn at 75 mph all day, it’s 0-60 mph time was in the region of 22 seconds.

By way of contrast, my 1980s example would do the same cruise at 150 mph, and sprint to 60 mph in around 5.5 seconds.

In the currency of their day, the first was around £2 k, while the latter was 16 times that, and over £30 k (and had climbed to a whopping £80 k when production ended almost 20 years later).

The other difference would be their handling – something that has advanced out of all recognition today.

It’s no exaggeration to say that a bog-standard present family day car will out-perform a sports car from latter part of the 20th century (again, exclude the handful of exotics – but many of them would actually struggle too).

I spotted this pic, which probably sums this up – both are great, but if you think the manufacturer should have stopped developing and stayed with the one on the left, you need help, or the opportunity to bet your life savings, house, and family, on being able to catch the one on the right while driving it.

Porsche 1964 to 2016

Porsche 1964 to 2016

While I’ve never found anyone that let me drive the one on the left, I have managed to get my hands on examples of the one on the left.

Having driven other cars from 1964-ish, and being aware of that era’s 911 reputation, I can say that the later version is actually stunning, and despite trying to provoke the ‘handling faults’ of the rear engine layout found this impossible in anything like sane driving.

Special mention for that engine too – floor the throttle in any gear and it will take-off as if a ghost had just been seem.

At anything over 20 mph I found the effort of changing down to accelerate was almost a waste of time/effort.

April 26, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Black paint and fancy tyres make things interesting

I don’t know anything about this, other than the obvious.

It’s a van, it was made by VW, it’s black, it’s got fancy wheels and tyres, and a nice personalised registration (which I’d rather like in my collection).

I didn’t even have time to look at it properly as I was on my way to pick up goodies from the DIY store of which this is the car park.

And, of course, when I came back out – it was gone (never to be seen again).

Black VW Van [956 DG]

Black VW Van [956 DG]

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

Finally recovered this interesting little car pic


I have to confess this is a slightly old pic I’ve had ferreted away while I tried to fix or recover it.

The car was noticed in the corner of a bigger pic, so is cropped from it, or them to be accurate since more than one was needed.

The car was originally obscured by a gate, and not being a millionaire I don’t have Photoshop (which I believe has a tool for doing this sort of fix), and I didn’t know how to use my freebies to achieve the same function – then I realised how to trick it and make it do this.

The result’s not too bad, and obviously a lot better than the same view with a wrought iron gate crossing over it.

While the subject (car) is clean, I see that some artefacts remain in the background, so you can hunt for them.

It was worth the effort, as I can probably use the same technique for more important pics in future, and look at rich Photoshop licensees with a little less envy.

The car is interesting, and probably is (or was) a bit of a rarity to spot in Scotland (or even the UK) as it is an Aixam micro car, notable for being licence-free in its native Continental Europe – some of the smaller models are restricted to 45 kph (28 mph) and can be driven without a driving licence in some European countries (including Belgium, Estonia, France, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and Slovenia, but NOT the UK).

In the UK they are classified as a category L7e quadricycle (quad bike) because of their weight and power output, so need only a category B1 licence to be driven legally. The law changed in January 2013, permitting special restricted low power versions of the car (Aixam 400) to be driven by full AM licence holders in the UK.

While the badge on the right is the official factory fit OEM item…

I suspect there is a 4.0 Litre Jeep Cherokee somewhere feeling a little naked and embarrassed following the modification and attachment of the badge the left 😉

Petrol and diesel engines were similar, and displaced something around 500 cc to produce almost 20 or 12 BHP respectively.

Micro Car AIXAM 1999

Micro Car AIXAM 1999

April 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

So THAT’S how they carry out those street/traffic surveys

Wandering home in my usual half-asleep daze I almost tripped over a metal box sitting on a part of the footpath I walk over as a matter of routine after crossing the road.

Street Survey Box

Street Survey Box

After issuing a brief curse at it for waking me up and losing about 20 minutes’ worth of ‘half asleepness’ on the way home, I realised it was different from the boxes usually seen by the roadside. Although chained up in the same way, they usually have rubber pressure switch strips connected, stapled to the road to detect traffic driving over them – and that was absent.

Following the cable, this one was actually taking pics, and there was a handy little camera sitting on top of a pole tied to the same lamppost as the box.

Never seen on of these before, or since.

Here’s a look at the camera.

Traffic survey polecam

Traffic survey polecam

Funny thing – no mischief-makers ever gave that pole a little turn, just to point the camera in the wrong direction.

Kids nowadays… hopeless!!!

April 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

When Lois Lane’s Mercedes was seen in Dennistoun – 17 LL

Well, Lois probably have got a lift and been flown in by a ‘Super’ friend.

But we can still pretend, and if he’s busy she might still go for a drive.

Nice to see legit spacing preserved.

I wonder if 77 LL is floating around anywhere? That would look good.



April 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Unique Skye ferry lives on after major refurb

While the arrival of the Skye bridge might have been expected to signal the end of ferry services to the island, this has not been the case, at least not for the MV Glenachulish which makes the short crossing between Glenelg and Kylerhea on Skye, across the Kylerhea Straits between the months of April and October.

This ferry is unique, and according the BBC’s article, the last of its kind in the world, as it is a turntable ferry.

And a manual turntable at that – no power assistance for the operator!

I could probably dig up some original B&W pics of this (or maybe one its predecessors), if I had a memory that was sharp enough to remember which collection of pics of old Scottish transport I had it hidden away in. A car ferry has crossed the Kylerhea Straits since 1934, but this one only dates back to 1969, when it was built by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company of Troon. My pic collection is a little older.

The ferry’s owner, Isle of Skye Ferry Community Interest Company, has paid more than £80,000 for the work.

Via World’s last ferry of its kind, Skye’s Glenachulish, upgraded

For the ferry service itself, see the web site here:

The Original Glenelg-Skye Ferry

Since I can hardly pop along for quick pic of the refurbished ferry, I was pleased to find this interesting note from the vessel’s past, with a shared pic, which shows of that unique turntable nicely:

MV Glenachulish North Strone

MV Glenachulish North Strone

Ferry at North Strome, taken in 2012.

With the loch side road to Strathcarron closed by a rock fall Highland Council hired the MV “Glenachulish” in January 2012 to temporarily re-establish the vehicle ferry crossing between Stromeferry and North Strome. This six-vehicle community owned turntable ferry normally runs between Glenelg and Kylerhea on Skye during the summer months.

The 10 minute crossing of Loch Carron to Stromeferry – visible in the background – avoided a 140-mile diversion by road.

April 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mercury Grand Marquis surprise

Sometimes I curse not having a camera to hand, other times I look and say ‘Thank You’.

It seems to be so long since I came across a real American car (now that I no longer circulate around car shows) that almost any find is a reason to smile, and even more so when it’s a chance find a few feet from home, as in the case of this a (Ford) Mercury Grand Marquis LS.

As far as I can tell, this is a first generation model, ranging from 1979 to 1991. Poking around in the specs shows an engine of 302 ci was usual (that’s around 5 litres of V8), but as the fuel emissions lobby started to bite, this engine was strangled down from just over 200 HP to a low of 122 HP at one point, then saved as fuel injection replaced its carburettors and power climbed back to a little over 200 HP.

Things are hazy (and I’m not taking time to be specific) but the number are confusing unless analysed since specs change from quoting SAE gross HP to giving SAE net HP. Life’s too short for this stuff!

While it’s not perfect, a walk round suggested it has been reasonably well looked after. I’ve seen cars on show that would make this one look as if it had just been driven out of the showroom ‘as new’.

Mercury Grand Marquis LS Front

Mercury Grand Marquis LS

Everything is where is should be, and nothing could be described as tatty or even rusty (just a few spots).

I didn’t see it moving, so I’m left to wonder if the LEDs seen to the left and right of the rear bumper are amber additions demanded by some possibly over-zealous and poorly trained Jobsworth VOSA/MOT inspector, ordered to be fitted before the certificate would be issued since the factory indicators are red, being integrated with the brake lights. Two outer lamps in each rear cluster act as steady brake lights, but flash if being used as indicators.

My tester has always said the rule is that if it was not a requirement when the car was built, then it is not a requirement today – barring a few specific legal ‘construction and use’ regulations that apply to nearly all vehicles regardless of age.

Mercury Grand Marquis LS Rear

Mercury Grand Marquis LS

One day, I’ll invest in a new polariser to go with the ‘old’ new camera, in the meantime,  I just have to make the best of things when reflections are around.

Inside, you can see the obligatory US speedo maxed out at 85 mph. Did officialdom really think drivers would just stop there, when the numbers ran out? In the 1970s the Carter administration prohibited speedometers from indicating speeds over 85 miles per hour. The idea was around before Carter, but his people implemented it. Regulations require some justification. The justification was: people might not drive fast if they didn’t know how fast they were going.

The reality? When stopped by the cops and asked “Do you know how fast you were going?” They could honestly answer “No, officer.”

As part of Reagan’s regulatory reform the speedometer rule was scrapped. I’ve also read that research that showed there was no benefit from the 85 mph limit was suppressed – something referred to as the Parker report on speed limits being initially suppressed by NHTSA because it did not support low speed limits.

Speedo 85

Speedo 85

Cruise control on the steering wheel, and plenty of stalks on the steering column. The dash went digital option after the 1992 revamp.

Mercury dash

Mercury dash


April 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Confirmation of tunnel between Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Central Station

Over the years I’ve read many claims regarding hidden or lost tunnels under Glasgow, some being reasonable, others sounding like nothing more than fantasy.

While few have been substantiated, and no definitive list or reference being available, the best way to check any of these is to look in the most reliable online discussions and forums. Provided you can phrase a sensible search string, chances are you will find relevant information.

While some is anecdotal, and even more is mus-information and hearsay, it is possible to piece together answers if the question/location is specific enough.

One of those tunnels referred to was said to link Glasgow Royal Infirmary to Central Station.

This is quite some distance (well over a mile), so its existence was often dismissed, even though there were reasonably sound claims regarding its presence.

This recent news story regarding World War I finds made under Central Station confirms the existence of the tunnel, even if it does not explain why the tunnel was dug.

Some of the bodies were brought there from Glasgow Royal Infirmary along a tunnel from the hospital, before being put on trains to be handed over to their relatives for burial.

Lyons said: “They were transferred that way because the government was terrified that if people saw a procession of hearses through the streets, they would not want their men to go to war.”

Via First World War relics uncovered at Glasgow Central Station

Obviously I can’t provide a nice pic of a tunnel few have ever seen, but is seems a shame not to have a pic, so here’s something that isn’t modern and squeaky clean, concreted, bricked, or tiled, although it does seem to have modern lighting, better than anything that might have been in a tunnel that predated World War I.



April 6, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport, World War I | , , | Leave a comment

Neeb’s wheels 9

It’s been a while since Neeb’s wheels were seen, and this one should have appeared a long time ago, but I sort of ‘forgot’.

And first up is actually a more recent, and lucky catch, showing not only the wheels (which is a not very interesting Land Rover Freelander 2 Metropolis), not only the personalised registration, but also the reason for that registration:

Land Rover Freelander [E8 BUN]

Land Rover Freelander [E8 BUN] at McPhies

See the baker’s web site here, showing they bake more than just the odd BUN: McPhies

Those who have read more of my earlier ramblings may be expecting me start rambling about the shop sign and use of “McPhies” with no apostrophe. Suffice to say that in this case its presence or absence is down to context, intended meaning, and whether that involves use of the collective name, or possession – and I’ll leave it there. I suggest reading up on its use in circumstances like this if you are interested.


I mentioned forgetting to post this sooner, but I really just didn’t get around to it, as the original pic was a bit of a disaster.

I hate some of our cold days here, since outdoors can be both damp (well, this is Scotland), and a little warmer than indoors (so, who can afford heating these days?) Temperature indoors lags temperature outdoors by quite a few hours. The result of this unfortunate combination means stepping out of doors with a camera that is a few degrees lower than outdoors ambient, and that can mean the glass surfaces are below the dew point, and that means… CONDENSATION inside the camera.

There’s not a lot can be done, other than to let it evaporate naturally, but that takes time and the moisture inside the camera can linger.

This first shot shows what I mean – the camera body and lens exterior were ‘clean’, and the fogging was due to internal condensation that formed only after I had been outside for a while on this particular day:

Freelander {E8 BUN] fogged

Freelander {E8 BUN] fogged

While it’s bad news for the camera and lens, which can’t be cleared and have to be left to dry out naturally, provided he fogging is uniform and not so bad as to obscure detail, can be dealt with quite successfully with only a little post-processing, In this case, I didn’t even have to adjust it after applying the automatic correction.

Freelander [E8 BUN] fixed

Freelander [E8 BUN] fixed

Even though the fogging was mild compared to some pics I’ve taken under these conditions, I’m still impressed by the improvement.

It may not be as crisp as the first image above, but that is not really down to the correction, as it was a (cold) dull grey day anyway

March 31, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

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