Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Nice to see drug-driving legislation with zero-tolerance proposed

I don’t have any time for anyone who whines about being caught and locked up for drug-driving.

Near zero limits and roadside tests will be introduced if MSPs back change in the law.

The plan is to introduce the crackdown, along with roadside testing, from October 2019.

I might as well admit to being somewhat hostile to any sort of smackhead who takes any sort of mind-altering substance and then decides they are safe to get into a car and drive (or even walk along a street in public), especially after hearing some of them argue that they are perfectly safe as they know who to control their use of such substances, object to any sort of restriction or control, and want their nasty little habits legalised.

Given the unreasonable attitude many now have to drink-driving (which I would suggest has led to related legislation becoming ineffective or misguided as it not being properly considered, and being made tougher as opposed to effective), I’m surprised it has taken so long to get proper drug-driving legislation into place, although I do recognise the problem of backing it with proper, traceable, repeatable testing, which can provide the necessary evidence to back up charges.

A zero-tolerance crackdown on people who drive under the influence of drugs is being proposed by the Scottish Government.

If MSPs give it the go-ahead, new laws will introduce near zero limits for eight illegal drugs, based on the lowest possible level where any claims of accidental exposure can be ruled out.

The eight include cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, cannabis, LSD, heroin, methylamphetamine and benzoylecgonine.

Another eight drugs, including methadone, diazepam and morphine, that may be prescribed by doctors for medicinal purposes, will have maximum levels based on safe levels for driving.

The new laws are designed to make it easier for police to target people driving under the influence of drugs.

Government to launch zero-tolerance crackdown on drug-driving

Existing legislation makes it an offence to be in charge of a motor vehicle while unfit to drive through drink or drugs. The penalties (which are reserved to Westminster) are a minimum 12-month driving ban, up to six months in prison, and a fine of up to £5,000.

There are currently no specific maximum levels and police have to prove that a person’s driving is impaired by the drugs to be able to prosecute. The new offence of driving while above specified drug limits will operate along with the current offence of being in charge of a motor vehicle while unfit to drive through drink or drugs, and carry the same maximum sentences.

Police Stop

Police Stop

While I try not to be a cynic (all the time), this really is how I imagine ‘First Contact’ will go…

Drug People

Drug People


This turned up a day too late to go in the original post, but I couldn’t resist.


Jan 20, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Night bridges – St Andrew’s suspension bridge

The other bridge I managed to catch before my ‘Night bridge’ pic collecting was curtailed, the St Andrew’s suspension bridge on Glasgow Green.

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge Night

St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge Night

I was a little disappointed to see that around half of the lights on this bridge had failed, but then wondered if that might have been a good thing, given the amount of processing I found was needed to kill of some of the glare from those that were left.

It’s nice to see something that retains some fairly noticeable colour when seen at night.

I should make a note to go back and do a set of pics on the lights fitted to this bridge. They are unusually large, and for external fittings, also very clear. Looking too closely at such fittings often shows they are discoloured, cloudy, or even frosted, and not really great subjects.

Stepping back, I couldn’t decide if the wider view was better than the close-in first shot just of the bridge.

So, it doesn’t cost anything, and I collected the wider view too.

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge Night Wide

St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge Night Wide

Jan 18, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Do I move around in a different Glasgow from everyone else?

I’ve already made few recent posts about how fed up I am seeing whining cycling activists/campaigners moan about non-existent gridlock and aggressive motorists in Glasgow, and now see the council is proposing to end free parking on Sundays, supposedly to deal with a lack of available spaces which in turn causes congestion and brings an unnecessary level of pollution to the area.

I must live in a different Glasgow from all those people.

Free parking spaces could be axed on Sundays in Glasgow

Plans to scrap free street parking in the city centre on Sundays – here’s what you need to know

Apart from the run-up to Christmas and the sales, when the streets got a little busier, I like getting into Glasgow (by bike, if that’s not clear) on Sundays as the place is even quieter than it is during the week.

I have to be clear that while I’ve not driven into Glasgow for some years now, I still watch the roads for changes, and if there are parking problems, then I strongly doubt it is down to the number of cars.

I’ve noted controlled (ie PAY for it) parking spaces creep into areas, and onto streets, where there were no restrictions in the past.

I’ve also noted numerous places which USED to have parking bays no longer have them.

In many cases, these just disappeared, to be replaced by areas marked for disabled or blue badge holders, but even those vanished later, to be replaced by yellow line (which blue badge holders can often still park on).

What I’m saying is that I may be more observant than many, and while most people don’t watch these changes, I see what would now be described as ‘Stealth Tactics’ being employed in order to introduce changes in small, almost imperceptible steps, to suit various policies.

I’m not suggesting this is necessarily a bad thing, as it can make transitions smoother by avoiding large, or step, changes.

However, I do find it objectionable if these are misrepresented as changes being brought about by traffic and congestion problems, which I simply don’t see on Glasgow’s streets – an observation I make as someone who cycles on them.

Nor would I suggest there is NEVER any congestion, or any problems – just that this is not the norm, or only appears at peak traffic time, which is surely to be expected.

I don’t think I’ll even bother commenting about the crazy pollution claims being made nowadays.

Frankly, they make about as much sense as the claims (by some) that hundreds of thousands of people died after Chernobyl, which is sheer speculation, as opposed to the actual documented number (which is 35 if you have never checked). Realistically, taking into account the spread of radiation, statistics suggest an additional 40,000 cancer deaths, but that’s by 2065. By then millions of people will have died of cancer that has nothing to do with Chernobyl.

I’d much rather the council just came clean and stated clear and simple policies on driving cars out of the city, or that it just wants to milk the motorist for cash 7 days a week.

Of course, the problem with that would probably be outrage from shops, and hassle for the council.

Christmas peak hour evening  traffic in Trongate 🙂

Gridlocked Glasgow Trongate

Gridlocked Glasgow Trongate

Jan 17, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Remember how I always say you can’t satisfy ferry campaigners?

Although I no longer get to use Clyde ferries, I still watch the news about ferry campaigners and activists, and have done so for well over twenty years, over which time I have come to conclusion that NOTHING can be done which satisfies them.

They just love to spend their time whining and complaining.

Years ago it used be RET (road equivalent tariff), with endless calls for its adoption to reduce ferry fares and increase visitor numbers to increase tourist visits and bring more money to the islands.


Ticket prices on some ferry services could be increased to help mitigate high demand at peak times, the Transport Secretary has said.

Speaking at Holyrood’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee on Wednesday, Michael Matheson said peak-time pricing could be introduced to better manage capacity.

Increased tourist numbers during the summer period have been highlighted as a key concern for island residents, who have previously indicated difficulties in acquiring a ticket to travel during busy spells.

Higher fares could be introduced on Scottish ferries to manage tourists

Oh joy.

Now we can all sort of whining and claims that fares have been increased on the wrong routes, that some community or another is being disadvantaged, or even deliberately targeted to ruining it in preference to another.

The possibilities are endless.

We need…

A user survey.

Free Sheep Ferry

Free Sheep Ferry

I’ve told the sheep ferry story somewhere else in the blog, where you can find it.

Jan 17, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maritime, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

What does File Transfer Protocol have to do with sectarianism?

Sometimes I think those who make up claims they are subject to abuse can be worse than those who actually carry out such abuse.

Take this silly case of the Catholic Church which has just call for a crackdown on licence plates which it has suddenly decided are’sectarian’.

It might be worth noting that they’re a bit late making up this one, since these registration numbers have been around for years, LOTS of years. And, I might add, been driving around Glasgow for years, apparently without issue – until today.

This is really a case of people with too much time on their hands, LOOKING for things to make a problem of, and CAUSE problems.

The Catholic Church have called for a ban on “sectarian” licence plates after one bearing the letters FTP went on sale in Bearsden.

The reg S6 FTP was advertised on Gumtree by a seller near Glasgow for around £1000.

The ad – which has been taken down– suggested it would appeal to Rangers supporters, according to the Daily Record .

It added that the plate was originally on a fans’ minibus.

A spokesman for Call it Out, who campaign against anti-Catholic and anti-Irish hate crime, said: “It is clear from the sale of a number plate bearing these three letters that both seller and buyer recognise the value they have for those who wish to showcase their intolerance in this fashion.”

Catholic Church calls for crackdown on ‘sectarian’ licence plates after FTP one goes on sale in Glasgow


These registrations have been around for years, clearly visible on cars all around the UK.

This is NOT about the registration.

It is about a SAD response to a Daily Record article, written as almost malicious, trouble-making clickbait, which the church, and its supporters, should not have risen to, or taken up with the Daily Record, whose writing and intent were clearly to stir up trouble, or at least a reaction.

Involving, or targetting the DVLA was a silly move.

Thanks to the Church, and the Daily Record, there’s probably a load of genuine bigots looking for these plates (who would not have bothered before) now that they know the Church’s reaction, and that it is worth the effort/cost.


I just had a look at one of my cherished registration number dealers.

The have some 200 similar letter plates on offer.

And that’s just ONE dealer.

Genuine H8 Plate

Given its hysterical reaction to the innocent S6 FTP on offer.

What might the church’s response be to this genuine H8 plate, coincidentally currently on offer for £700.

H8 FTP Yours for £700

H8 FTP Yours for £700

Jan 17, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Bumped into an old ‘friend’ – the illegals – A1 EKX

I thought this one was long gone from the area, but it looks as if I was just always around at the wrong time.

Years ago, I was impressed when somebody got themselves a Lexus Soarer to attach this plate to.

Back then, this was probably an import, and the top end versions had things like TVs fitted to the dash as standard.

Regularly seen then, both car and plate seemed to disappear (or maybe I just changed my usual wanderings).

Seen recently, the Soarer had turned into a white van, a 2013 Peugeot Boxer.

But the plate was still tweaked to make A1 EKX look as if it had an ‘L’ in it. I think it’s just careful positioning of a black screw/bolt head, but it’s still not allowed if it alters a character.

It really doesn’t need this treatment, and would look better without it.

Unfortunately, the law would see this as a modification, and it could be worth up to £1,000 in a fine if spotted by a grumpy traffic cop having a bad day.

2013 Peugeot Boxer [A1 EKX]

2013 Peugeot Boxer [A1 EKX]

Jan 14, 2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Night bridges – Polmadie

I had intended to try for some ‘better’ night shots of some bridges over the Clyde, but, as usual, some unrelated problems kicked the idea off the table, but I did collect a few of my more usual handheld captures.

I had read that the new Polmadie footbridge had new LED lighting installed, but a daylight inspection didn’t identify how this was installed.

Once I saw the thing at night, it was obvious.

The lights are fitted internally, within the handrail, and fire downwards through holes in its underside, which was why I didn’t spot them first time around.

Surprising sky in this view, as it was almost as black as the ground when I took the pic, but looks almost bright in the finished shot.

Polmadie Footbridge Night

Polmadie Footbridge Night

Jan 13, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Maid of the Lock slip seems to have generated another spurious headline (or clickbait?)

Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed an apparent trend for media articles to state one thing in their headline, then report a lesser story in their text.

I’m almost tempted to start posting these as I spot them, to see if I am imagining it, or if news editors (or their army of hacks, desperate to get earn a wee bonus) have issued an instruction that articles must be given a headline that will attract readers/clicks.

Most recent was a follow-up to yesterday’s incident involving the Maid of the Loch, when something broke/failed as she was being winched up the old slip at Balloch, and she slid back into the water.

While this could have been dramatic, the video I saw showed a fairly leisurely incident, and no real haste by those nearby to run for their lives.

That said, I acknowledge my observation could be entirely in error, and a different viewpoint may have shown many people were lucky not to be killed or injured.

I don’t know.

However, today we have this headline…

HSE probe after Maid of the Loch breaks free

I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, that wording implies that the HSE initiated a probe into the incident.


When I looked at the small print in the article, I learned that…

“The Board of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company met this morning and have agreed to commission an independent inquiry into the cause of the incident.

“Appropriate consultants are being contacted and the incident has been reported to the HSE.”

So there is not actually any HSE probe into the incident at this stage, and it may ultimately choose not even to look into it.

Source: HSE probe after Maid of the Loch breaks free

Maid of the Loch 2017

Maid of the Loch 2017

Jan 11, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Not sure – BJ 7

First interesting registration seen this year (well, locally, not in Glasgow city, where it’s too easy), and I’m not sure I’d want to live behind it.

I’m sure the jokes about BJ 7 would soon become boring, or worse.

Apart from that, I like it – even if I do hear the theme song to ‘BJ and the Bear’ echoing in my head every time I look at it – EVERY… DAMNED… TIME!

Sad to see a BMW X6 with a depressing diesel too, so this one was doubly disappointing.

2018 BMW X6 D [BJ 7]

2018 BMW X6 D [BJ 7]

This particular pic has confirmed a new irritation in WordPress (which is becoming quite irritating for a number of other reasons – and I don’t really want to change platforms) – when I upload a pic, the code now seems to change all the file name characters to lower case, so I have to edit it to keep it spelling and grammar correct in captions and the like.


Jan 11, 2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Oops – Maid of the Loch slips on slip

A perfect opportunity for the Armchair Experts and the We Told You So society to have a joint meeting and celebration, as the Maid of the Loch suffered a very public mishap during her trip up the old slipway at Balloch.

As usual, there were plenty of people on hand who knew better than those who were actually carrying out the work.

One always wonder why they never come forward BEFORE such events, take over, and prevent their occurrence.

Bystanders suggested the problem was with the cradle at the front and they questioned whether the ship had been put up correctly.

Whoops! Maid of Loch falls back in water in winching fail

Maybe they’re not as smart as they often make out, and just smug people equipped with perfect 20/20 hindsight!

Sadly, although the BBC offers and embeddable video of the incident (which seems to be a lot slower and uneventful than some reports seem to suggest), WordPress kills it when I include it, so you’ll have to click on the links below to see it.

Maid of the Loch slips back into water

Workers flee as Maid of the Loch paddle steamer slides back into water

Some more…

Watch as attempt to haul Maid of the Loch out of the water fails

In pictures: An attempt to bring the Maid of the Loch out of the water fails

Hopefully it was something as simple as the failure of an old or little used part on the old slipway (itself a historic relic) which will be nothing more than an inconvenience to repair or replace, and nothing valuable was damaged.

Maid of the Loch - undergoing slipping

Maid of the Loch – undergoing slipping back in 2006

Jan 10, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Junctions where pedestrians should take care

It’s only three months since we had “Scotland’s most dangerous traffic junction has been revealed” and noted St Vincent Street and Douglas Street junction is ‘Crash Central’.

Now we have…

Five of Scotland’s most dangerous places for pedestrians can be found in Glasgow, according to new police figures.

Thirteen hotspots have topped the list of where pedestrians are most at risk in Scotland.


Balgrayhill Road near the Viewpoint Place bus stop, where three people suffered minor injuries in two separate incidents.

A803 Springburn Road and Atlas Road junction near Sighthill Cemetery. Three people were injured in two separate incidents. A 32-year-old woman was seriously hurt on March 3 and a 54-year-old man also suffered serious injuries on February 14.

Renfrew Street and Renfield Street junction, near the Pavillion Theatre. Three people suffered minor injuries there in three separate incidents.

Cathcart Road and Allison Street junction in Govanhill, where three people were slightly hurt in three separate incidents.

Argyll Street in Kelvingrove near the junction with Sauchiehall Street. A 46-year-old woman and five-year-old child were seriously hurt in an incident there on September 11, while a 21-year-old woman suffered minor injuries in the same place on April 4.

Glasgow’s most dangerous junctions for pedestrians revealed

I may be suffering from the effects of my ‘cynical gene’, but I’m uncomfortable with the language used in this article.

In the quote, two phrases stand out for me…

“most dangerous places for pedestrians”


“where pedestrians are most at risk”

There no context offered for the ‘incidents’ referred to, so we have no idea who was at fault, who caused the incident, or the circumstances.

While not intending to excuse any dangerous driving, I walk enough streets and see enough people taking chances in dashes across the road through moving traffic to be impressed that so many ‘get away’ with the stupid stunts, and that many drivers are lucky not to have damaged cars from such behaviour.

Are these so-called pedestrian ‘hotspots’ arising because of road traffic, or because they are badly designed spots where pedestrians cannot navigate the road/traffic safely, or locations where they are funnelled into attempting to cross at a hazardous spot, where barriers or crossings should really be installed?

Simply listing the numbers is NOT enough.

Context is very relevant.

It’s not good enough just to leave the assumption that the driver was at fault.

With no ‘nice’ pics of such incidents, I thought I’d go with this infographic, since Scotland/Glasgow is currently surveying opinion on a 20 mph limit for traffic in certain areas – and I have noted a surprisingly/worryingly/disturbingly large number of public commenters say /claim dropping from 30 mph to 20 mph makes no difference.

I wonder who they are, and what their agenda is?

Speed Vs Injury


Jan 10, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | | Leave a comment

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