Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Clutha inquiry S07

The Clutha inquiry is drawing to a close, the findings will be released as soon as possible.

It’s a little sad to see that the main comments are all negative, regardless of the outcome of the inquiry.

It’s almost as if everyone is trying to score points and prepare the ground for some sort of “I told you so” response if the finding does not suit their particular agenda.

Sheriff principal Turnbull acknowledged that the delay in holding the inquiry had caused great distress.

A number of representatives for the victims expressed disappointment in the proceedings.

Donald Findlay QC, representing Mary Kavanagh, the partner of victim Robert Jenkins, said she felt crash victims did not feature enough during the inquiry held at Hampden Park.

Gordon Jackson QC, representing the family of victim Gary Arthur, said he had asked the Crown Office why there had been such a long delay in starting the inquiry and said he would ask them for an apology if their explanation was not entirely satisfactory.

The Crown Office has previously acknowledged the delay in calling a fatal accident inquiry into the crash.

Clutha bar helicopter crash inquiry concludes

The Clutha Bar 2019

The Clutha Bar 2019

11/08/2019 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Clutha inquiry S06

Back in the news, this time with the thoughts of a psychologist, and mildly alarming too, in a way.

But it also shows why I often suggest not making assumptions on court cases based only on snippets the media choose to report – ALL the material considered needs to be known before a conclusion, or even a valid opinion can be formed, not just a few tasty highlights extracted to attract readers.

The pilot of the helicopter which crashed into the Clutha bar probably “violated procedures”, an expert has told an inquiry.

Prof Polly Dalton, a psychologist at Royal Holloway University of London, was commissioned to compile a report for the Fatal Accident Inquiry.

She discussed a number of options to explain pilot David Traill’s behaviour.

The FAI was previously told the captain didn’t follow the standard emergency procedures that night.

Giving evidence as the final witness to the Clutha Fatal Accident Inquiry, Prof Dalton said “the pilots failure to land the aircraft within the 10 minute time limit would appear to constitute a deliberate violation of safe practice”.

She also said it could have been a deliberate sabotage.

But she ruled those out and concluded that it was “most likely the pilot violated the standard operating procedures because he mistakenly believed that they were not appropriate to that particular situation”.

Clutha Inquiry: ‘Mistaken’ pilot ‘violated procedures’


The Clutha Bar 2019

The Clutha Bar 2019

21/07/2019 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Clutha inquiry S05

Back in the news.

This week…

Clutha Inquiry: Pilot says he never had low fuel warning

Clutha helicopter crash – Handover pilot tells inquiry he has ‘never experienced’ low fuel warning in flight

Clutha: Helicopter instructor had no issues with pilot

Clutha Inquiry: pilot ‘very good’ in proficiency test

Pilot ‘has faith’ in Clutha aircraft despite fuel issue

Clutha Inquiry: Helicopter model ‘had fuel indication issues in months after crash’

The Clutha Bar 2019

The Clutha Bar 2019

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

Clutha inquiry S04

This week…

Clutha inquiry: Helicopter operators ‘concerned about fuel indicators’ before fatal crash

Faulty fuel sensors on Clutha helicopter ‘were not replaced’

Clutha helicopter operators ‘worried about fuel display’

Clutha helicopter crash inquiry: two drops of water could have caused faulty fuel reading

Clutha: Two drops of water ‘could distort fuel reading’

Clutha inquiry: Pilot warned of faulty fuel reading

The Clutha Bar 2019

The Clutha Bar 2019

19/05/2019 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Clutha inquiry S03

This week…

Clutha Inquiry: Engineer’s fears over helicopter maintenance

Interesting – this next account seems to challenge the preceding.

Clutha Inquiry: Police inspector describes helicopter’s fuel warning ‘issues’

The Clutha Bar 2019

The Clutha Bar 2019

05/05/2019 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Clutha inquiry S02

This week…

Clutha helicopter crash pilot was ‘stickler for procedure’

Clutha Inquiry: Clutha pilot had previous fuel warning light

The BBC seems to have a ‘boilerplate’ of material repeating the event and consequences each time it runs an article.

Interesting to see that The Scotsman had an article which reported in detail on the exclusion of water causing a problem, or emulsifying in the fuel.

Investigators ruled out the prospect that emulsified fuel in the helicopter involved in the Clutha disaster caused a drift in its fuel sensor readings, given no water was found in the aircraft’s tanks, a court has heard.

Fuel theory ruled out, Clutha inquiry hears

The Clutha’s always busy when I pass.

I always wonder how many in the nice new ‘Beer Garden’ that was bashed through the wall and memorial mural are locals, and how many are tourists, with no idea of what happened there.

Click for bigger.

The Clutha Bar 2019

The Clutha Bar 2019

28/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Clutha inquiry S01

I’m changing this to a weekly summary option, rather than making a post when the media notices anything, as my interest in helicopters means I keep watching it, but I don’t really want to post about some of the stuff raised by the legal representatives, as some of it is more like ‘Points Scoring’ than relevant material (and is getting a little irritating as this is supposedly a solemn inquiry).

So, I’ll just tend to note progress.

Clutha Inquiry: ‘No evidence’ of helicopter fuel contamination

Clutha FAI: No smell of fuel at Glasgow crash scene, inquiry told

No smell of fuel at Clutha crash scene, inquiry told

Clutha Tributes

Clutha Tributes

21/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Yet another Clutha media story

Is it just me, or are most recent article about the Clutha incident generally negative?

Last time (I’m not counting positive stories regarding rescue/survivors) it was the Clutha’s owner taking Bristow to court.

This time, it’s complaints about the outcome of the FAI (Fatal Accident Inquiry), not even known at this stage, and the time it has taken to be conducted.

I haven’t noticed this sort of ‘hurry’ wanted in past serious incidents, but now note it has also been forwarded regarding investigation/report into the fire at the Mackintosh Building.

In both cases, it seems that there is a suggestion that the delay means the result will somehow not be valid.

Yet, I wonder if the same people would be jumping up and down if these inquiries and reports had been carried out and completed much sooner, and complaining that they had been carried out with ‘undue haste’, before proper investigation, gathering of evidence, and evaluation, followed by demands that another be held, this time with the required time being spent.

One way or another, it seems someone is always unhappy.

Compare with many news stories that report errors or mistakes in procedures.

No longer do such articles begin with something like ‘Call for procedure to be reviewed’, or even ‘Introduced’ if there are none.

Now, almost every such story begins with the heading “Family angered by…”, or “Anger at…”.

Does every story have to begin with what amounts to little more than ‘Clickbait’, or something to draw readers in?

Just an observation.

But have a look – you may find I am right.

Father of Clutha victim does not expect justice from FAI

The Clutha

The Clutha

05/12/2018 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Last week was almost like Mackintosh Week

Last week was something of a bonus for those who like Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

I’m always slightly wary of mentioning such things, since certain ‘types’ I don’t like to be associated with decided to adopt Mackintosh as one of their heroes, and decided it would be ‘kewl’ to pretend they had always liked him and his work.

“The city that rejected him now plasters his image on everything from tea towels to fridge magnets,” says Lachlan Goudie.

First surprise was spotting Mackintosh feature in a documentary (available online until the end of June 2018):

Mackintosh: Glasgow’s Neglected Genius

Glasgow artist Lachlan Goudie examines the life, work and legacy of Scotland’s most celebrated architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh – the man Lachlan Goudie calls “The greatest genius in the history of Scottish art”.

The film examines Mackintosh’s iconic buildings, notably the Glasgow School of Art. Interwoven with his architecture, design and watercolours is the personal story of Mackintosh. Little known at home, his work found favour on the continent. In later years he struggled for work, and came to endure real poverty, but continued to create remarkable pieces of art.


Then there was some fairly significant news regarding the completion of works to restore the Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street.

A tea room designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh has been reopened to mark the 150th anniversary of the great architect’s birth.

The public had the chance on Thursday to preview the Mackintosh Willow Tea Rooms, first opened in 1903, after it underwent a £10m restoration project.

The 200-seat restaurant and tea rooms will have a phased opening during the summer with the official opening of Mackintosh at the Willow in September.

It is estimated the tea rooms in Glasgow will welcome at least 360,000 visitors a year.

The building at 217 Sauchiehall Street is of international significance.

It is the only building where Mackintosh had total control over the architecture and the decorative elements, including the design of the cutlery and the waitress’s uniforms.

The new heritage attraction will include a gallery, billiard room and an exhibition, retail, learning and education and conference suite in the adjoining building.

Mackintosh tea room reopens 150 years after his birth

Much as I’d liked to have included my own pic of the exterior at least (which I passed a few days before this news was published, and I’m not likely to ever be inside), at the moment, that’s not possible, so you’ll have to make do with the news publicity pic.

Mackintosh at the Willow Pic Credit: PA

Mackintosh at the Willow Pic Credit: PA


If you have never managed to visit any Mackintosh creations (and, don’t forget there is an excellent display of some of his work always to be found on show in Kelvingrove), then this selection of images featured in a BBC article will hopefully give you an idea of what those of us who admired his work in the years before he was hijacked by the ‘kewl brigade’ were attracted to, long before dropping his name in company became ‘fashionable’.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the rooms that inspired Europe

Of the featured locations, I didn’t realise the Glasgow School of Art ran tours of the interior, although I’d seen the exterior and grabbed the odd pic more than once. Then, although I was a regular visitor to Helensburgh, I’d never tripped over Hill House by accident, so eventually made the pilgrimage there many years ago, and it was worth the effort. Probably the one place I visited frequently (without realising it) was the Mackintosh House at The Hunterian Museum.

I’m sad to see that each visit to the Mackintosh House now has an admission charge of £6 – when I was wandering around there some years ago, entry was free.

I guess this is the price of ‘kewl’.

The Mackintosh House

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Hill House

House for an Art Lover

And finally…

Green light for giant Mackintosh mural after planning row

A giant mural to Charles Rennie Mackintosh overlooking The Clutha bar has been given the green light despite an objection by an arts charity.

Bar owner Alan Crossan had hoped the tribute would have been completed in time for the 150th anniversary of the iconic designer’s birth on Thursday.

But Workshop & Artists Studio Provision Scotland (Wasps) said he didn’t seek permission from Glasgow City Council.

But a planning enforcement officer has now ruled the mural can go ahead.

Scaffolding was erected outside the Clydeside pub at the end of last week and the wall, which is around 60ft by 40ft, was painted white.

But work had to be abandoned after Wasps objected on the grounds that the pub is next door to the A-listed Briggait.


To some extent, it’s understandable that somebody would think they could do what they like with their own property, but on the other hand, it’s a bit hard to believe that anyone involved in a business in Glasgow city centre wouldn’t check with the city’s planning department before doing anything overseen by neighbours, or the public.

Or perhaps that an artist’s studio that wasn’t part of a mural that appeared beside it might not find a way to drop a ‘hint’.

I’ll have to make a point of getting down there later, as I won’t be able to get there in the near future.

Well, since I never got around to using this stitch of the original Clutha mural, I might as well use it here – since it shows The Briggait just to the right.

Also, it no longer exists since a chunk was carved out of wall in the middle, to open out the area for a ‘Beer Garden’.

Click on the mural image for a slightly bigger version.

Clutha Mural Stitch

Clutha Mural Stitch

11/06/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Clyde rower

Not sure how I actually managed to catch this, as I was carrying the compact in my pocket.

Compact – find… find ‘ON# button… wait for Bzzz, whir, click, click, bzzz of start-up routine and self-test EVERY DAMN TIME!

Then try and frame shot with power zoom back and forth.

Not to mention having to use LCD on camera back as there is no real viewfinder.

Then wait while camera has ‘tea & biscuits’ as it sets things up in response to your plea for it to ‘TAKE THE DAMNED PICTURE’ after you press the shutter button.

Ok, in reality it does not take THAT long (except for low-light or night shots), but compared to the instant response of a dSLR, and the fact that it is ‘Always On’, the compact FEELS like it takes an eternity as it does its stuff at every power-up.

Clyde Rower Dalmarnock Rutherglen

Clyde Rower Dalmarnock Rutherglen

I believe this boatyard, across the River Clyde from the Dalmarmock Sewage Work, next the Dalmarnock railway bridge, and below Dalmarnock Road – is referred to everywhere online as the Rutherglen Boatyard, and is all that remains of the old yard founded by TB Seath.

Oddly, even historic record for the area show this Rutherglen boatyard on the spot, yet make no mention of Seath.

Seath built many boats, sailed down the Clyde and over the tidal weir to reach the sea, including the Cluthas which provided ferry services on the river.

Benmore, a 200 ft paddle steamer, was famously grounded on the weir on its deliver sailing, but was finally rocked off and set free!

It seems there is no sea access these days, closed off by various changes to the river, and a lack of dredging to maintain an adequate channel along the whole length.

23/05/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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