Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Long time no see – pointy stabby thing just lying there

As I wear a variety of footwear depending on weather and activity, I’m not always on top of nice thick soles, so seeing something I haven’t seen (in the dark, last night) for some time was not particularly amusing.

Skulking around Moore Street in Calton I almost missed this nice little surprise left by some low-life.

Never mind replacing the cover, or disposing of safely/responsibly – this even had the needle bent over (deliberately?) so anyone careless enough to pick it up (and there are folk who have no idea how to handle sharps) runs an increased risk of being stuck if they lift it by holding the sides, in the mistaken belief that keeps them away from the pointy end.

Pointy Thing

Pointy Thing

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28/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The giant hogweed farms see bumper crops in 2019

Coming along the path along the River Clyde near Cambuslang, it was hard not to miss this years apparently bumper crop of giant hogweed springing up along the riverbank.

It may not be all that warm, but combined with the recent damp spell, these things seem to be thriving, and look as if they are set to fill any available space down there.

These are already as tall as man, taller in fact, since these pics were taken from the path overlooking the river, and are easily level with (and above) my head. The ground they are rising from is about a metre below my feet.

Don’t forget the sap from these plants can render skin ultra sensitive to sunlight if it comes into contact with it, potentially leading to huge blisters, and even scarring.

Giant Hogweed 2019

Giant Hogweed 2019

14/06/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Are you safe behind a personalised registration?

After the recent(ish) stupidity (from ‘The Church’ would you believe?) in Glasgow when a registration number featuring the letters ‘FTP’ was offered for sale (I still don’t understand what is wrong with File Transfer Protocol), I’ve wondered if it’s safe to even have some numbers on your car if a supposedly responsible organisation takes that attitude to something that has been around for years. Many years in fact, as the numbers are ‘dateless’, having no prefix or suffix year letter. Numerous vehicles have been circulating on the streets (including Glasgow) for years, with no problem. Some have lived near me, but I never thought of them as being worthy of a pic, or adding to my ‘collection’.

Now, with a supposedly responsible organisation (‘The Church’) creating a fuss over nothing AND irresponsibly whipping up emotions, one has to wonder about personal safety if the likes of mad activist groups such as political extremists, or Excretion Revulsion decide to target cars/drivers if they deem their numbers as ‘unacceptable’.

A couple of examples that come to mind…

Glasgow Taxi [2 SNP]

Glasgow Taxi [2 SNP]

Anon donated pic (an email offering inspired by my ‘The illegals’ series), so no idea where this one lives…

2011 Range Rover [PO11 UTE]

2011 Range Rover [PO11 UTE]

07/06/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Well, I TRIED to warn you about Dumb and Dumber Deer

Nice of officialdom to map out the places where dumb deer will try to kill you.

Deer hotspots highlighted in warning to Glasgow drivers

And the number… the numbers are alarming.

Deer really are thicker than two short planks, and dangerous.

It’s almost funny that the article refers to “If you hit a deer”, since their behaviour and the way they’ll bolt out of cover from the side of the road makes the reality more likely to be that one of them will hit you.

Still, it’s worth taking note of most of the advice offered in this article, but maybe not so much where it suggests drivers hit deer.

And not just drivers are at risk from these idiots. See this video.

Deer attacks innocent cyclist

Fortunately, another cyclist missed being totalled by a deer – as it totalled itself by colliding with a car!

Yes folks, again, the deer hit the car, not vice versa. See this video, and some pics.

Deer, best avoided

Deer Danger

Deer Danger

25/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

I keep telling you deer are dangerous

Now it seems they are not only so dumb they should not be allowed near the road

But you are going to have to be careful when just walking in the woods too!

Deer Danger

03/02/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , | 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”

And…

“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

 

10/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | | Leave a comment

Dumb deer – apparently even dumber after we move the clocks

I finally got around to writing a post about one of my pet hates a while ago – dumb deer.

Worth clicking on the link and having a look, it gained quite a few pics to illustrate the point.

That one grew a bit, so I won’t waffle on again, but remind you that they are dangerous, and thanks to their ability to defeat fences, can be found wandering on the road, where they have no place as they seem to no ability to understand that cars are MOVING objects, and will just take off and run into them, so they are just as likely to hit the side as front.

Even if a driver hit a deer square on with the front of their car, I would STILL describe that as the deer hitting the car!

It seems I might have inspired others to write about the dopey deer, as this is the first time I can think of seeing a media article written to specifically warn drivers about them.

Glasgow drivers are being warned to watch out for stray deer on the city’s roads.

With the clocks having now turned back, drivers across Glasgow are being advised to look out for deer crossing roads, as the evenings draw in.

The deer rutting season is at its peak and Scotland TranServ has identified the M77 at Pollok Estate and the M80 near Junction 2 as potential local hotspots for deer strikes.

Increasingly roe deer are becoming established within urban areas, prevailing in our large towns and cities such as Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Dumfries, Paisley, East Kilbride and Ayr.

It is understood that the reason for this is the spread of villages, towns and cities into historic and current deer range.

Drivers warned to watch out for deer on Glasgow motorways as dark nights draw in

Oh joy!

Now one need not drive out of Glasgow in order for them to make an attempt on your life, or cost you a fortune in damage.

They dug up some figures showing just how costly these ‘road morons’ are for drivers:

Figures on the number of DVCs (Deer-Vehicle-Collisions) collated from the National Deer-Vehicle Collisions project suggest 40,000 deer are killed in vehicle strikes every year.

It is estimated that in Scotland there could be as many as 9,000 collisions per year, resulting in anywhere between 50 and 100 human injuries, with the total cost of material damage and injury thought to be around £9.5million.

Here’s a thought…

Invite brave ‘world-renowned hunter’ Ms Larysa Switlyk (who calls herself a “professional huntress and angler”) to come and shoot them all. Surely she’d appreciate the challenge, or does she only shoot dangerous and ravenous (wo)man-eating Scottish goats?

I get to use my favourite phrase now 🙂

I told you so.

And, I already knew they were moving into the burbs, since I took this picture quite near Apollo Towers.

Baggyminnow Pond Deer Original

Baggyminnow Pond Deer Original

30/10/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

St Vincent Street and Douglas Street junction is ‘Crash Central’

I’m not sure agree with the ‘league of shame’ description the writer assigned to the result of an analysis of road traffic collisions, since that seems to imply (for me at least) some sort of choice to have a collision, which is… unlikely.

Even if a bad decision led to the collision, it’s probably still an unintended result, which is why they’re referred to as ‘accidents’, and not ‘on purposes’ (unless you’re one of the sort of scum that deliberately CAUSES an accident in order to scam the insurance companies.

I’ve always wondered about this (and other) junction on the steep hill these roads are built on, and if it affected the accident rate – now I know.

I used to be in Glasgow at all hours, and one of the amusing things was to watch the area about halfway down the sections leading to St Vincent Street, where West George Lane crosses Douglas Street (this isn’t the only spot like this). The hill road changes from steep hill to less steep as it crosses the path of the lane, then gets steep again (it doesn’t look like much of a change in pics, but feels greater as you drive over it). The short section of steep hill, and junction at the end means you don’t want to let your speed build, but years ago, the er… ‘Ladies of the Night’ used to congregate at the level section of road, and tout for business as cars drove relatively slowly there.

It used to be fun watching them, as I often got pressed into service as a ‘private taxi’ for the boss and had to wait near the various hotels there, so he could take customers to dinner, and not worry about driving after drinking.

Scotland’s most dangerous traffic junction has been revealed – and it’s a busy spot in Glasgow’s city centre.

The ‘league of shame’ is based on analysis of more than 100,000 road traffic collisions in Britain in 2017 in which people were either killed or injured.

The data reveals that there was one junction in Scotland which saw five accidents resulting in casualties: the crossroad between St Vincent Street and Douglas Street.

The junction may not be the busiest in the city, making it a surprise hotspot – but the steep incline on Douglas Street and give way junction at the top of the hill cause trouble for many drivers.

The five casualty-causing collisions there in 2017 took place on February 22, February 27, April 7, May 5, and September 15. They involved a total of 10 vehicles and saw six people injured in all.

All those injuries were classified as “slight”.

Glasgow junction named the ‘most dangerous’ in Scotland for car crashes

I guess the good thing to take from this is that they probably all took place at low speed, due to the location.

I was just counting myself lucky not to have cycled down this street (it’s one way anyway, UP the hill) when I realised I had done just that recently, on the equally steep Bytheswood Street, while heading down to the River Clyde after visiting the Mackintosh Building. The one way system (and road works in Sauchiehall Street) make it hard to find a quick route if you can’t remember which street goes which way, and I’m usually walking, so the one way routing doesn’t matter.

This view looking UP Blytheswood Street from St Vincent Street might help give an idea of the steepness, if you look at the altitude change to the buildings up the hill.

 

29/10/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

How can people walk away after leaving tyres like this?

While I may not suffer from the chronic OCD seen on some TV programmes, I do have the gene, or something related to it in terms of being a ‘perfectionist’.

There are many things I don’t even attempt because I know (or expect) not to be able to carry them out perfectly, or finish them perfectly.

Another aspect is not being able to do something “Just plain wrong!”

One manifestation of this not being able to leave a vehicle parked badly, which is just as much to do with being neat as it is not be seen to demonstrably be an idiot in public.

These examples go past that though, and frankly, I value my life too much to subject my tyres to this sort of abuse (as seen below).

It’s no wonder some people have tyres fail on the road as they drive along – the only good thing I can think about this is that many damaged tyres tend to deflate and become a recurring problem, so get replaced before the worst happens.

I’m reminded of some of my past company cars, which I drove for ages with no issues, yet when handed down the line, suddenly needed tyres every few months – and two of them failed while being driven on the motorway, with one spinning so many times it was declared a write-off. Lest you think I was desk-bound, in those days my weekly mileage varied, but could hit 1,000 miles per week (that only three trips to Aberdeen).

I didn’t set out to collect these and make a point – I just noticed them together recently.

Most of these seem to be inflated rock hard – but I have seen others where the tyres were clearly under inflated, and the sidewall was completely crushed by the weight loaded on it. Definitely not something you want to trust your life to afterwards. After loaning the company car to one of our female staff, I got it back (after a round trip to Edinburgh) with a cheerful “The steering felt a bit funny on the way back” as she dropped the keys and ran out the door. I bet it did! I walked around the car to find the nearside front had been kerbed, and driven flat for some distance – so far, in fact, that the rubber had been completely worn off the sidewall. The tread would soon have parted from the carcase if it had gone much further.

I once had a brand new tyre with a broken sidewall – so far out of balance the first time I drove it the instruments were unreadable at 50 mph, and when I was silly enough to approach 70 mph the whole dashboard was just a blur, and my day was over.

At least that was under contract hire – the tyre guy in the depot had not seen many, and even showed me the failed/faulty area of the sidewall.

Tyre: "Oh That Hurts!"

Tyre: “Oh That Hurts!”

And, a wander down the shops could have added another load to the above, but ‘Lisa Scott Jodie’ (you can’t make it out in the crushed image below, but that was proudly displayed on the plate) gave us this nice example, and a rule: ‘If you must have your name on your plate, you have to be perfect (or we will laugh at you)’.

Poor Tyre

Poor Tyre

There were some real gems, but they were the sort that needed more than one pic to reveal how bad they were.

Such as one tyre, jammed and crushed against the kerb by its own wheel rim and horribly crumpled. I’ve seen similar examples that just kept losing pressure later, as the sidewall had been minutely holed where the wheel had nipped it against the kerb.

06/10/2017 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Giant hogweed can both scar and blind

The dangers of Giant Hogweed have been mentioned before, and we’ve taken a few pics that show what this particularly nasty member of the plant kingdom looks like:

Giant hogweed example

But we’ve not come across any pics (other than in the tabloids, and they’d moan about copyright if we used any of their precious ‘work’) that really show the effects when giant hogweed sap contacts human skin and is exposed to sunlight.

The danger is the two steps needed to activate it, as someone who has come into contact with the toxic sap may not realise it at first, rub the area affected and transfer it to their hands, then to their face, and in the worst cases, to their eyes, where it can cause blindness as exposure to sunlight activates it.

Once activated, it can cause serious blistering and inflammation.

Pics from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation show that the effect of brushing up against the plant, the time taken for the effects to appear, and the resultant effect even after the initial reaction has passed.

 

Effect of Giant Hogweed Sap

Effect of Giant Hogweed Sap

Areas near places such as the River Clyde can be covered with these things, and when I was there few days ago the were leaning over the path from the verge.

I’m not willing to ‘Take one for the team’, so gave them a wide berth and avoid any reaction just to push them out of the way with my bare hand.

While that’s probably not to hazardous, the problem could come after pushing hard enough to break a stem and let the sap out, and then it could end up on bare skin. Even in Scotland, the chances of it getting a dash of sunlight are pretty high at this time of year.

24/07/2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Beware the Giant Hogweed – Really!

While I’ve been lucky enough to avoid even accidental contact with Giant Hogweed, I walk in many places where it grows, and is often ‘giant’, with the flowering heads often being well above my head, with those growing in damp riverbanks easily managing 4 or even 5 metres.

It really is a nasty plant to encounter, and its toxic sap can be dangerous:

Giant hogweed ‘UK’s most dangerous plant’, say rivers trust

It’s not only to be found near rivers, but is so prolific it now grows happily on any nearby ‘wild’ land.

I found this example by the roadside of a bridge over the River Clyde, and saw for the first time how the head actually breaks out of protective bag where the flowers reach maturity before being exposed.

This must be a fairly rapid process, as I haven’t come across either similar bags or sacks, or a freshly flowering example such as this before – just those that have flowered.

But the important point is the presence of these giants by the roadside, where those unaware of the danger could cut them, and be exposed to the toxic sap.

Giant Hogweed Bud

Giant Hogweed Bud

Now that I’ve seen this one, I note that the ‘dead’ sack can generally be seen withering below the flowering head.

And these few inches are as close as I want to be.

04/06/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

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