Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Comic Con 2014 set for Glasgow’s SECC in September

MCM Comic Con ScotlandDue to take place between the 7th and 8th of September 2014, Comic Con will have to (and probably will) do well to match its inaugural event of 2013.

Then, queues were reported to have lined up along the Clyde for the 1-day event, with a ‘one-out-one-in’ policy having to be operated for a time.

About 20,000 people were said to have attended the first Comic Con event in Scotland – no-one was turned away but the last 300 people in the queue were given free entry, as they were only able to get in for just over an hour.

There’s a promise of events and attractions, including a Comic Village packed with talented artists and writers; onstage panels and cosplay masquerades; a retro games zone and League of Legends tournament and, of course, a line-up of film and TV talent. (There’s no detailed list at the time of writing – I’ll try to update this post closer to the event.)

Scotland Comic Con

September’s Scotland Comic Con to run over entire weekend! | Scotland Comic Con

Space explorer

Space explorer

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September 1, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Britain From Above – Scotland’s Industrial Might at The Lighthouse 14 Feb – 27 Apr 2014

I only came across this exhibition a few days ago (but doubt I’ll be in Glasgow before it ends), and there’s still time to catch it at The Lighthouse in Glasgow’s Mitchell Lane, as it runs from 14 February to 27 April, 2014.

Drawing on many rare and previously unseen aerial images, this exhibition traces the histories of factories, shipyards, mills, ironworks and their surrounding communities over three decades, from 1919 to 1953. Industries are shown operating at peak and also in decline, as the ‘bird’s eye view’ tracks the impact of social, political and economic change on the urban fabric of Scotland, from the Great Depression to reconstruction in the aftermath of the Second World War. While many buildings are now gone, they live on in the memories of workers and their families – the economic powerhouse of the past is the heritage of today.

Via The Lighthouse – Glasgow : Visit : Exhibitions : Britain From Above – Scotland’s Industrial Might

There a bit of a coincidence with this, as I recently found a little shop selling assorted bric-à-brac (ok, junk) and other items, probably collected from house clearances and similar.

First time I passed, I noticed a dish full of mounted (but not framed) B&W pics of Glasgow. They looked to be largely industrial, but I didn’t have time to take a closer look.

Next time I was there, they had migrated to the wall, and I could see they originated from a well-known Scottish archive. I even recognised some of them, and knew where to download them (for personal use, of course.)

I thought they were just a single collection, but while discussing them, learned they were £2 each, or could be bought in sets for a reduced amount – and I didn’t ask any more.

I’m being deliberately vague, as I don’t want to make the guy in shop grumpy by affecting his sales (the prints are high quality and nicely mounted), not do I want to end up in the midst of some copyright nonsense involving the archive, which I know gets a little ‘nippy’ if it finds its material being used in a way it does not approve of.

April 26, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, photography, World War II | , , , | Leave a comment

Satellite 4 the 65th British Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow

I’m almost tempted to use the ‘Better late than never’ excuse for this event mention, but even that barely applies, or excuses, my failure to the notice the arrival of a Glasgow Eastercon.

I don’t really understand how I failed to notice or find Satellite 4, which is the 65th British Science Fiction Convention, taking place in the Crowne Plaza Hotel (next to the SECC) from the18th to 21st April 2014. It’s not all that long since I wrote (elsewhere) about the dearth of Eastercons (or any Science Fiction Conventions) in Glasgow these days, and I even had a hunt around the web for related events, and didn’t come across it. Cons are arranged well in advance of their due date, so I really should have found it. I’ve no idea how I managed to search so badly that I didn’t find this long ago.

(Hopefully I’ll do better in advance of ComicCon, due to take place in September 2014, over the weekend of the 7th and 8th in Hall 4 of the SECC.)

Full details of Satellite 4, its programme, and its Guests of Honour – including British scientist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell – can be found on the official web site:

Satellite 4

The BBC also mentioned it, and I found it there last night:

Sci-fi fans descend on Glasgow for Satellite 4 convention

Space explorer

Space explorer

April 19, 2014 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Glenrothes Aeromodelling Club static event at Kingdom Shopping Centre

Aircraft plan view

A static exhibition is planned by the Glenrothes Aeromodelling Club for Saturday, March 15, 2014, at at Lyon Square in the town’s Kingdom Shopping Centre.

Club members will be joined by friends from other clubs in the area, including Dunfermline, Balbedie, and Kinross, and will be displaying their model aircraft at the special event in the Centre.

The Glenrothes Club was formed in 1960, and has consistently had a healthy membership within the town.

Currently they have more than 60 regular members who attend events across the region.

The Glenrothes club is highly respected amongst the aeromodelling fraternity, and boasts a wealth of facilities including its own clubhouse and five-acre flying site with runway.

Via Glenrothes models take to the skies! – Fife Today

Fife Today might have been just a little over enthusiastic with their headline, since this is a static display.

It seems this is first time this sort of display has been organised for some years.

Although it’s years since I was last there, I was at the club site and enjoyed the flying displays they put on at the fairly numerous events held there.

Find out more on their own web site:

Home – Glenrothes Aeromodelling Club

March 8, 2014 Posted by | Aviation | , , | Leave a comment

Electric Glen 2014 sells out at Rouken Glen Park

Electric GlenI didn’t spot any news about East Renfrewshire Council’s Electric Glen show last year (which is said to have been a sell-out), but it seems that 2013 was the first time Rouken Glen Park was used to host the event, described by the council as “a fantastic night time experience of light, sound and performance.”

The show comprises a specially designed illuminated trail which guides visitors on a magical after dark adventure, deep into the glen, over the waterfall and around the boating lake, with a host of surprises, characters from Rouken Glen’s past, and interactive fun for all the family.

This is all a massive change from the dark days of 1983, when I recall there was huge outcry when plans to close the park were announced, and boulders were rolled across the gates and entrances to stop any entering as the grounds lay untended. Fortunately, negotiations between the two District Councils involved resulted in Eastwood District leasing the park for 125 years from 16 June, 1984.

I only made it to one Classic Car event held in the park, probably only a year or two before that closure, and circumstances have meant I never made it back again. Maybe I will try harder.

For 2014, they say Electric Glen will showcase the diverse natural beauty of the park at night, whilst special guests will share their unique stories and bring to life the heritage and history of the park.

I usually like to quote some numbers to give an idea of how popular shows like this are, but the BBC’s article describing the 2014 event as a sellout, but the reporters have made a bit of a mess, and refer to a “10,000 ticket” sell out last year (2013), a “24,000 ticket” sellout this year (2014), then end their article be stating that “This year’s festival has attracted 24,000 people”.

And one of those has to be wrong, because one family ticket admits up to 4 individuals – so we’ll lay safe and just say the event attracts “thousands”.

As already noted in the title, the 2014 show has sold out, but here are the prices, for info:

Adult: £7.50 – Concessions: £5.00 – Under 5’s: FREE but will require an under 5’s ticket

Family ticket (2 adults + 2 children): £20.00

Disabled (full show access inc. free ticket for carer): £5.00 – Disabled (wheels only route inc. free ticket for carer): £3.00 (The route for 2014 includes three sets of stairs and is unsuitable for wheelchairs.)

Official web site: About Electric Glen

Gallery: Gallery

Via: Electric Glen winter light show sells out – BBC News

See also: Rouken Glen – A History in Pictures

And: Rouken Glen Park

I tried to dig up some video of the event, but the official site didn’t appear to have any, and this was all I could find that was a decent length and included some reasonable image quality in the low light:

[url=http://www.roukenglen.org.uk/]Rouken Glen Park[/url]

February 12, 2014 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Almost 400 MG cars to gather in Aviemore at weekend

I’ve been to a fair number of Classic Car events, and a few of those included special visits by one-make car clubs, but none of them came close to the numbers expected at an MG event taking place this weekend, and gathering at Aviemore in preparation for making an appearance Nairn Highland Games.

The last one I recall (and attended) was a visit by Mercedes to the former Doune Motor Museum, I think this was only the German club that was on tour, rather than a mass gathering, and was one of few chances to see an original and genuine gullwing 300CSL – together with a few dozen other relatively rare examples of the marque.

Aviemore can expect to see somewhere in the order of 370 MGs from 23 countries at the event, described as Scotland’s largest ever gathering of the cars, according to the organiser.

Via Hundreds of MG owners in Aviemore for classic car festival | Highlands & Islands | News | STV

August 16, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Enchanted Forest 2013 – Sound and Light at Faskally Wood

In a break with my tradition of past years, when I didn’t notice this event was happening until it was imminent and almost past, I seem to have been notified of it just as the tickets go on sale – so no rush this time.

The event is scheduled to take place in Faskally Wood from Friday, October 4, 2013, until  Sunday, October 27, 2013.

It’s worth noting that the organisers have made special mention that there is NO vehicle access to The Enchanted Forest. Everyone is transported to the event by shuttle bus leaving directly from the New Fishers Hotel on Atholl Road in Pitlochry. Shuttle bus transfer is included in your ticket.

I mention that as it is handy that they have highlighted this, since I have attended other events (not this one) where the organisers have lost “Park & Ride” aspect in the smallest of small print, and it is no fun to arrive with people who might have a problem with such access – if not warned in advance, or you have to carry essential items by hand.

And it’s a busy event too. If you are not too keen on crowds, bear in mind they now expect to sell around 30,000 tickets, as the event has grown in popularity year on year.

Last year’s theme was “Flow”.

This year’s theme is “Absorb”.

I can only offer last year’s video as a taster (since I am early this year).

You can find links to other videos and photo galleries on the Enchanted Forest’s own web site:

The Enchanted Forest, Scotland’s Award Winning Sound & Light Show

You should also check there for any last-minute changes or alteration if planning to travel any distance to see the show.

Via Tickets on sale for Perth’s Enchanted Forest show – Arts – Scotsman.com

Update

Looks like this show just get more popular as time passes – apparently 8,000 more tickets sold than last year:

THE Enchanted Forest, Scotland’s largest outdoor light and sound show, has sold out in record time, it was revealed today.

Over 38,000 tickets have now been sold for the twelfth annual staging of the flagship Autumn event which opened at the Forestry Commission Scotland’s Faskally Wood near Pitlochry on 3 October.

The event, which is staged by social enterprise company the Highland Perthshire Community Interest Company, runs until 27 October.

A spokeswoman for the organisers said: “Over 38,000 tickets have been now sold for this year’s event, setting new box office records, and selling out in record time.”

She added: “The Enchanted Forest now attracts visitors from all over the UK and the world and the positive impact on the local area is estimated to be in the region of £2 million economic benefit this year.”

Via  Pitlochry Enchanted Forest show in record sell out – The Scotsman

I had a look for some video once the show had passed, but I selected this one that showed the opening, not for the opening, but because I had to have a seat when I saw the price of a cup of tea for visitors to the show… £2!

4 pence or so for a teabag, water (effectively free from the tap, even if rates are paid since we don’t have water meters), negligible electricity cost (say 1 penny for argument), a cup (5 pence), and £1.90 to the seller.

I’ll carry on visiting the seaside on the Clyde coast for fun, where I can get a ‘Large Tea’ for 50 pence.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Walk the Clyde Tunnel on its 50th

Clyde Tunnel 50 years

Assuming nothing happens to see the opportunity being cancelled, Sunday, July 7, 2013, should see the first guided walking tours of Glasgow’s Clyde Tunnel take place.

Via Clyde Tunnel guided tours for 50th anniversary – Transport – Scotsman.com

See also 50 years of the Clyde Tunnel – Dumbarton Road Corridor Environment Trust (DCRET)

The northbound tunnel opened on Wednesday, July 3, 1963, (opened by the Queen) and is 762 metres (2,500 ft)  long, spanning a 123 metre (404 ft) wide section of the River Clyde. The tunnel is 5.3 metres (17.5 ft) high. The southbound tunnel followed in March 1964. The gradient is approximately 6% or 1:16.

Glasgow Corporation plans for the crossing began in 1947, but financial constraints meant that construction did not begin until 1957. The cost was £10.5 million.

The new tunnel would follow that at Finniestion, which had used hydraulic lifts to raise and lower traffic from ground level to the tunnel itself. Not bad for Victorian times.

Initial estimates indicated that the tunnel would have to carry 13,000 vehicles per day – by the time it reached its 50th anniversary, that figure had reached an average of 65,000.

Although generally referred to as the Clyde Tunnel, it actually comprises two tunnels, one northbound and one southbound, each also having a cycleway and a pedestrian path.

With the river overhead  – about 6 metres (20 ft) above – the tunnelling operation was complicated by variable ground, with the soft silt under the river lying atop a base of hard rock.

Construction used a tunnelling shield backed by compressed air, a method intended to keep the surrounding soft material from collapsing into the works.

It seems the methods of working under such conditions were not fully understood or developed, and the required decompression periods were not always observed, with many worker not prepared to submit to the long decompression period needed to allow the gasses which had been absorbed by their bodies to slowly dissipate as the pressure within a decompression chamber was slowly reduced over time. Many cases of decompression sickness were reported, with at least two fatalities recorded.

Work on the tunnel halted on one occasion, when the air pressure in the tunnel caused a breach in the river bed, causing a massive fountain to appear in the river above.

The eventual completion of the tunnel was tinged with a little irony. Having been driven by the need to install a crossing as far up the river as possible, the tunnel was chosen in order to avoid interfering with the free passage of shipping up the river toward the various ports and berths near the city. By the time it was completed, such facilities had moved further down river to the deeper waters of the Firth of Clyde, while improvements in building technology had allowed structures such as the Kingston Bridge (up river) and the Erskine Bridge (down river) to be built, and be tall enough to avoid interference with modern shipping. Although the Erskine Bridge has had its moments, as large structures have had to be very careful when passing below.

Back in 2008, plans for a concert involving 1,000 singers were scrapped by the council, apparently amid security fears. According to the event organiser, the main reason the council changed its mind about the choral event in the road tunnel was because it was thought terrorists might infiltrate the choir. (Really.) The piece composed for the event was performed at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum: Tunnel Echoes – March 13, 2009.

Souvenir Booklet

The Souvenir Booklet which accompanied the 1963 opening has been placed online, and can be seen here:

Clyde Tunnel 1963

The 50th anniversary was also accompanied by a memorial publication:

ClydeTunnel_50yrs_Brochure

June 9, 2013 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Creative Mackintosh Festival 2012

One of the sad things about fame is that it can be hijacked.

This happened, for example, in the 1980s, when classic cars became the plaything of the yuppy, boosting their value way over its real figure as they tried to show who had the biggest wallet – until the bubble burst. That ended up being both good and bad, as the prices meant the ordinary hobbyist was priced out of the market for a time, but also that a number of cars that would have been lost were actually rescued, and survived.

A similar thing has happened to Charles Rennie Mackintosh. A few enlightened people always admired his work (but not that many while he was still alive), then he became popular as his distinctive style became popular with those who wanted to be seen as rich and ‘kewl’.

Again, a mixture of good and bad, this has led to the preservation of work that might otherwise have been lost, but has seen the price head skyward, and a degree of contempt and increased hostility by those who consider his work to be worthless.

Elements of his work are quite distinctive, and have been stolen by others with less talent, and led to the rise of stylised copies known disparagingly as ‘Mockintosh’. Some might be better described as forgeries, as they come with a price approaching the original, but might as well be made of toffee.

But, that may be the price of fame, unfortunately.

Creative Mackintosh Festival 2012

Mackintosh festival

The festival runs from October 15 to October 28, 2012, at various venues throughout Glasgow.

Festival organiser Susan Garnsworthy said:

“Mackintosh and his fellow Glasgow artists helped to take art and architecture into the modern era and were crucial figures in the explosion of creativity that characterises the early part of the 20th century.

“We decided, a century on, that we should showcase their work and honour their contribution by encouraging everyone to unleash their own creativity.”

The festival includes a display of models depicting Mackintosh buildings that were designed but never built, and ha the title Unbuilt Mackintosh.

There will also be a series of guided walks around the city, which will feature a number of architectural highlights.

Further and fuller details may be found on the web site of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society:

Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society

September 5, 2012 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michelin Dundee factory tours in 2012

Michelin early poster

© Michelin

Michelin has announced the offer of free factory tours to mark the 40th anniversary of the company’s presence in Dundee.

I was always a little disappointed that my old boss never managed to get any work there, as tyre factories are quite interesting, and he had managed to land us regular work in places such as India of Inchinnan, and Uniroyal. India was the most fun, as the place was just about abandoned, but still producing some specialist tyres on its old lines. Anyone with an interest in electronics history could see equipment there that had been long ago been upgraded from valves to solid-state decades earlier in more modern factories.

My guess is we got the work because out engineers were interested in electronics, so had knowledge of the outdated systems still being used in the Inchinnan factory, and could nurse them along for another few years. But it was also weird working in there. Usually, factories in production are busy, and there are lots of bodies wandering around. But in India, all you saw was lines of machinery left to work almost on their own – and people only popped up at odd occasions where processes were either not automated, or could not be carried out by machines. This meant that most of the materials were processes and produced on lines where no-one appeared unless there was a problem of some sort, and you only met someone if you had to walk through the final assembly area, where the various layers and plies were laid by hand, as there were no machines able to do this work. After this, the assembled tyre were passed to ‘bombs’, where they were cooked at high pressure and temperature to form the tread and cure, or vulcanise, the rubber.

Tours

The tour is “The Story of a Tyre” and is being offered on Saturday September 22, and Sunday September 23, 2012. Starting times aer 10:00, 11:00, 13:00, and 14:00.

The venue is the Michelin Dundee factory, Baldovie Road, Dundee DD4 8UQ
Be careful though. They warn: “We’ll provide you with all the necessary safety wear, but please wear flat shoes (no sandals). No cameras or mobile phones.”

Current full details and booking information on the official Michelin site here:

Michelin Dundee Factory Tour | MICHELIN

September 4, 2012 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Luss Village Hall Arts and Crafts Fair, December 3, 2011

Spotted an excuse for a day out in readiness for Christmas:

Luss Village Hall Arts & Crafts Fair 3rd December 2011

Arts & Crafts Fair being held at Luss Village Hall on Saturday 3rd of December 2011. Starting at 10am until 2pm, ideal place to pick up those last minute and unique Christmas Presents.

Will be raising funds for Luss Village Hall and Luss Primary School.

If you wish to have a stall at the event, there are contact details at the link below:

via Luss Village Hall Arts & Crafts Fair 3rd December 2011 in Luss, Argyll and Bute | Community Chest | Gumtree.com.

Any excuse for a picture of Luss will do, and this scene from June 2005 may have mist covering the hilltops, but the village is still colourful – and more importantly, looks as if the rain has stopped for a moment. But, give it a few minutes…

Luss

Luss © Mick Garratt

November 28, 2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

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