Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

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

16/08/2013 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 –


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.

14/06/2013 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 –

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:


09/06/2013 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

05/09/2012 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.


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

04/09/2012 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 |

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 © Mick Garratt

28/11/2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Crathes Castle hosts Enchanted Castle sound and light event

We mentioned the original event at Pitlochry a few weeks ago – The Enchanted Forest – a 2011 sound and light extravaganza at Pitlochry

Now it seems the same event is spawning ‘extra bits’ (and if you are thinking of attending, then CHECK in advance, since some shows are already sold out! )…

Crathes Castle, Garden and Estate, on Royal Deeside, will play host to a stunning display of light and sound installations as part of the Enchanted Castle event.

Director of GM events Gerry Muldoon said: “We’re expecting over 7500 people and we have people coming from all over the UK people – from London, Manchester and Birmingham. There’s been interest from all over UK and we’re delighted.

…Mr Muldoon said he now hoped the spectacular would become an annual event at the Deeside venue.

“We’re already planning a date for next year,” he said.

“We’re not aware of any other event in UK with a light show at a 16th century castle and gardens and estate. There’s nowhere quite like this.”

A host of entertainers including jugglers and magicians will also be wandering the grounds.

The event will run from November 23-27.

via Magical castle event poised to open to public | Aberdeen and North | STV News.

Contact details and further information can be found here:

The Enchanted Castle – Crathes Castle – Introduction

23/11/2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bute Vintage Club charity run, Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Isle of Bute is set to host the Bute Vintage Club charity rally and road run on Saturday, June 9, 2011.

The event has attracted such a large number of entrants that the start has had to be moved from its usual gathering point of Rothesay’s Guildford Square to the larger space offered by the promenade area behind the old Winter Gardens, now the Discovery Centre.

Assembly is due to begin at 10 am, and entertainer Johnny Beattie – long associated with the island – is due to flag the run off at 11:30 am.

Although no longer host to its own motoring event, Mount Stuart is set to be visited by the cars between 12:30 pm and 1:45 pm, after which they will depart for their final destination near the Isle of Bute Sailing Club on Ardbeg Road, arriving from 2:30 pm onward.

Benefiting from funds raised during the event will be the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution, Bute’s district nurses, and Macmillan Cancer Support.

See also: Vintage road run next weekend – Community – The Buteman

02/07/2011 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Inverness to host Sunbeam Talbot Alpine car event

About 100 Sunbeam Talbot Alpines from the UK, continental Europe, and North America are expected to meet in Inverness over the weekend of July 1 to July 4, 2011, Friday to Monday.

Owners and their cars will visit sites around Inverness, including Culloden Battlefield and Bogbain Farm.

It is now more than 50 years since the marque was last manufactured.

The Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register (STAR) are involved in organising this event, described as the first such rally to be held in Inverness.

STAR was established in 1969 to encourage the use, restoration and preservation of the Talbot, Sunbeam Talbot, and Sunbeam cars manufactured by the Rootes Group between 1936 and 1957.

BBC News – Sunbeam Talbot Alpine cars to gather in Inverness

STAR – the Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register

23/06/2011 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rothesay Pavilion redevelopment proves popular

Rothesay pavilion

Rothesay Pavilion

It seems that the most adventurous plan for the redevelopment of Rothesay’s Art Deco pavilion have also proven to be the most popular with the locals.

The exhibition of various options we mentioned recently took place to a good response, and the most adventurous (and expensive) of three possibilities has been reported to be the most popular of the offerings.

This plan would see the main hall being reduced in size, with the side wings utilised for meeting rooms or gallery space, and the construction of a first-floor gallery, said to be a feature that would restore the hall to its present seating capacity, despite the initial size reduction.

This plan also see the top floor of the pavilion being reopened for public use, with the possibility of a partial conversion to hotel accommodation – those responsible for the project claim their research has revealed a lack of top-end bedrooms on the island (I’m not so sure about that one – we’ll see).

Whatever the ultimate outcome, it’s good to see such interest being generated and followed up, together with the financial commitment Argyll and Bute Council has pledged to ensure the project goes forward. Building such as the pavilion can only come under increasing threat in the future, as they become older and in need of maintenance.

We don’t want to see them go the same way as many of the Clyde cost’s picture palace, razed to make way for flats, such as was the case with the Regal a few years ago, and the Winter Gardens, which may be coming under threat again, after enjoying a successful decade after its rescue around the turn of the millennium.

Read more:

Pavilion plans grab Bute public’s attention – Buteman Today

27/11/2010 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Open day to show proposals for Rothesay Pavilion project

Rothesay pavilion

Rothesay Pavilion

Rothesay Pavilion is one of our favourite buildings, so we keep an eye out for any news regarding the building’s forthcoming regeneration.

The Prince’s Regeneration Trust – leading the development of plans for the building’s future – is hosting a drop-in event at the Pavilion this Sunday, November 7, 2010, along with architects Elder & Cannon, the Bute Community Land Company, and other partners in the team working towards the renewal of the structure.

Members of the public are invited to come along, and have their say on the proposed option for the classic Art Deco building, and Sunday will be the first time the various option will be placed on display.

Argyll and Bute Council – Rothesay Pavilion Project

The event runs from 11 am until 4 pm on the day, with refreshments and home baking being provided.

Read more:

Rothesay Pavilion plans to go on public display – Buteman Today

Comments and feedback from any readers that are able to attend this event would be most appreciated.

04/11/2010 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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