Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Looks like I really do live down a cold hole

After a couple of years of noticing an odd weather (or is it local climate) effect, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m NOT imagining it.

This year in particular, with its apparently milder start to the winter season compared to recent years, has made this effect even more noticeable for me.

What I find is that I can either be at home, or wandering the local streets, and think the day is freezing (which it is, both by looking at the ground, and reading thermometers). But, if I have to go out, once I get about a mile away, it’s always warmer.

I used to think I was just imagining this, as walking a mile takes 15-20 minutes, so you should be warming up anyway. But, that wouldn’t explain the lack of ice/frost, or frozen ground, which I might just have walked through near home, but is not present once I’ve walked that mile.

Tonight, I found another confirmation after decided to cycle to the shops.

The road past my door is gritted regularly, and the gritters have been out, so it was fine.

Then I turned off it – and found myself being VERY cautious. There was a nice, sparkly, coating of ice on the road.

Yet when I was coming up to that first mile – all was well again, and there was no ice on the back streets near the shops.

At least I knew to be extra careful as I headed home.

Hydraulic disk brakes on bikes – absolute MAGIC!

I also note that Glasgow City council (you know, the council I suggest local people STOP slagging off, and actually LOOK at what it does) published its ‘Bad Weather’ policy statement a few weeks ago, and that included a commitment to have its gritters not only working on established critical roads, but also cycle paths and routes with them.

While they can’t clear EVERY road and route, it does mean that they are NOT ignoring cyclists, as perhaps the damned ‘cycling activists’ might want us to believe.

We even have an online Gritter Tracker

Apparently the tracker is worth looking at just for fun, as out gritters have names, such as ‘Gritty Gritty Bang Bang’.

But, we don’t have these though (as far as I know).

10/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maps, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colder than last year or before

No fun, but this year seems to have become colder and got there faster than it has in the past few years.

The last time it got really cold (I think I saw -12 deg C and lower at times) it happened gradually, over the course of some days, and on that occasion I didn’t find any frozen pipes for about a week. And that was unusual. Even my hovel hadn’t seen frozen pipes before that.

This time I saw the temperature plummet to -7 deg C one night, and almost stayed there for the day, and I saw -9 deg C the next.

When the temperature rose after a couple of days I thought I might have cleared the condensation on a couple of large windows, but instead found they were covered with sheet ice – well, at least that was different from previous freezes.

I thought I might as well collect the ice (slush really) since I’d disturbed it, and collected the pile seen below from one of the windows.

Window Ice Slush

Window Ice Slush

The good news didn’t end there.

Also new for this year was a lump on the radiator under the window – a lump I hadn’t seen before (as in last week).

This turned out be a leak, and the lump was ice which had formed as it developed.

Oh well… I guess I needed something to do.


Personal item first…

Now that the indoor temp has crept above freezing, I got the opportunity to look at my leaking radiator once the lump of ice melted.

It’s not simple rot, but is a failure around one of the spot welds that holds the front and rear sections together.

I had thought a quick screw/plug repair would have worked, but instead had to go for some reinforced gunk intended for roof repairs, which supposedly adheres and sets against running water. We’ll see.


Confirmation of my own numbers, and I stopped short of suggesting 2011 was the last PROPER cold spell – the media claims it was 2010.

Their weather stations didn’t manage to get quite as cold as mine, claiming only -8 deg C for Glasgow and Edinburgh. But this can be influenced by positioning, so a difference of a few degrees will always be seen, even from identical systems in the same place.

Edinburgh and Glasgow have experienced their coldest day in seven years.

Temperatures plummeted to -8C on Sunday, the lowest since 2010.

Dalwhinnie in the Highlands was the coldest place in Scotland on Sunday at -12.4C while Braemar in Aberdeenshire recorded -11.9C and Altnaharra in Sutherland dropped to -11.2C.

STV weather presenter Sean Batty said: “This has been a fairly significant cold spell, with some areas having their coldest weather for seven years.”

He added: “On Sunday evening after a mostly foggy day in Renfrewshire, the temperature dropped to -8C at Bishopton, which was the lowest temperature observed here since the very cold weather of 2010.

Via Scots cities endure coldest temperatures in seven years

It was so cold – the apostrophe fell off the headline!

12/12/2017 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

UK response to snow

And here we see a gritter in the wild, assuming its normal position the moment it sees some snow or ice:



Not my pic (obviously), but I was amused to see someone get really hot under the collar when it was noted that we generally don’t handle cold weather, snow, ice, and transport very well in this country, and seem to respond in a fashion similar to startled rabbits caught in headlight beams, as if we had never seen snow on our roads before.

I suggest this is not the local authorities’ fault, the usually have the resources in place, but is down to the public, more ready to mock the response than muck in and help.

Thanks to the web, I’ve followed a number of Russian bloggers, and we live at similar latitudes to them (so similar weather), but they seem to be able to publish pics and videos of people dealing with the problem, getting on with things, and not having a laugh.

On the other hand, maybe I just liked that pic!

11/12/2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The frozen Clyde II

After discovering I had been hoodwinked into writing The unfrozen Clyde because I had been lazy, and just looked at the last place I had seen The frozen Clyde, I decided things had to be rectified, and the facts restored.

Since I was going to Daldowie Crematorium anyway, the obvious choice for a second look was the large bend in the river that lies behind the grounds of the crematorium, and near the river’s confluence with the Rotten Calder.

On my way there, I noticed the crematorium pound had frozen, and the level surface had taken on the appearance of giant ice cube. This pic was taken just after the snow cleared, as the place had been covered a few days earlier, and the pond couldn’t even be seen.

Daldowie Crematorium frozen pond

Heading down towards the river, I was diverted by what looked like feet sticking out of the snow, but turned out to be nothing more than a set of discarded waders.

This slight diversion meant I was reunited with some old friends I had not seen for a while – a load of concrete cylinders which had been discarded here after the war. Simply made by being cast in nothing more than hollow cylinders formed from corrugated iron sheets, these would have been stored by the roadside and rolled onto the road – then immobilised – in order to form a road block to impede the progress of enemy troops. They were also used anywhere a similar barrier was needed. I’ve never quite fathomed the reason for their being here though. Were they thrown off a boat?

Clyde concrete blocks in snow

Eventually, I did manage to land at the bend in the river, and the climb through the snow had been worth it, not to mention my £5 wellies. The ground here can be treacherous with hidden holes, and the covering of snow meant not even being able to see the usual vegetation, which warns the regular visitor about their location, and prevent ‘vanishing leg’ syndrome.

The River Clyde was indeed well frozen down here. The pictures don’t really do the actual scene justice, they’re just too small, and the frozen sections were made much more apparent in real life by the movement of the river water, something that is lost in the frozen (sorry) snapshot view of a still pic.

Frozen Clyde 01

Frozen Clyde 02

Frozen Clyde 03

08/01/2011 Posted by | photography, World War II | , , , , | Leave a comment

The unfrozen Clyde

I recalled a wander down to the Clyde back in January 2010, the motivation then had been some news items about the River Clyde having frozen: The frozen Clyde

There hadn’t been any similar stories this year (or I has missed them if there were any), and while we had been told that last year’s temperatures had  been the coldest in thirty years, (a claim quickly escalated to the coldest in fifty years after the politicians got hold of it), we have been told that this year might be the coldest in one hundred years of records.

Certainly, from my point of view, this winter has delivered the longest period of sustained cold below zero. Last year, while it got cold, I didn’t find anything frozen at home. This year, after more than three weeks in which I have seen the temperature stay in the range -2°C to -10°C (and more sometimes, which it didn’t do last winter) I have found that numerous pipes, and even tanks, in my loft have frozen. I’ve been unable to make hot water via the central heating, and even found the circulation pump had frozen at one stage – something I have never found before. Fortunately, I found the pump only a matter of hours after it had frozen, and was able to get things running fairly quickly, but the stuff in the loft takes a lot more effort. It’s all very well insulating and lagging stuff, but when the ambient temperature stays below zero for days on end – insulation makes no difference. other than to delay the inevitable.

Anyway, that’s dealt with now, at cost, and the loft is probably better heated than me at the moment.

A repeat wander down to Carmyle to have a look at the Clyde showed that despite the reports of ‘coldest temperatures’ and the extended cold period, it had not frozen to any significant extent. A little ice extended from the bank, barely noticeable if not being searched for, and the weir was virtually clear, as seen in the pic below.


Clyde Carmyle Weir Winter 2010

River Clyde Carmyle Weir Winter 2010



The other significant difference was the slipperiness of the roads last time – despite the salt and grit, being slightly warmer last time meant that the snow often melted then froze, meaning that the melted snow would refreeze on top of the grit, and almost everywhere was like a skating rink, and treacherous. This time, the consistently freezing temperature means no melting and refreezing, so no sliding around – just ploughing through a build up of mostly loose snow.

I have to admit that since I started writing this particular post, the hot water circuit has apparently frozen somewhere, and this time is refusing to return. I wouldn’t mind so much, only I’ve identified the only cold pipe run that unfortunately runs adjacent to a wall that follows outside temperatures, and arranged for it to be kept above freezing, so I don’t have anything to ‘fix’ so far, or reason for the lack of hot water.

I’m almost sure it’s going to turn out to having nothing to do with freezing,  be some coincidental problem not associated with ice, orsomething only obscurely related to it.

21/12/2010 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The frozen Clyde

Inspired by some pics published somewhere by the Beeb, I thought I’d try and find a nearby spot on the River Clyde that might have frozen during the current chilly spell we’re enjoying. I won’t make a definitive statement, but the media started off by saying it was the coldest spell of continuous cold weather we’d had for twenty years, then changed that story to thirty years a few days later, and then the politicians got a hold of it, and someone in the Scottish Parliament appeared to raise the figure to fifty years, so pick whichever period you like best.

Thinking about the places that would be both accessible, and have some reasonably slow waters to allow ice to form, Carmyle seemed to be the most likely. Dalmarnock is also reasonably easy to get to for riverside shots, but I guessed that the flow there wouldn’t let anything interesting form, and I had also remembered that Carmyle has the fairly substantial remains of the old weir that served the bleachworks and grain mill. These are, of course, now long gone, but the weir and parts of the gates that controlled it still remain, and might provide some photographic opportunities.

Before I left home, I wondered if I would get anywhere near Carmyle, let alone the river, as the last outing had been a nightmare. The streets were unsalted (or it was ineffective) and the sun had melted the surface, only for it to refreeze into sheet ice. An hour and a half jaunt to the shops had taken an hour longer than usual, and although I didn’t fall, I really don’t know how I managed to avoid it. I needn’t have worried, fresh snow had covered the ice, and not frozen over it, and the ice which had been a problem had largely broken into pieces – it was awkward to walk on, but thankfully no longer slippy. The only downside was the peculiar walking method enforced by the loose material underfoot, and after a couple of hours, I had aches and sore joints not experiences before.

It was worth the effort though, and although the amount of frozen Clyde was not great, it was still there to be found.

River Clyde Carmyle frozen

River Clyde frozen near Carmyle

I followed the Clyde Walkway along to Cambuslang, but as expected, the faster flow of the river in that area meant that there was no surface ice to be seen.

Back at Carmyle, the old weir delivered some more ice, thanks to the way it interfered with the flow of the river.

The nearest gate, on the north side, had a huge lump of ice that had formed above its outlet. Chances are it might even have been bigger if I’d been able to make it down there sooner.

Carmyle weir gate 1 frozen

North side gate

Across the river, the south gate

Carmyle weir gate 2 frozen

South side gate

Although the gate on the southern bank of the river is simpler, further away, and inaccessible, it remains my favourite of the two because it is still fairly complete with its screw jack mechanism in place, as if it could still be used to control the gate and regulate the weir.

10/01/2010 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

An icy end to the year

Blue iciclesSince it’s everyone’s favourite subject, I thought I’d end the year on a weather related item.

I’ve been following the the same route for about ten years now, and have the walk to and from the shops reasonably well tamed. I had to head out there today, and found that after the semi-thaw we’d been treated to since I was last obliged to head out had transformed things from a fairly nice tramp through the snow into one of the worst wanders I’ve ever had to endure.

I can’t recall anything similar in the past ten years, and while the roads seemed to be treated, the pavements had been ignored. These usually have salt/grit thrown over by the shovel-load, but apart from a few brown splodges, there was virtually no evidence of treatment. As the snow had been quite deep, when we did have the slight thaw, all that happened was the surface melted, combined with the lying slow, and then refroze on the still cold ground, creating sheets of ice. With no grit to be walked into it, all that earlier walkers had done was consolidate and polish it.

Most of it could be circumvented by walking in the verge or in the road, traffic permitting, but my hour and a half walk was extended by 45 minutes, simply because I couldn’t keep my footing for much of it. The worst was at a big triangular area of block paving across the main road from the Tollcross sport centre. This could have served as a skating rink, with walkers shouting warnings to those approaching it to walk on the road instead – and that’s a busy junction.

There was only one question I would have liked an answer to (and it wasn’t about where the salt or grit that should have been spread there was). Despite the fact that most folk were slipping about all over the place, there were one or two that seemed to be able to walk on this surface with little or no difficulty, and no matter how closely I tried to see what was different about their footwear, they all seemed to be wearing pretty ordinary daytime shoes – not walking boots or the like, and not with anything strapped on the soles either. Most odd.

Hope we don’t see the same next year, or if we do, the council maybe finds some guys with shovels and a few lorryloads of grit they can spare the time to send out on the road. I would have taken a pic of the icy pavements, but it’s not something that shows up well in a pic, you have to be putting your foot on it to realize what it is, and then again, you can’t really take a pic of no grit on the ground either.

On  similar theme, when I did the same walk to the shops last week, the gritters were out gritting the road on the evening before the frost actually hit, so that load was effectively wasted, but they were out the next night, and as it turned out, they spot on as they were really needed that time.

31/12/2009 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment


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