Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Probably yet another mystery

I’ve mentioned the number of times I’ve seen police, and other emergency services, passing and/or gathering in places I’ve passed, and how it looks notable, but when I get home and check the local news…

Nothing – ever!

It happened again last night, but at least it caused a queue and stopped the bus long enough for me get pics to prove it.

As usual, when I got home and checked the various local news feeds – nothing, not a word about anything that called at least two police units, a paramedic, and an ambulance under blues and twos.

Ah well – maybe next time.

Tollcross Road Incident

Tollcross Road Incident

Update (Not)

For a brief moment I thought I’d beaten the usual ‘mystery’ and this would not be open ended, but not so.

I spotted two different headlines a few hours later, apparently different, but ultimately related to the same incident. This had taken place not very far away, but was completely unrelated when reviewed.

Officer suffers life-changing injuries after being hit by car

Man arrested after policeman hit by car in Glasgow

31/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Rotten weather may not be all bad – kept me away from Glasgow Uni

I was a bit sad to see the weatherfolk had been spot on once again, and their forecast of cold and rainy weather today was accurate.

I’d been up before 7 am, and then it was howling a near gale as well, but this at least had calmed down within a couple of hours, and the trees were no longer bending over.

I might have been at Glasgow University again (for the galleries/museums) but for that weather, and had been there a few days ago, when I spotted a Maserati (they are very popular in China, and apparently with Chinese here) while I was having a seat on the wall across from the main entrance, as it was a reasonably nice day.

It was too quick for a decent pic – but at least a dSLR is ‘always on’, unlike a compact, so my only problem was lifting it fast enough, and zooming (oh, and standing up, as I’d been enjoying the sun).

Glasgow Uni Maserati

Glasgow Uni Maserati


Had I headed that way today, there would not have been so much fun to be had.

As you’ll see from the news pics, the action was taking place at the Main Gate, seen above, where I was sitting.

I might have been evacuated!

University of Glasgow buildings evacuated over suspect package

Thankfully, the latest updates suggest it was a false alarm, and the suspect package contained promotional items.


I’d grabbed another quick pic only a few metres away, a reminder of the autopsy benches I’d come across on the grassy area nearby.

It was interesting to see the students were happy to sit on them, and enjoy a break, and their lunch in the sun.

I wonder if they realise what the benches are modelled after?

Autopsy Lunch Benches

Autopsy Lunch Benches

I’m almost surprised to see this, given the way some people have hysterics about quite innocent connections to objects.

06/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Media is so disappointing nowadays

I remember the ‘Good Old Days’ – days when you could see police/ambulance congregating in a street, get home, look at the news, and find out what you’d been lucky to miss by not being there a few minutes earlier.

Now that we live in the days of supposedly ‘instant news’ I seem to find that this no longer works, and I have to go dig for such stuff, if it ever even gets mentioned.

I came home last night, expecting to see something online about some incident in Bridgeton that had closed off a street with two police cars, and two ambulances in conference between them, and, even today, the local female population leaning out of their windows saying meaningful things to one another (but not able to be heard at street level).

About the only useful thing I learned from this incident is how busy this apparently quiet street actually as, as an endless stream of cars tried to get along it, but had to back out. It was surprising to see how fast a reasonable backlog built up.

But mention online in media? Nope.

Bridgeton Cordon Police Ambulance

Bridgeton Cordon Police Ambulance

20/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | 3 Comments

Plan for major incident evacuation for Edinburgh central

Crowd looks upWhile the rest of the country just panics as normal in the run up to the Christmas and New Year season, it seems the good people of Edinburgh have been given a little something extra to worry about over the season of goodwill.

I don’t know about them, but if I lived there, and I was given this advice (especially just prior to a period when the city centre will busier than usual with Christmas shopper, sales, visitors etc), I would be putting two and two together and coming up with five – or “What am I not being told about”, the timing of this ‘good advice’ is just a little to neat.

Come to think of it… didn’t the media carry stories about an asteroid just missing us recently?

Residents living in Edinburgh city centre are being urged to make up a “grab bag” of essential items as part of a major incident evacuation plan.

The special bag should include medication, car and house keys, cash and bank cards, glasses or contact lenses and items for children.

People are also urged to store next-of-kin details in a mobile phone, wallet or purse under the note ICE.

ICE stands for ‘in case of emergency’ for people looking for details.

The city centre area is roughly bordered by Haymarket, Queen Street, Regent Terrace and the Grassmarket, and includes locations such as Calton Hill, Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Park.

The population in the area is estimated at 70,000 although this increases significantly during the summer.

All businesses in Edinburgh are also being urged to make sure they are geared up to evacuate parts of the capital in exceptional circumstances.

Evacuation process

They are being told to identify evacuation assembly points, make transport arrangements, give support for vulnerable groups and make arrangements for communications.

via BBC News – Major incident evacuation plan for Edinburgh centre.

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

HMS Superb makes second strike

Just after we mentioned the incident where HMS Superb struck an undersea rock a few days ago, the same submarine has now featured in a story of significant security and procedural lapses by personnel serving on the vessel.

The original incident dates back to January of this year, when a sentry was caught asleep. This was two months before the submarine was due to sail from Faslane, and the individual concerned was removed from the crew, and is reported to be awaiting court martial. At the time, the duty watch (all described as junior ratings) received a blistering reprimand from the executive officer for the incident, which also included the removal of safety ropes around storage tanks and the turning off of fans.

What is more appalling about this incident is that one of the ratings secretly recorded the reprimand on on a mobile phone, which was then delivered to that fine, upstanding and virtuous publication, The Sun, described by some as a newspaper.

Quite what the motivation for this publicity and breach of security was is unclear, and an MoD spokeswoman has said the filming on board the sub was also being looking into, because it was against the rules, and that staff were not allowed any unauthorised contact with the media.

I’m amazed that the phone was allowed into the area (was it allowed, or was it smuggled), why should rating on duty need/have a mobile phone? I recall my visits to the base included fairly robust verification at the gatehouse, checking that I wasn’t taking any sort of photographic kit in with me.

03/06/2008 Posted by | Maritime, military, Naval | , , , , | Leave a comment

Radiophobia strikes Edinburgh

radIn a story that surely sends all the wrong signals, the media reported how a massive turnout was made by the fire service and police in Edinburgh, as they launched a procedure called National Arrangements for Incidents Involving Radiation.

Understandably, the name of this procedure suggests it has been put into place to avoid confusion and uncertainty when deciding how to responds to reports of an incident involving radiation. However, one can’t help but think that it was conceived to deal with incidents involving accidents where there a significant amount of radioactive material is involved, and not a first line response to the discovery of a suspect radioactive package discovered in a cupboard in a school.

No numbers were given for the police attendance, but of the fire service, eight appliances and 28 fire service personnel were reported as having attended the incident.

By comparison, a  blaze at a block of flats in Market Street in Aberdeen’s city centre less than 24 hours later attracted a mere five appliances, even though the resulting road closure between Union Street and Guild Street caused problems with rush hour traffic.

No reason was given as to why the packages were suspect radioactive (external markings?), but one can’t help but think the initial response should have been considerably more low-key in its approach, and not to flood the area with such numbers of personnel and equipment, and that as few should have been subject to potential exposure as possible, until an expert, such as the one that attended from Torness (nuclear power station) had assessed the level of activity, or not.

Ultimately, no radiation was found outside the containers involved, and the contents were determined to be ex-school science lab educational training materials dating back to 1994, and relatively trivial , unless you’re a radiophobe.

Your poor scribe can write with some authority on this one, as he, and all his workmates found themselves in the same situation a few years ago. Having received some radiation detection equipment for repair (to the electronics), he was alarmed to see that they had been transported along with their test source. This was of medical origin, and therefore likely to be more powerful than school based material, and more alarmingly, appeared to be damaged!

A quick check with his own basic Geiger counter showed all was well, and there was nothing ‘loose’ – all the activity was still confined to the designated ‘hot’ zone. However, we still had to contact the NRPB (note, NRPB joined the Health Protection Agency on April 1, 2005) to investigate, and give everyone, and our premises, the official All Clear, including the unfortunate employees that had gone off on holiday, who had to be contacted and warned. This was for two reasons: most important for us was to identify the source and ensure the correct detector was used; and second to deal with the organisation that sent us the nuclear material in the first place. They should have known better than to place a contractor at risk, having delivered the material without a warning or alert, and also that they were breaking the regulations regarding the transport of nuclear material by sending it without the appropriate documentation and clearances.

This involved a more powerful source of radiation that the Edinburgh incident, and was all dealt with calmly by one NRPB official with no media hysteria, no fire service, and no police.

Which scenario actually handled the situation best in the real world?

Are we seeing the knock-on effect of the Alexander Litvinenko case?

28/02/2008 Posted by | Civilian, Cold War | , , , , | Leave a comment


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