Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Oh look – a lost street

I should publish some books.


I’m amazed to see some people publish books of the same pics I take every day, and get on radio and TV with interviewers apparently beating a path to their door to make them famous.

One recent book of pics taken around Glasgow featured an image very similar to one I have, so I decided to go feature it.

I hadn’t bothered to note its name the day I caught it, and usually jump into Google Maps and Street View when I want to name these things later – but not this time!

From an area I pass through rarely (and which also unfortunately looks very like a similar spot not all that far away from it), when I went online to find the name – I found it was no longer listed.

As you can see, it’s been derelict for some time, although the left the lampposts standing for some reason, but a look online for mapping and imaging (detailed enough to identify it and get the street name) seems to have been removed, as it can no longer be driven along by camera cars.

Not a find I expected, so now I’ll have to find another way to dig into conventional records, or archives, and put a name on this street.

It would have been handy, and easier, to read the street sign which can still be seen on one of those lampposts. Unfortunately, the Sun is shining straight onto it, so it’s just been burnt out into peak white, with no detail or lettering to be seen.

Lost Street

Lost Street

I’ll have to find it, after all, I’ll need it for my…


In fact, this street (and most of the surrounding area) was razed years ago (think decades), and lay as nothing more than ‘spare ground’ until recently.

It’s been revived with some new build (still to be caught on Street View at this post’s date), but has got its name back on recent online maps.

Harfield Drive.

11/10/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow lighting elves must be emptying the spare lighting stores

Noticed a funny thing a few weeks ago, while cruising the back streets of Shettleston and Sandyhills.

Along with the bigger main streets, these are beginning to see a slow roll-out of new and upgraded hardware.

While the main roads have seen a 100% commitment to LED upgrading, lesser streets seem to be benefiting from an upgrade to many of the ancient lampposts standing in them, but not to a 100% LED upgrade.

This probably makes a deal of sense. Many of the posts must be decades old, and are made of ferrous stock, or the more interesting reinforced concrete.

In either case, these relics are, sadly, suffering the effects of Scottish weather and their age. Many metal poles are now showing advanced corrosion, and the concrete type are failing as the surface concrete lets water in to the reinforcing steel rods within. These corrode, blow off their concrete protection, and accelerate the corrosion process.

While I’ve never seen any of them just collapse, I have seen a number of lesser posts on road signs suffer corrosion to the extent that they have become weak enough to collapse from their own weight, or have just been pushed over.

Now that it’s getting dark early, I get to play with low light hand held pics again.

I’d almost forgotten about the back street lighting updates. This work seems to be carried out by the Street Lighting Elves, since I’ve never seen it actually happen, just see the changes when I pass during the morning after.

But dark nights mean I can see the ‘new’ lights in action, and this confirms an earlier observation that the lights fitted to the new poles appeared to be chosen at random, and are not a general changeover to LEDs.

A couple of view along one street show the effect.

In the first, looking along the left side of the street we have: fluorescent, sodium, sodium, fluorescent, fluorescent; and along the right: LED, LED, fluorescent, LED.

I’m still pretty sure they’re using up existing stock, rather than discarding it, as the upgrade progresses.

Odd Street Lighting Upgrade 1

Odd Street Lighting Upgrade 1

In this view we have along the left: sodium, fluorescent, sodium, sodium, fluorescent; and on the right: LED, LED (this IS lit although it looks as if there is no light on this pole, spot it in the first pic), fluorescent.

Odd Street Lighting Upgrade 2

Odd Street Lighting Upgrade 2

26/09/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

New lamppost – Old lamppost

Nothing special, just a nice coincidence.

I happened to look up (advice I often give, as not enough people ‘Look Up!’) and caught this coincidence of a pair of Glasgow Lampposts, one recent, one not so recent.

Worth considering the two different designs of their day, ornate from the past, efficient and utilitarian from the future.

New Lamppost Old Lamppost

New Lamppost Old Lamppost

18/09/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

An exercise in LED photography

One of the advantages of digital photography is the ability to try experimental (or difficult) pics without losing the money and time this once demanded when tried using film.

It took time to shoot, develop, and print (you can only mentally picture what a negative will look like when printed, esp colour) test pics, and then there was the cost of film stock, chemicals and photographic paper – most of which would be binned.

Other than the cost of a dSLR, and some memory cards, this is now… free!

Provided you can spare the time, you can try anything, and not end up in the poor house.

I spotted one of ‘new’ LED street lights had failed a while ago, and was one of a number of the first that had been fitted to our roads, so I had been expecting these new lights to fail, as there was little experience with them in the real world, although they would have been tested in the lab.

Rather than a single bulb as in most sodium street lighting variants, LED lighting uses an array of small LEDs to create more illumination than a single LED. There are variations in how this is achieved, but the type seen here uses discrete, or single, LEDs mounted on a backplane. Failure of a few makes little difference, but this one was severely dimmed, and there was probably a failure of the electronics driving the LEDs, rather than the LEDs themselves.

These lights are too bright to look into comfortably (probably not a good idea to try), so photographing them is an ideal way to find out what is wrong.

Exposure settings have to take account of the extreme brightness of the individual light sources provided by the LEDs, but this has to be balanced by allowing enough exposure to reveal their background, otherwise all you get is a pattern of bright dots against a dark background with no detail. Automatic exposure works well if you can master metering modes.

The same cannot be said of automatic focus. This is usually defeated by the high brightness spots and darker surrounds, and either has to be tricked into working, or disabled. It’s probable easier to preset the focus using something at the same distance.

I found there was another, more practical problem encountered in taking this sort of pic, which I’ve found on other occasions.

You have to be directly below the light(s) in order to get a decent, square-on view.

The most immediate problem can be that of getting squashed if the luminaire is over the road – I tend to avoid those situations. Standing in the road, in the dark, under a probably faulty street light? Not really a good idea.

Assuming the unit is over the footpath, you find yourself trying to shoot vertically upwards, and using a long lens or zoom, with your neck bent completely back. That hurts, and makes for a shaky shot. I suggest high ISO and fast shutter speeds.

Faulty LED Street Light

Faulty LED Street Light

In the example shown, it’s interesting to note that the backplane seems to be fully populated with LEDs.

But even where the lights were working normally, all were not used, and only that central rectangular group was illuminated, leaving all the LEDs around the perimeter unlit.

That’s 28 LEDs unused in every street light.

So only 36 were lit, of a possible total of 64, which is just over half.

Is this to reduce unnecessary power consumption? Half is a major saving.

And it could be as cheap to manufacture the backplane populated with all the LEDs, and disable those not needed, as to set up the manufacturing to leave off those not needed in an application for a given illumination level.

Bear in mind light pollution is also becoming an issue, and lighting that is too bright is as hazardous as lighting that is not bright enough.

Since I have an example, this is what you get if you underexpose manually, and overdo it.

This was still able to get camera shake and blur the individual LEDS, they are so bright when zoomed in (and your neck is bent back at 90°).

LED Streetlight

LED Streetlight

12/08/2018 Posted by | council, photography | , | Leave a comment

When lampposts are killed

We get a new one!

Looking through the archives, I found I had a ‘before and after’ pic set of a nearby roadside collision that destroyed a local lamppost.

I’d just grabbed the first pic by chance after coming across the remains of a collision between a car and a lamppost.

Seriously – how does somebody crash into a lamppost on a perfectly straight section of road with a 40 mph limit?

Drink? Drugs? Moron? Hopefully, the Darwin effect might keep them off the road for a while, or maybe forever.

You can see the upper section of the lamppost with the luminaire lying in the field, having been cut from the base.

Although they couldn’t be seen in a pic, there was a set of marks in the grass showing where the car had slid, so I’m guessing it was on its side or roof by the time it came down after leaving the road and colliding with the lamppost and killing it.

Pity it had been recovered by the time I found the scene.

Mount Vernon Avenue Sawn Off Lamppost

Mount Vernon Avenue Sawn Off Lamppost

A chance pic later caught the new lamppost in place.

Observation – Note how the lampposts on this road are mounted along the far edge of the footpath, and not next to the kerb.

The original lampposts (all low pressure sodium) have extended arms to place the luminaires over the road.

The new lamppost (high pressure sodium) only has a short arm, so does it have an asymmetric illumination area?

Just curious. They’ll all be replaced by LEDs one day, and we’ll see if they have long or short arms (if I remember to look).

Mount Vernon Avenue New Lamppost

Mount Vernon Avenue New Lamppost

22/07/2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

The lost lampposts of Muirhead Road

I’ve had some pics of the realignment of Muirhead Road (at the back of Baillieston) made to accommodate all the new houses being built there ever since the zoo was closed and things like were swept away to clear the land.

It used to be a nice walk along there. There was even what appeared to be a small area of managed forest planted there, and looked as if it was intended to restore or manage trees in the area.

Somehow, even that was razed, destroying all the relatively new trees that had been growing there, together with the much older originals which had surrounded the fenced off and managed area.

I wonder if that was even legal?

To access the new houses built on the stolen sorry ‘reclaimed’ land, new roads had to be laid, and the old Muirhead Road was realigned and given a roundabout to join up with them.

One of the odd things that happened was the remodelling of the area which the old road had been on, converting it from tarmac to grass.

While this was completed and hid the route of the old road under new ‘greenness’, nobody bothered to remove the old lampposts which lit that original road.

The still stand there to this day, but now look as if they were planted in a field since the road they lit is no more.

I wasn’t happy with the pics I took, it’s just not possible to get high enough to show them, but this pic is not so bad.

You can see the new road and lighting to the left and centre of the pic, but if you look to the right you’ll see one of the abandoned lampposts. No longer lit, so not likely to act like the “wrecker’s lights” of old, and lure drivers into the field. Wreckers would plant false lights on clifftops to confuse sailing ships, taking the place of signal lights in the area, and intended to make the ships founder on rocks, after which they could steal the cargo as it washed ashore.

I wonder if they’ll ever remover them?

I don’t go there very often. Once an interesting walk on a Sunday morning, the road is just another bland, uninteresting, and featureless housing estate now.

Apart from these lampposts of course.

Click on the pic for a bigger version.

Baillieston Muirhead Road Realignment Lost Lamppost

Baillieston Muirhead Road Realignment Lost Lamppost

20/07/2018 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The amazing disappearing lockbox

Well  THAT was surprise.

After two posts about an odd lockbox spotted clamped to a lamppost a few days ago – it DISAPPEARED!

Thanks to an unplanned detour resulting from some unexpected snow that joined the increasingly chilly wind last night, I ended up passing the same spot.

I thought I was in the wrong place after a passing glance at the relevant lamppost failed to show the expected silhouette in the dark, but when I checked the lamppost, it was the same one – but the box had gone, completely, including the hefty clamp that fixed it to the pole.

It didn’t even seem to leave a mark where it had been, suggesting it hadn’t been there very long.

Lockbox Lamppost - No Lockbox

Lockbox Lamppost – No Lockbox

Compare this with the previous view from only a few nights ago.

Between the pics, you should be able to match the clear tape at the bottom of the view, and the little reflective survey marker at the top.

Daytime Lock Box

Daytime Lock Box

So that’s that.

No chance of catching it ‘In Use’ some day.

But now I’ll have to be even more alert, to see if it turns up somewhere else.

Unless YOU know better.

18/03/2018 Posted by | Appeal, photography | , , | 7 Comments

Daytime view of the mystery box

Oops, sorry.

Didn’t intend to make two similar posts on following days, but forgot we had suddenly reached that time of year when ‘tomorrow’ is probably not going to be stormy, snowy, windy, and wet, so I can pop out for another pic without waiting for a week or more.

So, the odd lockbox I noticed a couple of nights ago gets its own daylight pics for a closer look, and no delay.

As can be seen, no indication of purpose or owner, and no sticker or labels.

Only other observation might be that it is mounted just above head height, so you have to reach up to it.

And, it IS locked.

Daytime Lock Box

Daytime Lock Box

There’s a reflective survey target on the pole, but this is unlikely to be related.

14/03/2018 Posted by | Appeal, photography | , , | 6 Comments

Recognise this lock box bolted to a lamppost?

Time for a mystery post.

Spotted last night, on a lamppost I have been passing for years, but never looked at.

It’s just too far away to be noticed as the footpath here is widened by a couple of metres of grass, separating the walking part from the road, and the lampposts installed next to the gutter.

I only spotted the box shown below when it was caught in the headlights of an approaching vehicle, otherwise I’d still never have noticed it.

I’ve looked at some old pics of the road, and these show there was nothing attached to the lamppost back in 2015, so it’s been added fairly recently. And a little more substantially mounted than by a couple of cable-ties, it’s not going to fall off any time soon.

No markings apparent, not in the dark of night at least, so this one needs a daylight visit to check for any details or clues.

Lock Box

Lock Box

13/03/2018 Posted by | Appeal, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Lamppost reveal

Yet another open box style reveal in the street, or at least on a footpath.

This time on the new footpath leading to the footbridge added at Shawfield fairly recently.

No great surprise inside the base of this lamppost, apart from possibly the massive size of the cabling and fittings – I’ve seen smaller on the incomer to a factory unit.

If you’re up on your EV (electric vehicle) hate media presentations, you’ll be aware that the haters go to great lengths to spread their ‘facts’ regarding the already overloaded electrical distribution network, and how suggestions that charging points could be added to lampposts are utter folly and would bring the country’s electricity supply network to its knees, and overload existing wiring.

I’ll let you into a secret… it wouldn’t, and it won’t. (Don’t believe me? OK. But find someone with no personal agenda and ask them).

I missed a trick with this one, just grabbing the shot as I was headed to an appointment.

Had I been thinking, I could have taken a nice ‘arty’ shot with those horizontal paving features and some careful framing.

Shawfield Lamppost Open

Shawfield Lamppost Open

24/01/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Lampposts felled in Carntyne

I noticed something a little odd in the ‘dead’ area of Carntyne recently.

There’s a lot of road re-working going on around the east end of Glasgow at the moment, as some people make a killing out of some event taking place there during 2014, and a fair number of old roads have been lost to this, as the areas are razed. Usually, existing lampposts are simply ripped up to get rid of them, but I saw something a little different in Carntyne.

To lose the lampposts around Inverleith Street – the street is still there even if everything around has been razed – instead of rolling a digger in and uprooting them, they just brought in some cutters and felled them like trees, leaving the stumps of their bases sticking out of the ground.

Doesn’t make much of a pic, since there’s nothing around to give any sense of scale (I should have kicked one of the many old cans lying there next to the stump), but you wouldn’t want go for a run around these streets without staying alert – these are hidden in bushes and undergrowth now, and constitute a definite hidden ‘immovable object’ you would definitely not want to run into.

Lamppost sawn off

Lamppost – sawn off

13/02/2014 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

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