Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Clyde Tidal Weir – still working

Sad to say, this is actually the first opportunity I’ve had to get anywhere near the Clyde Tidal Weir since its recent disaster.

Not that there was really anything new to see, since it was repaired within a few days.

There might have been more to see if I’d remembered about the damage reported to the nearby south bank (near the distillery and flats), but I was concentrating more on the road home, thinking I was going to be close to walking 20 miles by the time I finished the day, and not wanting to overdo it by adding another couple (turns out I could have, as my estimate proved to be a couple of miles light after I saw the GPS log).

Still looking good, especially with that nice clean stonework (and no more soot to turn it black).

Clyde Tidal Weir From West

Clyde Tidal Weir From West


Clyde Tidal Weir From East

Clyde Tidal Weir From East

These pics (or the originals, and the top one, from the west) were weird when I processed them.

Although I would have sworn both were perfectly level when I hit the shutter, the originals are way off the horizontal (15-20 degrees).

Don’t know about anyone else, but I find this often to be the case, and I should perhaps be clear that I’m referring to the camera (or pic) being at an angle to the horizon or horizontal, NOT converging verticals or similar perspective distortion (which I deal with separately).

While the second pic looks just about right, the first one was a real problem to correct.

It was taken off-centre, standing near the left bank.

When I aligned the vertical, the image looked worse than the slightly rotated original, and the alignment still looked ‘off’.

Although it was not horizontal, I tried setting the top of weir horizontal – this actually looked better, and the weir no longer appeared to be trying to slide out of the pic – but the building and chimney were now lying at an angle.

Time for a compromise – I split the difference, with the bias being on the verticals. Well, verticals HAVE to be vertical, don’t they?

In this case, they lean a little to the right, but when I made them true verticals, the slope of the weir seemed to create the illusion that it was at the wrong angle.



October 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maritime, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The day after they fixed the borked tidal weir on the River Clyde

Anyone looking in here over the years may have noted the odd burst of ‘excitement’ or near hysteria if I ever manage to catch some event as it happens. It’s pretty rare, blink and you’ll miss it – I’m more likely to be shot down in flames (by Murphy) if even try.

Case in point – the recent failure of the River Clyde Tidal Weir gate.

River Clyde banks show signs of collapse after weir fails

It could appear I’m handy for this, such is not the case, and any time I see it I’ll have been waddling the streets for at least couple hours, often more as I don’t just walk there directly.

However, after seeing the news about the problems with the gate being stuck open I did consider heading straight there, but the opportunity just didn’t arise.

I had thought about settling for second best since I’m east of the weir, and settling for a ‘historic’ pic of the river at its lowest lever, but that opportunity was kicked way from me too, and was particularly frustrating as I now cross the river fairly regularly to reach the shops.

I finally managed this last night but, of course, the offending gate has been fixed, even if only temporarily, so the river level has returned to normal, as can be seen below.

I’m fairly fortunate to have this spot to monitor the river at, as there is a non-conformity in the river bed, a sort of natural mini-weir the river flows over near the bank: normal level is represented by this view; if things are dry and the level has fallen, then I can see the river bed here, and the flow over the non-conformity is like a little waterfall; when the river is high, this feature is absent and can’t be seen (unless you know it’s there and where to look to spot the tiny turbulence over the feature).

I’m guessing the only evidence of the few days of extended low water is the slight break-up of the river bank, which can be seen just above the right of centre in this pic.

Guess I missed my chance.

Cambuslang Clydeford Day After Weir Fixed

Cambuslang Clydeford Day After Weir Fixed


September 3, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Anglers found on the Clyde

I didn’t actually ‘take’ this pic – it was merely a test shot to confirm that at least some of my poor little pocket compact was still working, having suffered a flight and crash landing into a supermarket checkout, and then an intimate meeting with the reconstituted stone floor.

Suffice to say it has been compromised, and a suitably low-cost (ie cheap) replacement will have to be hunted down.

However, some aspects are still fine (remembering the tiny sensor will never deliver dSLR detail) and this 10x zoom came out much as expected.

I’d spotted something moving in an odd way on the River Clyde between Carmyle and Cambuslang. Just blur to the unaided eye, I decided to use it as a test shot, to see if it could be caught.

When I got home, I found the ‘object’ was in fact TWO anglers (they must have moved further apart as the shot was taken), and the image even showed their rods – as a bonus, I also noted they were not alone, with a duck appearing in the right foreground.

So, I guess the little camera is not scrap, but I’ll need to a series of test shots to find out where it fails – I already know wide-angle shots are ‘mince’.

But the long zoom still works, so I got an unexpected pic for the blog.

I forget where I read it now, but there was another of those articles in the news recently, noting how clean the River Clyde was becoming, and how far upriver salmon could be found – seems they won’t come near a dirty, polluted, or contaminated river, so are considered a reliable sign of water purity.

Clyde Anglers

Clyde Anglers

This is a weird pic, which I guess is down to being taken of a bend in the river, and the shaded are area to the left. Or maybe the fact that the anglers are actually both leaning over, and not standing up straight.

To my eyes, it looks as if it is not level (slightly anti0clockwise to my eye), and the original was indeed far from level, being taken without much care purely as a lens test.

However, I tried numerous attempts at rotating to eliminate this, and I can assure you that any further clockwise rotation does NOT make it appear level, and even a slight rotation of this image (less than a degree) seems to make it look slightly to far clockwise from level.

I tried using the trees and shrubs as indicators of (reasonably) vertical items, but the result for the river was even worse, so i just gave up and went for what seem best to the eye.

It’s not the first pic I’ve found would not appear level, regardless of how I rotated it – I don’t suppose it will be the last.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

River Clyde clean-up and restoration continues

I never saw any of the pollution which once afflicted the River Clyde, which served as little more than a handy dump for all the chemicals and other effluents that poured forth from the industrialised and increasingly populated areas that bordered the river around late 19th and early 20th centuries. But I have seen the pictures, and they are grim – smoke and soot heading towards the sky to return to Glasgow when it rained, turning the city black, and outflows discharging directly into the river with no treatment for chemicals or ‘other’ content, poisoning the water, not to mention the surrounding ground.

That’s all gone of course, and even fairly recent pics of places such as Dalmarnock can show an unrecognisable view, today largely flat and green, but even in the 1960s packed with factories, rail terminals, coal-fired power stations, and even tenements jammed in between them.

The River Clyde was almost killed by such places all along its industrialised length, with flora and fauna unable to cope.

I don’t think it was all that long ago I happened to read news of the first salmon being found in the recovering river, and the river banks are now covered with assorted greenery (unfortunately including vast swathes of deadly Giant Hogweed), fish continue to return, and walk along the river often find swans and ducks swimming and feeding there.

This control gate lies abandoned at Carmyle, where it once controlled the weir next to a bleachworks, which must have been a major source of pollution in its day, when the river water would have been used for washing and rinsing, then simply dumped back into the river.

Carmyle Weir Gate

Carmyle Weir Gate

Salmon are able to access parts of the River Clyde for the first time in decades following work to improve water quality and remove barriers.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said millions of pounds of investment had reduced pollution and restored habitats.

The work has also put an end to the Clyde’s “stench”, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said.

Water quality has gone from “bad” to “moderate” – and “excellent” in places.

About 100km (62 miles) of waterways has also been opened up to migratory fish.

Sepa, which monitors the water quality of Scotland’s lochs and rivers, reported that the River Clyde was in “significantly better health than expected”.

Between 2010 and 2021, Scottish Water will have invested more than £600m in wastewater treatment works and sewerage systems in the area.

And the Scottish government’s Water Environment Fund has helped restore habitats by removing fish barriers and concrete channels.

This has allowed salmon to access the upper reaches of the Clyde catchment.

The fund has spent £3.1m on river restoration projects near Hamilton and Shotts, with more investment planned this year.

Ms Cunningham added: “That hard work and investment has seen water quality improve, aquatic species return to the waters, and an end to the stench which once made residents’ lives a misery.”

Via: River Clyde ‘healthier and stench-free’

Granted their claims are true, but I’ve been walking various parts  of the industrialised River Clyde for years, from Daldowie to the firth, and can’t recall coming across a ‘stench’ anywhere along the river side or walkway path.

Ms Cunningham’s statement gives a false impression that this is something recent, and that the people of Glasgow have lived with the ‘stench’ until recently, and fails to note that such extremes were dealt with decades ago.

She should try walking past some of the private waste contractors we now have to live with in our midst – such as the one across the road from Emirates Arena at Parkhead.

I wondered where the ‘stench’ was coming from as I walked there recently, and only realised where the source was while looking at Google Earth.

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Lifeboat station sculpture

I wonder how many people pass by the lifeboat station of the Glasgow Humane Society and fail to notice the sculpture about one of the access doors?

It’s not exactly a high-profile location, nor is it particularly easy to spot, as the spot is littered with other odds and ends belonging to the station (there’s even some ‘classic’ cast-iron there, rescued from the street – but maybe another day), and since most folk wander around looking down at their phones in some sort of dumb trance, I doubt many see it.

It makes a change from usual stainless steel used for many such creations these days, as the plain old steel it’s been drafted from is weathering and rusting, and making it look completely different from those more usual shiny installations.

It’s a nice catch to make if in the area, and a shame to miss if passing nearby.

Clyde Sculpture

Clyde Sculpture

May 28, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Clyde rower

Not sure how I actually managed to catch this, as I was carrying the compact in my pocket.

Compact – find… find ‘ON# button… wait for Bzzz, whir, click, click, bzzz of start-up routine and self-test EVERY DAMN TIME!

Then try and frame shot with power zoom back and forth.

Not to mention having to use LCD on camera back as there is no real viewfinder.

Then wait while camera has ‘tea & biscuits’ as it sets things up in response to your plea for it to ‘TAKE THE DAMNED PICTURE’ after you press the shutter button.

Ok, in reality it does not take THAT long (except for low-light or night shots), but compared to the instant response of a dSLR, and the fact that it is ‘Always On’, the compact FEELS like it takes an eternity as it does its stuff at every power-up.

Clyde Rower Dalmarnock Rutherglen

Clyde Rower Dalmarnock Rutherglen

I believe this boatyard, across the River Clyde from the Dalmarmock Sewage Work, next the Dalmarnock railway bridge, and below Dalmarnock Road – is referred to everywhere online as the Rutherglen Boatyard, and is all that remains of the old yard founded by TB Seath.

Oddly, even historic record for the area show this Rutherglen boatyard on the spot, yet make no mention of Seath.

Seath built many boats, sailed down the Clyde and over the tidal weir to reach the sea, including the Cluthas which provided ferry services on the river.

Benmore, a 200 ft paddle steamer, was famously grounded on the weir on its deliver sailing, but was finally rocked off and set free!

It seems there is no sea access these days, closed off by various changes to the river, and a lack of dredging to maintain an adequate channel along the whole length.

May 23, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow’s Smaller Suspension Bridge

Not too long ago I caught a fairly clean view of Glasgow’s Bigger Suspension Bridge, and that post has the details too.

This reminded me I had never bothered to take any pics of its smaller partner to the east, the St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge, built 1853-5 by Neil Robson, engineer (£6348), and I promised to correct that sin of omission.

I happened to be nearby yesterday, and fortunately had the compact in my pocket, so the pics are not great, but at least complete the pair.

I thought I wasn’t going to get a decent side elevation, as a downside of the arrival of spring is the greenery that obscure many views that are an advantage of winter sparseness, but fortunately there is a viewing pier a little way downriver.

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge View East

St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge View East

On the left is the lifeboat station of the Glasgow Humane Society, the service that usually attends to drag bodies out of the river. Look online for George Parsonage to find videos of their work.

Before I found the clear view from the pier I grabbed a couple of shots from the ends to show better detail.

The pylons consist of heavy entablatures supported by pairs of Corinthian columns almost 6 metres (20 ft) high , all of cast-iron. Flat link chains support a light lattice girder span. Described as an attractive and little known structure.

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge View South

St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge View South

Spot the gorgeous cast iron lamp-standards standing beside, and almost visually hidden, by the columns. I was too busy to notice them at the time, or I would have taken closer detail.

During 2005, the bridge was given a fresh coat of paint, enhancing work carried out in 1997 when the parapets and timber decking were replaced, and the ornamental cast iron features of the Corinthian columns refurbished.

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge View North

St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge View North

Sorry about the National Cycle Network pole – it’s just too close the structure to stand behind and still get a decent shot.

At least I don’t have to go do some more research and a summary of the bridge’s history lies nearby:

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge Plaque

St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge Plaque

And, having two pics of the two bridges to compare – I can dispel the claim that one is a copy of the other.

Clearly, they may both be suspension bridges, but are quite different in design.

May 20, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Baggyminnow Pond swan’s nest

I’ve been passing this swan’s nest on Baggyminnow Pond for some weeks now, but the dark nights (the only time I pass at the moment) meant that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get a pic. It’s on a pond in a field, distant from the road and streetlights, and no camera, or pushing the sensor would return a useable shot – a fast lens would have helped, but that class of glass is way outside my budget.

So, even though one of the pair was down on the river (this is just a few metres from the River Clyde) and seemed to be fetching lunch (head under water all the time, so no use taking a pic), I reckoned it was this pic of only one of the pair – or no pic at all.

I must be becoming over-critical, as I fell like saying ‘Sorry, this is just my little pocket zoom compact’, and the pic is not so hot.

Baggyminnow Swan

Baggyminnow Swan


May 7, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow’s bigger suspension bridge

Slightly by chance rather than intent, I found I had a pic of Glasgow’s larger suspension bridge (the smaller of the two – St Andrew’s Bridge – is a little more than a long stone’s throw along the river, to the east, but I seem to have missed it so far), the South Portland Street Suspension Bridge.

A pedestrian bridge dating from the 1850s (commenced 1851), it connects the Georgian Carlton Place to Custom House Quay.

It seems it gained some fame in 1983, seen in the TV film ‘An Englishman Abroad’, when it provided the setting for… Moscow: Actress Coral Browne travels to Moscow, and meets a mysterious Englishman who turns out to be the notorious spy, Guy Burgess.

The South Portland Street Suspension Bridge was the first purpose-built pedestrian bridge to cross the River Clyde, with the metalwork designed by engineer George Martin, and the Classical pylons by architect Alexander Kirkland It was paid for by the heritors of Gorbals. A toll of one halfpenny was supposed to be levied to cover the cost, but with alternative free crossings nearby this was quickly scrapped. No surprise there then, in Glasgow!

It seems the early design proved problematic, with structural faults on the 410 foot wrought iron suspension bridge. The masonry towers and  supporting iron chains proved to be sub-standard leading to the bridge being largely reconstructed by the engineering firm Bell & Miller in 1871, with further repairs to the deck and side rails being carried out in 1926.

It seems I got this pic at least partly correct: The fine profile should be seen against the sky, not, as it appears from most viewpoints, with a background of buildings. The pylons, of yellow-brown sandstone, are triumphal arches of Grecian construction, with square pilasters at the outer corners, pairs of fluted Ionic columns flanking the entries, and over the entablatures massive ashlar plinths through which the chains pass to rest on their saddle supports. There are two chains on each side of the bridge, each chain link being five flat wrought iron bars; wrought iron suspenders at about 1.5 m (5 ft) spacing; and a deck of wrought iron or steel cross beams and wooden floor.

The bridge retains its gas lampholders, now electrified.

South Portland St Suspension Bridge

South Portland St Suspension Bridge

The St Andrew’s bridge is only a couple of years later, 1853, some say a copy. But more details if/when I have a pic and can do a proper post.


I can dispel the claim that one is a copy of the other – see Glasgow’s Smaller Suspension Bridge

Clearly, they may both be suspension bridges, but are quite different in design.

May 4, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tidal weir illuminations

I don’t usually get a chance to see the River Clyde tidal weir in the dark, so catching it at this time of year is (for me) a rare chance to see it with all its lights on.

I’m used to seeing it in daylight, and it’s interesting to have a close-up look at its detail, but I hadn’t realised it had quite so many lights attached. So many, even in ‘darkness’, it’s easy to take a hand-held shot.

There used to be a well-known (in its day) ship builder (Thomas B Seath and Co of Rutherglen) upriver of the weir. Completed vessels had to sail down the river and have their journey timed to catch high tide so that they could pass over the weir. I can’t recall the name, but I recently read of the last vessel to make this trip, the largest at some 200 feet in length, so long it almost got stuck on the weir, and took a number of attempts to get it over the weir.

But they made it.

Clyde tidal weir at night

Clyde tidal weir at night

January 5, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

2107 starts

1 January 2017 was a little odd (compared to most), as I tend to take a ‘standard walk’ on the first day of the new year, and this often entails ‘forcing’ myself to go out. I recent years the weather has either been sodden with a steady downpour (at least not usually accompanied by howling gales), or frozen, together with snow of varying depths.

This year, it was almost a warm summer day – or at least around +5° C – and almost wind free.

The walk generally ends at Daldowie Crematorium, which was a little more interesting than usual, as the access road was in pieces, nearing the finish of seemingly endless works that have been crawling along for months, to add a new slip road to the M74. Maybe it will be finished by the time of next year’s Jan 1 walk.

The foundation stone of the crematorium building seems to be getting harder to photograph – maybe the cleaners should give it some attention. Patina may be nice, but it looks as if the plaque is beginning to decay a little, so perhaps a little gentle cleaning may be in order, occasionally.

Daldowie Foundation Stone

Daldowie Foundation Stone

While I’m there, I usually can’t resist a wander down to the River Clyde, just to see if anything has happened.

A few years ago, I found a makeshift hide, but it was abandoned, and has now disappeared completely (I think the branch on the left was being used as a support).

River Clyde Daldowie Bend

River Clyde Daldowie Bend

It was also slightly unusual to be able to see where I was going, as the scene below is usually just plain white thanks to the snow cover, so navigation is by memory (or following other footprints).

Daldowie River Clyde Corner

Daldowie River Clyde Corner

With the relative ease of access this year, there was also an opportunity to take a quick look at the abandoned World War II ‘tank traps’ or road blocks. These concrete cylinders were intended to be placed on road and routes to interfered with tanks and other vehicles, had a German invasion ever taken place, and disrupt easy movement of the enemy.

After the war, they were abandoned and dumped, so can turn up in odd places, with no obvious reason for their presence.

Daldowie Clyde Tank Traps

Daldowie Clyde Tank Traps

2017 might be better than 2016…

Black cat spotted on the first day!

Black Cat Hamilton Rd

Black Cat Hamilton Rd

January 1, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | 1 Comment

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