Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

More graffiti scum tagging

It’s hard to convey just how much contempt I hold for so-called graffiti artists and taggers, who think the world deserves to see their crap as they vandalise and damage people’s property.

As always, this does NOT extend to those working with permission.

In this case, some worthless little tagger chose to vandalise a lifebelt alert sign AND showed extreme disrespect by doing it next to someone’s memorial tribute.

Now that I see it with fresh flowers laid, I’m guessing someone died here, either drowned in the river, possibly an accident, or perhaps a suicide who jumped from the old Polmadie Footbridge, which lay just to left of this pic (and is now the new Polmadie Footbridge).

I don’t know the details, and queried the reason for a bottle of water being tied to the railings (fence) here. Original pic and query here: River Clyde pilgrimage point

Lifebelt Sign Vandalised At Memorial

Lifebelt Sign Vandalised At Memorial

Impressive fence painting too – dribbling nicely down from the top of the sign.


Dec 8, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Skylark IX – The Little Ship that survived will become a floating museum on the Clyde

It’s a pity the place I had some long discussion over various wartime relics found in Scotland isn’t really available now, since the original find and recovery of this ‘Little Ship’ was quite extended.

The good news is that it is to be restored and turned into a floating museum.

It had been used for cruises on Loch Lomond, for something like 30 years, but eventually fell into disrepair, and sank.

A few years ago, it was raised by the Royal Navy after a campaign to rescue/recover it, by veterans supporting the Skylark IX Recovery Trust, and was moved to the Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine.

A Dunkirk Little Ship, which rescued 600 Allied troops during World War Two, is to be restored and turned into a floating museum on the River Clyde.

Skylark IX will be saved thanks to £404,000 of funding from The National Lottery.

The work will be carried out by a specialist boatbuilding team working with recovering drug addicts.

The boat, built as a passenger cruiser in 1927, become part of the Dunkirk Little Ships fleet of 850 boats.

Dunkirk Little Ship to be floating museum on River Clyde

See also:

The Association of Dunkirk Little Ships

As seen back in 2012. Not long after being raised

Skylark IX

Skylark IX

Dec 6, 2018 Posted by | Maritime, Transport, World War II | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Would you rather drown or be electrocuted?

I’ve passed this lifebelt quite a few times, and (as someone involved in electrical safety) can’t help having a little laugh.

I should probably say that this is NOT an official lifebelt post – they are marked by proper identifiers giving safety details, and proper identification of the location to help emergency services, if needed.

Someone has just hung the ring here – which, to be fair, is probably better than throwing it in the river, which some seem to think is fun.

But the real fun would be if there was a bit of (electrical) leakage around here, and the wet lifebelt and rope was thrown to aid some poor sod in the water.

132 kV (that’s 132,000 volts for the non-techs, a little more than the 240 volts found at home) is definitely going to make it along a wet rope and waken up anyone who grabs it.

There would be options – death by drowning, or death by electrocution.

I am kidding here, just because of the sign the ring is hanging from.

You’re not in any electrical danger from this.

The hydrogen dioxide in the river though… that can kill you.

It’s been said that everyone who has drunk the stuff has died, without exception (that’s a joke – look it up).

HV Lifebelt

HV Lifebelt

The local dross has been sticking stickers on the sign, so you can’t see it properly.

Here’s a nice clean one.

Clyde HV Sign

Clyde HV Sign

Dec 4, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

West Boathouse on the River Clyde

After seeing the story about the restoration work set to be carried out on the West Boathouse on the River Clyde, after thinking it might have been derelict, I thought I should really take a chance and try for some pics before anything changed.

This place is long (or wide, depending on how your brain is wired), so there’s no way to get a shot without something expensive, or you have to stitch multiple shots together. I’ll let you guess what I do.

Yes, it was late, not dark, just dusk – I’m surprised this came out so well, even with the low contrast.

Click for bigger.

West Boathouse Stitch

West Boathouse Stitch

There’s no problem if you’re far away, so I reshot the night shot from the previous post.

West Boathouse From Bridge

West Boathouse From Bridge

Then wandered along for a view from the opposite bank. Again, no problem with the length of the building.

Note the shoring on the left.

West Boathouse From Opposite Bank

West Boathouse From Opposite Bank

One end.

West Boathouse East End

West Boathouse East End

And the other – that shoring has been there for years. Another reason for thinking ‘derelict’.

I don’t know if the crazy angle of the boathouse in this pic is down to me, or if it really has subsided to that extent.

But, look at the fence, and the edge of the other building caught in this pic.

West Boathouse West End Shoring

West Boathouse West End Shoring

Not a bad catch, but for the dusk, lack of contrast, and little colour.

But it’s December.

Dec 2, 2018 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

West Boathouse on Glasgow Green is not as derelict as I thought

I have to confess that, until recently, I thought an old boathouse on Glasgow Green was maybe derelict.

I’ve never seen it in use, or even open, due to the usual times I was down that way, and it was only a few weeks ago that I saw it with a door lying open, and people moving around inside.

In fact, plans have just been approved for a new 99-year lease to the Clydesdale and Clyde Amateur Rowing Clubs for use the West Boathouse and surrounding land.

Under the terms of the agreement, the clubs will pay £750-a-year between them for the site following the completion of the £2.8m redevelopment.

That work will be carried out by the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust (GBPT) who are set to install new changing facilities, lift access, multi-use spaces and a floating pontoon from next year.

The boathouse is a category B-listed building which sits in Glasgow Green and was built for the use of both rowing clubs in 1905.

As part of the work, the Trust will take over an area of Glasgow Green, which is not currently leased by the clubs, for a trailer park, rowing racks and an access route to pontoons.

The boathouse building will be redeveloped from a semi-detached unit into a fully shared space by 2020.

Both clubs have been paying £350-a-year since 1990 for use of the site but the new agreement will allow the council to transfer liability for maintenance and management of the building to the clubs.

Plans to revamp historic boathouse on Glasgow Green move one step closer

Pity I didn’t take a pic or two of some rowers I thought were mad to be out on the water a few days ago, when it was almost freezing – I like my playing to be fun.

I didn’t think I had any pics of the place, although I know I have some really old ones (on film) that show the place looking much as it does today, and in need of restoration, especially the area leading to the river. I think this was used for a shooting scene in ‘Taggart’.


I remembered I’d fired off some test shots on 05 November, while waiting for the fireworks on Glasgow Green to start.

The first one was just one of my habitual hand-held low light night shots, I can’t resist, even it was not the plan for that night. But, I still needed to have an idea of what area I could cover when I changed over to long exposures.

Glasgow Green West Boathouse Wide

Glasgow Green West Boathouse Wide

After playing around a bit, and finding a way to support the camera (exposures were going up to around 8 seconds), I began to get half decent results.

Glasgow Green River Clyde West Boathouse

Glasgow Green River Clyde West Boathouse

And then there were interesting shots.

This one caught an early firework release, but the actual interest will be spotted in the bright lights.

Note now they have developed ‘drops’ which appear to run down from them, as the camera was moved too soon, at the end of the shot, before the shutter had closed.

One to remember for later use.

Interestingly, the lit windows of the building behind (Templeton’s), although appearing to be bright, were not bright enough to ‘drop’ or streak in the same way.

Glasgow Green River Clyde West Boathouse and firework

Glasgow Green River Clyde West Boathouse and firework

Dec 1, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dredgers at Riverside

I spotted some work on the river (Clyde) a while ago, and almost mistook it for some sort of dredging.

Next time I dropped into Riverside, I had a look at the shipping display, fitted on a clever conveyor system which moves the models around the display, and triggers a visual display which shows details of each ship as it passes.

After watching for a while, I was surprised to note there were no dredgers passing.

I knew there were such models in the collection, having seen them in the static displays on show in previous incarnations.

I even took a walk around some of the neighbouring static displays, but still couldn’t see any dredgers.

That was a surprise, since the River Clyde depended on dredgers for its life and success, being a fairly shallow river when left to its own devices, and having to be dredged regularly to maintain its navigable channel and allow large ships to make their way all the way to the docks.

There ARE dredgers on display, but you have to look UP to find them.

While this does show their secret below the waterline, it’s not really as good as the original displays seen in Kelvingrove, as you can’t see the detail, or topside.

Hard to see and photograph too, because of their distance, and the lighting, which give a lot of glare. Riverside really needs to review this display.

I did try to take pics, and fettle them, but I’m not proud of the result (this would need a dSLR, not the compact I was carrying).

Riverside Dredger 1

Riverside Dredger 1


Riverside Dredger 2

Riverside Dredger 2

I hope they plan to move the models around a bit, and bring those ‘In the sky’ down to ground level at some time.

I’ve always liked the dredgers, as they’re so different from other vessels, most of the mechanical bits are in clear view, and there’s always the fact that those buckets go through a big hole in the hull.

And they made guest appearances in ‘Taggart’, when bits of body were seen coming up in the bucket – and rather upset the wee man watching them.

Nov 26, 2018 Posted by | Maritime, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Another new bridge over the Clyde

It’s amazing to see the virtual explosion of bridges over the Clyde in recent years, or even the refurbishment of existing ones which could have been lost due to old age and decay.

There are paintings/sketches of Glasgow from hundreds of years ago, when the River Clyde was just a trickle, and only a few rickety structures for people to get across it without getting their feet wet. How things have changed since the rivers was dredged and managed, and the city exploded around it.

Even I can remember how the arrival of Bell’s Bridge for the Glasgow Garden Festival, back in 1988, was seen as novel and unique.

Now that has been joined by a number of both traffic and pedestrian crossing with sight of that original, and they were easy to add as they don’t have to open to allow the passage of various large floaty things.

Now they are to be joined by yet another new bridge, downstream, and it WILL have to open to let ships pass.

Scottish Government ministers have just approved the first opening road bridge across the Clyde, between Renfrew and Yoker.

The project also includes new roads, walkways and cycle routes into a 150-acre site next to Glasgow Airport being developed into a manufacturing district, which has already attracted two national innovation centres, the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and a major centre revolutionising medicines manufacturing.

The bridge has been designed by leading engineering consultancy Sweco working with Kettle Collective, the award-winning architects behind the Falkirk Wheel.

There has been strong support for the project during extensive engagement over a two-year period, with surveys signalling 90 percent backing for the plans.

NEW Bridge Between Yoker And Renfrew Gets Government Go-Ahead

I wonder how long it will be until the NEXT one comes along?

The most recent bridges are often interesting to look at, employing shapes and designs that would not have been possible (or extremely risky) to develop before computers could be used to solve the engineering calculations.

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the traditional, generally straight span, design, it’s nice to see what can be done with a little imagination.

On the other hand, the strange shapes, non-linear stresses and strains, plus odd harmonic and aerodynamic effects CAN sometimes come back and bite the hand of the designer, and a number of these new bridge shapes have developed unforeseen issues once in service.

Fingers crossed.

This one looks nice.

Artist's Impression Sweco

Artist’s Impression Sweco

Nov 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

STILL going ‘Doon The Watter’ after all those years

While the phrase referring to going ‘Doon The Watter’ is not really applicable these days, it’s far from unused, often seen/heard in any discussion of holidays in Scotland.

The phrase was born in the days of the Clyde steamers, when thousands travelled to the Clyde to board those vessels and sail Doon The Watter, or down the water to the many seaside towns and piers that lined the Clyde coast and its islands in those days.

Sadly, the steamers have gone, as have many of the piers, long neglected, often demolished, or left to rot and decay.

You’ll often see the term, and displays dedicated to it, in Glasgow museums.

I was reminded of it recently, when I chanced across a modern vessel moored near Riverside (museum of transport) recently.

Crummy pic I’m afraid, I wasn’t really kitted out for the job, and circumstances didn’t help – but then again, the best pic you get IS the one you get, which is always better than NO pic at all.

Modern day pleasure trips – Doon The Watter – from the site of the old Govan Ferry.

Doon The Watter

Doon The Watter

Nov 15, 2018 Posted by | Maritime, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Help ma Boab! – They’re drilling for oil under the Clyde now!

OK, so I’m kidding, they’re not really drilling for oil.

I don’t know why they drilling here, but this is just outside Riverside, Glasgow’s museum of transport, and was the sight that greeted me when I arrived there this afternoon.

Glenlee is just out of shot, to the left, almost close enough to touch from this little platform.

It’s not a big drill, so probably no chance of finding a big underground cave – and draining the Clyde!

If you can’t see it, the drill is the yellow ‘pyramid’ just left of centre.

Hope the find what they’re looking for.

Clyde Drilling

Clyde Drilling

Nov 8, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Oh look! No HMS Tamar

Just for fun, after Oh look! BAE Systems, I thought I’d make a slight detour and revisit the view in that post, since I now know where this place is.

I’d read that one of the vessels had gone into the water recently, so was curious to see if was in the right place. As I noted in that original discovery post, making assumptions is not always a good idea, even if they seem obviously correct.

River Clyde BAE Systems HMS Tamar Gone

River Clyde BAE Systems HMS Tamar Gone

I didn’t look the ‘other’ way last time I was here, but I did this time, and looking in the windows of the flats on this riverside development was interesting.

It’s hardly being nosey, the side facing the river is largely glass so the rooms on that side is almost in plain sight if folk haven’t closed their curtains.

First thing I saw I liked – one of those cat hammocks held onto the window glass by four huge suckers, so the flat’s feline overlord can watch its empire below, and bask in the Sun. I hope the double-glazing it good though, or maybe even triple glazing.

The rest wasn’t so good, as my first passing glance (which may just have been in the wrong direction) appeared to show that the favourite decoration around those rooms was wine bottles.

Lots of wine bottles.

I had a look and was mildly surprised to see a flat (on the 4th floor) of the Glasgow Harbour development was only around £170 k.

I’ve looked at similar places nearby and seen prices close to £100 k higher than this – but in older and more historic properties (you probably don’t even want ask/know the price if they were by Thomson or Mackintosh, but there’s a surprising number of them around).

Interesting difference.

Oct 19, 2018 Posted by | military, Naval, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Oh look! A pole transformer, but…

A few weeks ago I happened to spot some tech details about pole-mounted transformers as used in the US.

Differing requirements (and probably regulations) make these more common there than in the UK, although there’s probably no shortage of them here once you move into sparsely populated areas, where they provided localised electricity supplies for areas which are isolated from the more common underground distribution found in more densely populated areas.

Here, they can often be found at the end of a row of poles carrying relatively high voltage wires overhead, until the reach the pole transformer, where the voltage is stepped down to something that can be more easily handled by lower voltage insulated cables running underground.

Last week, without thinking too much about it, I snapped a pic of one I happened to find myself standing beside while staggering around the banks of the River Clyde near Cambuslang.

I was really more interested in the rating plate than anything else, just to see what sort of voltage and current was being handled.

And this is what the plate told me.

Pole Transformer Plate

Pole Transformer Plate

Most of it is standard stuff, and I feel reasonably safe knowing I have a few metres between me and a meaty 11 kV supply. I’m probably at greater risk of more than half a tonne of metal and oil landing on me from a rotting wooden pole than of being zapped.

The only thing worth adding is that the O.N.A.N. cooling acronym refers to oil normal air normal.


Then I looked at the pic I’d taken of the transformer.

Pole Transformer River Clyde Path

Pole Transformer River Clyde Path

I was so busy worrying about the subject being backlit, and possibly going to turn out as nothing more than a black shadow against a bright sky, that I completely failed to notice the technical detail of what I was photographing.

Have you spotted the slight anomaly now that I’ve prompted you?

There are NO overhead wires arriving at this transformer!

Just loop above it – delivering the 11 kV primary from a small ‘tree’ of insulators just visible at the rear of the pole.

Between the tree and the transformer, I’m guessing (since I can’t actually look closer until I go back) that’s an isolator in the middle of the loops, so the transformer can be manually isolated for maintenance. If I get back down there, I’ll also have to remember to have a look at the cable runs on the pole, since there must, presumably, be a rather high voltage type there, which would be interesting to spot.

Funny how you can completely fail to notice a significant detail, even when staring right at it.

Worth remembering, as it seems some of the WORST evidence gathered during police enquires comes from… EYE WITNESSES!


Sep 28, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

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