Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Clydesmill old pumping station (at night)

More successful than expected, a recent test shot of an old pumping station on the banks of the River Clyde at Clydesmill looks much better than expected.

At night, this place is pitch dark despite having some street lights nearby – they’re not all that near.

Just about none of the camera automation works, certainly not the autofocus, and this meant trying some tricks (or maybe just guessing) to get the focus set.

It worked.

Exposure can be a trickier, more guessing, but the advanced features now offered mean that at least some of the settings can be relied on from the camera itself, and even if the photographer can’t see much, it seems the camera can.

Again, this is place with only sodium lighting as the only source, and it’s interesting to see the colour of the sky after processing.

Fiddling with the balance to find a white is largely pointless, so I’ve learned just to go with yellow on most of the scene, and take whatever appears in the rest.

Even I’m impressed by the level of detail delivered in this shot, and unlike the reduced version that goes into this blog, there’s no problem in seeing the individual bricks in the original. There’s even a reflection from the water in the bottom right corner.

Clyde Pumping Station

Clyde Pumping Station


January 5, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Maybe next year

This probably sums up a year that seemed to go from one ‘Nope’ to the next without much of a break in-between.

This view was spotted in a book from the archives called ‘Glasgow – from the eye in the sky‘, and dates from 1988.

Having been along much of the Clyde Walkway and cycle route earlier in the year, I thought it would be ‘fun’ to go find the same spot one day.

Well, THAT was a mistake, and I’ve barely been able to make it back to the path, let alone cover the section used by rowers.

I thought ‘Plan B’ might have provided the answer as a desk exercise, so reverted to Google Earth and similar aerial options, but the reality is that, despite the protestations of various privacy nuts, there really isn’t sufficient detail to pinpoint this spot.

I thought the two red benches offset from the path on the left, and the building just off the path on the right (plus what appears to be small jetty of some sort) would have been sufficient, but none of these features even seem to be visible on present day online views.

Although, it would also have to be said that this failure is at least due in part to the variation of, and thickness of tree growth over the years since the original shot was taken.

I guess this will have to wait until the days get longer, and I might dare try to get along the path once there’s some afternoon/evening light to be had.

On the other hand, I might not even bother trying given my recent luck, as I’ve managed to avoid a broken limb so far, and it would be a shame to spoil that now.

You could help me avoid this, if you can describe exactly where this spot lies.

Clyde Rowers From The Air

Clyde Rowers From The Air

December 31, 2017 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

So THAT’s how to get onto the riverbank

While it’s relatively easy to access the river (Clyde) directly in parts of the east end (although it’s also true that many are inaccessible for various reasons), the same is not true once you arrive in the area near the city centre.

Many parts are fenced off, and stone walls lie beneath those fences. Some go straight down to the water, while other are usually separated by relatively short strips of vegetation hiding banking of dubious underfoot security.

Viewed from the opposite bank, quite a few tunnels and outlets can be seen in those stone faces, some identifiable as burns, while other are probably just outfalls, drains, and sewers. If you get really keen and head towards the sea, you’ll come across various dock remains, and even long abandoned ferry terminals and slips. Somebody could probably write a book.

But, back in the city, I’ve often pondered over access to the riverbank, generally having that ponder when near the big houses that still line some of the streets that border the river, and lie only a few metres away.

I think I’ve seen the odd gate in the past (while not paying proper attention), but from memory, stepping through one just leads to a drop, not a path.

Then I found the spot shown below, just along from the Sheriff Court.

Clearly, nobody without a key or ‘reason to be there’ is welcome – but that fence is easy to clear.

If only I carried magic folding pocket wellies, but the chance of ending ankle (or more) deep in Clyde gunk and walking home going ‘squish-squish’ doesn’t appeal to me.

Still, I wonder how soggy it is there, or if the sign is just a red-herring intended to act as a deterrent?

I’m pretty sure there is no legitimate bar to walking there – indeed, thinking of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, anyone that tried to prevent it would be the one in trouble, not the walker.

River Clyde Entrance

River Clyde Entrance

Doesn’t exactly say “Welcome”, does it?

And nothing to identify the keyholder, or giving contact details in case of emergency.

Official padlock and chain, or some busybody at work?

Clyde Riverbank Sign And Lock

Clyde Riverbank Sign And Lock

I may be wrong, but past experience suggests passing this gate for a look would produce a whining resident from a nearby flat shouting about “Trespassing on ‘THEIR PROPERTY!”

I found this by sheer chance – maybe a deliberate walk or hunt would find more one day.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

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

%d bloggers like this: