Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Oh look! A new footbridge over the river

I took a long bike ride along the River Clyde some months ago.

The route isn’t one I’d choose to walk, simply because the meandering riverbank walkway adds miles to an already reasonably long walk into the city centre.

I spotted some concrete pillars rising from the river near Polmadie and Oatlands, which I thought looked like the remnants of some sort of bridge. Searching around when I returned home revealed that these were the remains of a footbridge which had been declared unsafe, and demolished/removed.

This (missing/demolished) bridge was built around 1955, and was itself a replacement for a still earlier bridge, built around 1900. The first one was wooden (as opposed to the later concrete), and partially destroyed by fire in 1921)

No pics of those pillars since I didn’t know what they were (and they didn’t look ‘interesting’), and there wasn’t a chance to go back for them later.

I also read that the bridge was to be replaced, and by the time I wandered back (walking direct, as opposed to following the river is LOT shorter and quicker), work had started on the new footbridge, as per this sign.

Polmadie Footbridge Reconstruction Sign

Polmadie Footbridge Reconstruction Sign

These views are taken from the south bank. I usually don’t see this view as I  live on the north side.

Although I didn’t collect pics of the supporting pillars, I think I have made up for that now, as the muck and weathering seen below suggests they are the originals, and are being reused for the new bridge, so I didn’t miss out completely.

New Bridge

New Bridge


New Bridge

New Bridge


New Bridge

New Bridge

24 weeks?

Who knows – that might be long enough for me to get back for another pic.

Bonus fact – Diving Boards!

By chance, when reading up on the bridge’s history, I spotted a real oddity.

Nothing is now visible of four spring boards strung out over a distance of 94m along the north bank of the River Clyde which are depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 25-inch map (Lanark 1865, Sheet VI.15 (City of Glasgow)). They appear to have been removed by the 1890s and they are not shown on the 2nd edition of the 25-inch map (Lanarkshire 1895, Sheet 006.15).



April 13, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

When the River Clyde collapsed

One of the great irritations I enjoyed recently(ish) was not being able to get out and visit the Clyde Tidal Weir when it suffered a control gate failure, meaning the level of the river could no longer be regulated in response to its flow.

The best I could manage was a later visit, for a pic just to mark the event.

However, what I found more irritating after that was seeing pics of the riverbank, or more accurately, the footpath along the river. This had suffered damage and subsided after the lower water levels led to loss of ground support, allowing the ground to collapse.

While I saw some fuzzy pics, and some news coverage, I’d really wanted to get along there, but it was a tad too far at the time.

I thought I’d missed my chance after reading that some remedial work had been carried out, but it seems this was only partial, and I recently discovered areas of subsided pathway still existed.

This is where Ballater Street meets Kings Bridge over the river – specifically the short stretch between McNeil Gardens and the main road. It becomes Adelphi Street once it crosses the road, and carries on into the city centre.

I found this section was still closed and barricaded by fixed fencing and diversion signs.

Arriving from the east, it doesn’t look too severe – until you look at the detail, for example, the section between the two closest lampposts. Looking at the bottom of the third post between those two shows how deep the subsidence goes.

Clyde Riverbank Collapse Kings Bridge

Clyde Riverbank Collapse Kings Bridge

Viewing the same stretch from the other end, from the fence at the back of the above pic.

Clyde Riverbank Collapse Kings Bridge

Clyde Riverbank Collapse Kings Bridge

A closer look at the subsidence in the distance seems to look even more severe.

Clyde Riverbank Collapse Kings Bridge

Clyde Riverbank Collapse Kings Bridge

I carried on along to the suspension bridge, but there were no further damaged areas seen, and I already knew there were none on the other bank, which I’d been along previously.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Clyde Walkway Stepway

Just to make the break from Glasgow and the High Street area, a little further along towards Parkhead.

I’m not sure why I grabbed this view, but I do seem to have a vague memory that on the day I was there I was sure the handrail on these steps leading down to the Clyde Walkway (also cycle route 75) had been changed. But I don’t think I’ve got an earlier pic to prove it.

You don’t have to bump up and down if you do decide to exit or enter the cycle route here, as they’ve included a nice sloping path just out of sight, to the left.

It’s nice and quiet here, now that much of the assorted works and developments that were underway here a few years ago have finally come to an end. Across the river you’ll find the now not so new park opened on Cunningar Loop, made easier to access thanks to the new footbridge they eventually completed to provide access from this side of the river – instead of having to go most of the way to Rutherglen, through Dalmarnock, to get there.

Clyde Walkway Stepway

Clyde Walkway Stepway

April 7, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

It’s freezing in Scotland – so it must be Easter!

I haven’t managed a decent walk for weeks now, the surrounding weather is just too grim.

After looking at the forecast since I had to go out,  yesterday looked like the best bet for a while.

I was right! 24 hours later the temp has tumbled at least 5 deg C AND it has started to rain (weather forecast warned of potential for sleet/snow). At least I only had cold gusting wind yesterday, and some Sun (not seen today).

I managed around 13 miles, and made it to Glasgow Green, but on the way managed to pick up some pics of daring flowers that had taken a chance. We don’t even have daffodils showing around my own area, despite their showing in many other places nearby.

First sighting was in Tollcross Park, with some areas carpeted like this, unfortunately not the most dazzling colour, but at least showing.

Tollcross Park Blooms

Tollcross Park Blooms

More colourful, but I don’t know their name, these little yellow flowers I almost mistook for dandelions before I looked closed, and spotted the stems – which are interesting compared the smooth stem of a dandelion.

A few groups were spotted on the River Clyde at Hutchesontown, just behind the fence on the riverbank.

River Clyde Behind Richmond Park Riverbank Blooms

River Clyde Behind Richmond Park Riverbank Blooms

I wonder if the betting shops take bets on Easter weather?

I can recall enjoying sunny days in local parks some years, to ending up being frozen through when I made the mistake of using the holiday to work outside on my car, to the time I left home in a near blizzard – on my way to Manchester for work.

March 30, 2018 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Wandering along the Clyde

If you’ve ever wondered about what you might find if you wander along the untamed sections of the banks of the River Clyde, then I can probably tell you – not much.

I’m discounting things such as historic or built features, or more likely their remains, since they can be found in references or other documents, and hunted down, or referred to in various guides.

I’m thinking more of oddities that don’t rate inclusion in such esteemed sources, or stuff that may just have ended up down there, for whatever reason.

Some of the walking there is not too bad, with little more than loose debris and undergrowth underfoot, but there are sections where running water has dug out deep ruts in the ground, some is just muddy and sloppy, and some areas are just impassable where trees, roots, and branches have gathered to form a wall.

The only way past is to climb back inland and go around, before returning to the riverbank – progress can be slow.

This view (click for bigger) looks passable from here, but once you reach the tree in the background, the tangle of debris on the ground behind is just too deep to gain footing, and your leg just goes through it and progress is all but halted.

Clyde Riverbank

Clyde Riverbank

There are some oddities, such as the scene below, where a row of pipes and metal posts has been hammered into the ground – but there’s no obvious reason or purpose.

Unless you know better.

Clyde Riverbank Odd Poles

Clyde Riverbank Odd Poles

The round grey poles are old scaffolding poles with threaded ends, similar to some I have in my own garden, driven into the ground to act as tall fence supports.

The rusty flat sections are similar to fence supports in my garden, but for a low metal fence that marked the border of the field that used to lie on the other side.

These examples appear to be stuck into the ground upside down.

The flat plates are normally buried about a foot (30 cm) deep, to provide a ground anchor for the metal post they are attached to, since the thin post would be easily dislodged on its own. The large area of the plate means the fence can’t just be pushed over easily, and provides a solid foundation once earth has been packed around it.

January 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

More Clyde finds

It’s a long time since I found anything interesting while wandering anywhere along the banks of the River Clyde (not counting Buckfast bottles and similar).

Most stuff is just rubbish, dropped or blown in upriver, but some is more interesting.

Last time I tripped over a pair of waders it was winter, but that time they were buried in snow – this time it was easier.

Lost Waders

Lost Waders

The next one, not much further along the same stretch of riverbank, needed a bit of prior knowledge to identify, otherwise it would have been easy to miss, or get really sore fingers if trying to pick up.

Lost in mud until I happened to step on it, and scraped some off, another ground mark to go with the first one I found some years ago.

Clyde Ground Mark

Clyde Ground Mark

Still further along, this was a bit more interesting, and more of a mystery.

I can understand somebody dropping/forgetting waders, but how does a heavy glass juicer come to be lying on the flooded part of the bank. Hardly rare, but the design is vintage, around the 1950s or so. And I already have one (without chips) buried away in a cupboard.


Found Juicer

Found Juicer

I did get lucky later, while poking around a low area of riverbank that had a lot of broken tree trunks and branches caught when it floods. I was trying to picture how high the water must be when this happen, and the circumstances. I’ve seen the river running fast and high in the past, but still nowhere near the level needed to cut the channels I was looking at, or deposit the substantial pieces of tree I was looking at.


But I did find a handy toolbox, devoid of contents, not that old, not broken by its trip along the river, still with some bits of fishing tackle attached, so unlike the juicer, at least I know how it came to end up where it lay.



I’ve always wished there was more to find, but I guess the river doesn’t really run close enough to sufficiently populated places before it reached the east end of Glasgow means there is much being caught or lost to make it more than occasionally interesting.


Almost forgot, from a couple of weeks earlier…

Would you believe an apparently brand new and unused generic turbine brush for use with a vacuum cleaner?

Apart from a splash of mud which rinsed off, a look at the white bristles of the rotating brush showed not a spot of dirt caught in them.

Generic Turbine Brush

Generic Turbine Brush

Well, that seems to be it for my stretch – guess it will be another five years before it’s worth having another look.

January 19, 2018 Posted by | photography | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 on Carlton Place.

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

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