Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Damn! Kelvingrove’s not that far from Charing Cross

I used to go for some fairly long walks, especially when I had long days to kill – 3 hours out, and 3 hours back can eat up a day, especially if you mess about while stopping to take pics.

Not sure what’s changed, but while I still walk a few miles most days, the long ones seem to have melted away as I can’t find the time for them.

One ‘extension’ I pondered, but never followed, was the stretch from Charing Cross to Kelvingrove.

I often looked along St Vincent Street, or Sauchiehall Street, but always turned around, remembering that I still had to walk back home after getting there.

I never checked the distance, but it’s only about a mile, or 20 minutes, so would actually have been fine – but it just felt a lot longer when I ran the route in my head.

I’m not sure what the walking distance would be (maybe I’ll have to step it out one day) but I do know that between the bus, or the bike, the distance travelled is between 7 and 8 miles. However, unlike those two routes, which have to wander around a bit to suit the roads, walking can be considerably shorter as it can be more direct, so would be less than either of those alternatives.

The view below shows the route I wandered along when I decided to take a wander through Kelvingrove Park after leaving the museum.

By the time I got to the memorial at the Park Circus gate (the houses right of centre), it seemed daft to head back, so I just carried on to Charing Cross.

While this was not even the most direct route, it seemed to take very little time, and would have been even quicker/shorter had I left the park at the Claremont Gardens gate, and headed to Charing Cross from there, which is almost a straight and direct route.

Kelvingrove To Charing Cross

Kelvingrove To Charing Cross


22/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maps, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Yet more local cycling news

I’m going to have to be careful, or I’ll start to look like a cycling activist, and have to kill myself!

But, our local media seems to be enjoying writing about cycling at the moment and, since it lets me rub actual cycling activists’ noses in stuff they whine about NOT happening, I’m not going to ignore it 🙂

They’ve been monitoring and counting the number of cyclists (and pedestrians) at a number of locations, and have now published a short summary showing the most popular routes.

According to the most recent data released by Glasgow City Council (you know, the council the activist don’t think does anything for them), cycle journeys to and from Glasgow city centre have more than doubled in less than ten years.

New data collected by the council shows the annual count of people cycling past 35 locations has gone up by 111 per cent between 2009 and 2018.

According to the count, which took place over two days in September, there were 5,712 journeys by bike into the city centre on average each day.

That’s a total number of 11,000 journeys on a daily basis.

The 2018 count also indicated that almost 53,000 people walk into the city centre on average each day, with a total number of 102,972 journeys on a daily basis – an almost a 19 per cent increase on 2009.

Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, said the figures provided concrete evidence that cycling is growing in popularity in Glasgow.

With new cycling infrastructure such as the £6.5m South City Way due to be completed in the near future as part of the ambitious, overall City Way initiative, Councillor Richardson believes there is huge potential for the figures to grow even further.

The most popular locations for people travelling on bike to and from the city centre are:

1. Broomielaw (at Washington Street) – 2,065 daily journeys on average.

2. Saltmarket at Clyde Street – 1,231 journeys.

3. Tradeston Bridge – 1,088 journey.

4. Victoria Bridge – 929 journeys.

5. Friarton Place East at Garscube Road – 539 journeys.

The most popular locations for people travelling on foot to and from the city centre are:-

1. Trongate at Albion St – 10,335 daily journeys on average

2. Sauchiehall Street at Charing Cross – 9,070 daily journeys on average

3. High Street at George St – 7,227 journeys

These are the most popular cycle routes in Glasgow city centre

I pass first four bike locations at least twice per trip – the fifth is simply not on my route or an area I visit.

I usually pass the three foot locations each time, and walk there too. I used to walk to them from home, but that’s over two hours, just one way (and takes longer as I always get diverted).

I’ll have to ‘borrow’ this pic to illustrate the result, and hope I don’t get my fingers rapped.

I just don’t have something similar to hand (I’m always ‘travelling’ when I’m at these places), but I’ll make the effort and grab some of my own as soon as time/weather permits.

Saltmarket Cycle Counter Pic Credit ReGlasgow

Saltmarket Cycle Counter Pic Credit ReGlasgow

18/12/2018 Posted by | council, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Oh dear – the cycling activists are going to be REALLY UPSET at this news

I can’t get away from opportunities to kick the damned cycling activists over the past few days.

It looks as if YET ANOTHER set of actual data makes a mockery of their endless whining about cyclists being ignored in preference for motorists, or similar claims they like to keep making.

CYCLE journeys to and from Glasgow City Centre have more than doubled in less than ten years, according to new data collected by the council’s Sustainable Transport team. There has also been a large increase in those walking in and out of the central area.

Figures based on the annual count of people cycling past 35 locations around the city centre area show that travelling by bike has gone up by 111 per cent between 2009 and 2018.

According to the count, which took place over two days in September this year, there were 5,712 journeys by bike into the city centre on average each day with a total number of 11,000 journeys in and out of the city centre on a daily basis.

The 2018 count also indicated that almost 53,000 people walk into the city centre on average each day, with a total number of 102,972 journeys in and out of the city centre on a daily basis.  This is a near 19 per cent increase on 2009 and also suggests that a substantial number of the city centre’s 150,000-plus workforce walk to work every day.

BIG Increases In Glasgow City Centre Cycling And Walking

On the other hand…

Perhaps I should come clean, and be more honest about these results.

I HAVE SKEWED THEM and made them invalid!

I have to confess that sometimes I cycle to and from Glasgow, past the very counters mentioned, up to THREE time a day.

So, sadly, those figures could be three time higher than they actually are.


That said, I have sometimes cycled past those counters, watched the number increase, and wondered about the total.

On the other hand, in the real world, I have also passed some of them via gates and paths that miss them altogether, so I’d guess that over all journeys, for all riders, the overall number balances out.

Interestingly, the pic which accompanied the above article must have been taken some time ago (well, look at the weather), since I haven’t looked at the Saltmarket counter recently (always in a hurry now), or grabbed a pic (I should, shouldn’t I), but my recollection is of a number much higher than the 19,998 shown. With my memory, I’m not even going to TRY to recall the last count I saw there!

I must stop next time, and take a pic.

Incidentally, I walk AND cycle here, but there’s a heck of a difference between a near 2-hour walk (and it always takes longer as I stop to take pics), and a 45-minute bike ride.

Saltmarket Cycle Counter Pic Credit ReGlasgow

Saltmarket Cycle Counter Pic Credit ReGlasgow

14/12/2018 Posted by | council, Transport | , | Leave a comment


For a variety of reason, if I want to go anywhere these days. I have to walk.

A trip to the shops is at least 4 miles, more usually 6 as I prefer a bit of choice – so I’ve started to eat shoes (speaking figuratively, just in case).

I threw the black soled examples out 3 years ago, then went and pulled them back out of the bin, to see how long they would last after I had dumped them for letting my feet get damp. The answer was just over 2 more years of use, provided I was careful to only wear them when there was no rain around. I drew the line at carrying on once there I had managed to wear them to the point of having a hole in the sole. You never know what you might step in one day!

Those with the white soles also managed at least another 2 years of service past the point where they would have been discarded. Their wear and demise is quite different from the black ones. The white ones eventually cracked and broke across their width, precluding reaching a proper hole, but hey have more or less worn down to the liner, so that probably counts. The same criteria of ‘wet feet’ applied, and they too had to be reserved for fine sunny days, or in Scotland, just dry days. Even a damp pavement meant coming home with soaking feet, which happened twice, and I think is down to the crack acting like a little pump, catching any moisture and squeezing inside the shoe. On those two occasion, my socks were dripping wet by the time I got back home, although there had not been a puddle in sight, just a damp footpath.

Worn Soles 01

The second pic show two pairs of very light shoes I bought at the start of the year, mainly because of their lightness, and being on sale helped -but they’re not a bargain. They’re rubbish, and useless for wearing outside for walking, and fit only for use as slippers.

The black soles in this pic have only been worn indoors, while the white examples have been used outdoors on about a dozen occasions at most. That’s not even a full year’s use, bearing in mind those shown above managed at least 2 years AFTER I considered them worn out.

The white soles have worn away completely at the heel, and a torch can be seen through it – a fact I can confirm from the pain of standing on small stones when walking while wearing these shoes. There’s not much meat left on the rest of the sole.

I’m thinking of buying some stick-on soles (made for trainers) since the uppers are still like new. 10-12 walks and 40-50 miles is hardly even enough to break in shoes, and some I have barely look used at that level of use.

Worn Soles 02

Just something else to look out for when I’m trying to find some cheap (as in inexpensive) shoes.

The problem I had learnt to look out prior to this was the silly compartmentalised heel. This has air spaces with a grid of material forming cells about 1 cm square.

This might be a good idea for comfort, but I think is just a move to save material compared to having a solid heel.

It doesn’t take long for the material the sides of those 1 cm cells are made of to begin to collapse, and your heel just sinks into the empty space left when all the holes formed by the cells join up into one big one, and the shoe becomes useless. And can be expensive, as the constant flexing of the this space soon tears a hole in your socks!

I’ve tried to feel this grid under the heel in new examples of this hollow type, but it’s almost impossible to detect in a new shoe. I suspect the air trapped in it at that stage keeps it firm, and supports the heel – until the material fractures, the air is released, and the heel collapses.

16/11/2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Contact Form now available online for hillwalkers and climbers

Interesting to see a form being placed online, making it easy to download and print, and aimed at hillwakers and climbers.

Referred to as the Going to the Hills contact form, it contains details that would be useful to police and mountain rescue teams in the event of an emergency.

Let Us Know

Prior to being made available on-line, users had to pick copies up in person.

The idea is to fill out the form, then leave it with a friend or family member. In the event of an emergency, if someone fails to return as expected from a trip perhaps, it provides details which the emergency services can use, such as vehicle registrations, mobile numbers, and information on the route of a planned walk or climb.

Here is the link to the form:

Let Us Know – going-to-the-hills

Supt Gus MacPherson, of Police Scotland, said: “The contact form is not a new idea but as we approach the autumn and winter months it is the ideal time to encourage its use by all those who enjoy the outdoors.

“This information can provide an early alert if you or your party fall into difficulty and early notification can make all the difference to your safety especially during poor weather and low temperatures.”

Via Hillwalkers and climbers urged to use contact form

10/09/2013 Posted by | Appeal | , , | 1 Comment

The lost waders

While the weather was a little cold and snowy, I was able to take the chance to do a little wandering along the banks of the River Clyde.

Although I had been able to cover the area from Belvedere to Dalmarnock previously, to the south of Parkhead, thanks to unwelcome obstruction of the Commonwealth Shames Games which we are having to endure until 2014 and beyond, works in that area have seen access to the river and the paths which lead to it being bared to public access, so that’s off the itinerary for the moment.

Heading east still works without too many problems, and the area behind Daldowie Crematorium provides some interesting sights, and since I was there anyway, decided to carry on down to the river.

This provided an interesting find in the snow, and while I was not convinced I had found some lost angler, or even council employee from the nearby sewage works, after I had walked away from what resembled a body in the snow (from a distance), I couldn’t get away from the thought that it might actually be someone lost (there had just been a case in the news of someone being found close to death after being out for almost 2 days), I concluded the responsible thing to do was at least go and take a look.

Once I got there, it was clear that what had appeared to be a pair of discarded wellies had taken on the slightly alarming appearance of a body because they were actually a set of full body waders, and this was forcing the wellie part to lie in a human-like position, while the hump of the body section of the suit was providing a vaguely person-like hump. The flat photo of the scene doesn’t really convey the appearance of this heap from a distance.


Wader suit in snow

Empty wader suit in snow

Close up, the reason for the abandonment became obvious, as the body of suit was worn out, and peppered with holes, making it less than useful, although the wellies looked fine, but being attached to the rest were not much use either.

Passing through the same area few days later, the remains were still there, and in the clear as the thaw had set in by then.

Waders in grass

The waders after the thaw

Pity they were so clearly severely knackered, and when looked at closely were seen to be beyond any sensible repair effort. They might have been a handy piece of salvage otherwise.

07/01/2011 Posted by | photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment


999.9 milesA few years ago, I realised that I had gone from a fairly active job which involved flitting around the country, to one which involved ‘Driving a Desk’. I didn’t notice it happening, but together with this change during the working day, changes at home meant unexpected responsibilities had tied me down there as well, and I was no longer free to wander around the country in  my own time either.

About the same time, during a visit to the doctor, not for me, but on someone else’s behalf, I was hijacked and had my blood pressure taken. While there was nothing wrong, the result still brought a response of “Hmm… it’s a bit high, but not enough to do anything about”. However, coupled with some other things I had noticed which signalled I was not as fit as I had been when I had been free to get out and about, meant I thought I was in danger of dropping dead one day.

Just around the same time, a range of exercise machines that simulated the movement of cross-country skiing appeared, amid tales that they were supposedly the fittest of the Olympic athletes. True or not, I didn’t know, but it did exercise arms and legs simultaneously, and gave a cardio workout. Since it was similar to the walking I used to do, and seemed less mind-numbing that a treadmill, this was what I eventually went for.

I soon found that its distance and speed measurement were relatively accurate, and worked to a plan of one mile per day (15-20 minutes) or an hour’s exercise every two or three days, which seemed to tie in with the ‘experts’ advice. I had expected to clock up 1,000 miles in less than three years, but it never happened, as fate stepped in, circumstances changed again, and I took up walking the streets, just to get a break from problems at home. Still, I was putting in the miles, just not getting the benefit of the outlay on the machine.

However, another inevitable change brought the machine out of the cupboard, and the return of an exercise schedule.

I was going to post when I passed 880 miles, which for me, is the round trip distance from my front door to one of my London haunts, and the one way trip is almost 6 hours dead, since the start and end of the trip lies next to the motorway. I found it amusing to reflect that I had walked the equivalent of this round trip.

When I noticed I was coming up on 1,000 miles a few days ago, I thought worth noting the event at 999.9 miles, since the odometer would only roll over to 0.0 and the moment would be lost.

Wonder if I’ll make the second 999.9 in 2.73 years, and still be blogging?

Probably not, since I walk to the shops at least twice a week, and that’s a four mile round trip, so spending more time walking on a machine seems like a waste of time on those days.

18/07/2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Concern about Welsh and English coastal access bills

Portmeirion - coastal village and fee-charging attraction

Portmeirion - coastal village and fee-charging attraction

Regular readers will have noticed that I often refer to the Scottish Open Access Code, and hopefully also notice that I generally draw readers’ attention to the fact that it bestows both right and responsibilities on the land owner and the land user. So far, it seems to have gone well since its recent introduction, and most the of the “Geroffmyland” types have been treated appropriately be its enforcement. As far as I can see, and I’d be pleased to receive any links with examples I’ve missed, there have been no reports in the media about any corresponding cases involving offensive land users.

I keep a watching eye on Wales too (visitors will know a Scot could be forgiven for getting lost there) as I have a long term attachment to the Italianate village of Portmeirion, created by architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. The village occupies a sizeable estate which includes a significant section of coastline, charges a fee for visitor access, and attracts some 220,000 visitors through its gates each year.

The Assembly government is considering a move to force free-for-all rights of access to land around the Welsh coast. Last week the it abandoned plans to launch coastal access consultations. Instead it will seek similar coastal access powers as the Westminster government, which wants to implement a coastal corridor in England via the draft Marine and Coastal Access Bill, it will then relaunch consultations on how the powers are applied, including possible exemptions. It doesn’t take too much imagination to see how a badly formed plan could deliver damaging side-effects together with its potential benefits.

While you may wonder at why I would alert you to events in Wales and England, it should be remembered that the Scottish Open Access Code followed the introduction of the same legislation south of the border, made simpler (to some extent) by the availability of maps showing Rights of Way, something which Scotland just never had. (And please, no repetition of that silly Urban Myth of there being no trespass law in Scotland, there is, and it’s a civil wrong, not criminal offence. End of.)

If this coastal corridor, or free-for-all right of access to land around the Welsh coast, and the English Marine and Coastal Access Bill come into being, there’s no reason to assume that the Scottish Government won’t jump onto the same bandwagon, or be pressured into introducing legislation which effectively give the Welsh and English more rights of access than the Scots.

Each of the the nations that make up this island have distinctly different coasts, different in formation, population, use, history, and in the visitors they attract, and if we assume that this legislation will ultimately arrive, it has to be formed correctly, or it will do as much harm as it can do good.

29/07/2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scottish animals are being stressed

In a couple of unrelated stories, it would seem that those taking to the country could be being stressed, and being stressed by, the local wildlife in the areas they wish to carry out their recreational activities.

The capercaillie is a relatively rare bird, a member of the grouse family, and around the size if a turkey. Becoming more numerous, it had been approaching extinction in Scotland at one time. Unfortunately for the bird, activities such as skiing, tourism and hill walking are being said to harm the birds by increasing their stress levels, and reducing their fitness. Experts have suggested that walkers and hikers can upset the birds, which are described as ‘very sensitive’, and should avoid them until the autumn, and avoid them when they are nesting, earlier in the year.

Conversely, ramblers on a coastal path neat the Castle Golf Course at St Andrews are said to be having their day out ruined by the local cattle. Grazing across the path, the animals are said to be causing the path to become boggy, and impossible to negotiate. The path was opened in 2002, and crosses the farmer’s land, where he is entitled to graze his cattle, and there have been attempts to place stepping stones, but the wet weather and churning of the ground as the cattle feed have an inevitable effect. Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, which maintains the route, said the grazing was needed to maintain the ‘botanical diversity’ of the area, and that they were looking for ‘innovative solutions’ to improve the path and ensure the site flourishes.

04/03/2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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