Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Ayr may have been windy, but at least it was dry

I thought I might have made a mistake after jumping on a bus headed for Ayr yesterday, but when I got back and saw the big puddles and wet roads in Glasgow in the evening, reckoned I had made the right choice after all.

That said, on the sea front it was blowing a mini gale, and my nose wouldn’t stop running – it was noticeably colder than a previous visit a few weeks ago.

Even so, as we are only a few days from June, there were already people whose mindset was already set on ‘summer’.

While I was glad I’d packed a fleece to shove on under my windproof jacket, a few were already wandering the esplanade in shorts and bare feet!

Although none were braving the water (I remember how cold it was when I was a kid, and have never gone back in since), a few were already in ‘holiday mode’ and playing in the sand.

Ayr beach 28 May

Ayr beach 28 May

Since I was suitably ‘well wrapped’ I decided to wander out to the end of the pier, and the lighthouse.

Ayr Pier Lighthouse

Ayr Pier Lighthouse

It was pretty windy out there.

But – the locals had recently had a wee party in the sheltered area below the light.

Sardines and beer. Lovely 🙂

Ayr pier sardines and beer

Ayr pier sardines and beer

The coastguard observation tower was abandoned years ago, I’m almost surprised it has survived to this day and not been demolished by some local councillor wanting to score a few ‘Brownie Point’ for being brave, and removing a poor, defenceless ‘eyesore’.

As a tiny, I always wanted to see inside that tower – not happening now.

Believe it or not, you will find this structure described online as a ‘lighthouse’ on web sites selling stock photos!

I was out of circulation when the black rectangle was installed near the tower, so don’t know how old it is.

The oldest pic I’ve dug up so far dates from 2006, when it looked smarter than it does today. It’s some sort of coal monument or marker (I should have read the story given nearby, but didn’t as my runny nose was getting to be too irritating in the wind off the sea), made of coal dust mixed with resin.

It’s beginning to show its age, and is breaking up. Salty sea air and coastal weather is good at doing that.

Old observation tower and coal art

Old observation tower and coal art

I came back with a surprising haul of pics, so there may be more posts from this ‘chance’ outing.

28/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ding Dong! The Beast is Dead!

I was putting together some notes elsewhere, and happened to collate some of the data from my own weather station.

I’d been waiting to see what the wind direction looked liked before, during, and after The Beast from East had done its thing and made the past couple of weeks downright miserable for some.

My own gripe was how it somehow manages to inflict a heft dose of various varieties of cold and flu on me virtually the first day it hit – before the media started to report on it.

These symptoms stayed with me for the entire period (and are still lingering) which meant I didn’t even get the chance to go out for a little wander and get some endearing snow-covered pics. All I got was the opportunity to look at others.

Anyway, the plot below shows our usual prevailing westerly wind at the start of February, around 250 degrees or so, and how it changed firmly to an easterly, around 50 degrees, and has now left that behind and is returning the west, as usually driven by the Jet Stream.

Ignore the random scatter, this is just a side effect of calmer spells with little or no wind, when the wind direction sensor just flops around aimlessly with any odd gust.

Beastly Wind Direction

Beastly Wind Direction

08/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

The Isle of Bute didn’t avoid the bad weather this time around

I’ve been looking outside for the past few days and counting myself and my neighbours to be lucky, for once.

In the storms and gales that have arrived over the past few years, I’ve seen many walls blown over, bricks and tiles ripped off roofs, and anything light (such as a felt-covered roof) being torn loose and carried away, never to be seen again. Last year saw many trees blown over to, with some landing on nearby houses.

This year, even though I have watched some alarming leaning and bending by some structures, I’ve yet to see the same sort of thing repeated. So far, all I have come across is some hefty branches ripped off tall trees, and they looked weakened by disease or decay. Part of this I put down to the number of repairs and renewals made after the damage of past years, but I still think we’ve been lucky, and the hills around Glasgow have sheltered us – this time.

Less fortunate of areas near me seems to have been the coastal areas of the Firth of Clyde, and after some hearing some descriptions of local damage in the area, got to see the sort of damage that the Isle of Bute suffered. While it has not escaped completely in recent years, it often seems to get off lightly, and when I used to take a jaunt over at Christmas and Hogmanay, was often surprised at just how nice it could be there, even though it was only a few miles away from ‘home,’, where things were not so cosy.

Click on the first picture below, which shows damage to the unfortunate roof of one of Rothesay’s fine ornate tenement buildings on East Princes Street, to see a gallery of the damage done on January 3, 2011.

Duncan's roof

Damaged tenement roof, January 2011 © Zak


Updated pic by Zak showing the hidden side of the damage caught in the pic above:

Duncan's roof

Damaged tenement roof, January 2011 © Zak

And finally…

I’m pleased to see that the (presumably) last pic in this series confirmed my location of the unfortunate roof shown above (which was not really difficult):

Duncans roof

Damaged tenement, January 2011 © Zak


I noticed another pic that perhaps serves to convey how serious things were, not only on the island itself, but (as I was informed by others) anywhere in this particular corner of Argyll and  Bute served by the same electrical supply.

Heavy winds knocked out the supply from  about 7 am on the 3rd until about 1 am on the 4th!

Below is a pic Zak took of a snack bar ferried over from the mainland to provide hot meals on the 3rd.

Bad as things were, seeing this is actually a good thing as it meant the weather had subsided, and the island was not suffering the additional hard of being cut off from the mainland by the high winds, which can force the ferries to stay in port because of the risks involved with going to sea.

Bute storm snacks

Snack bar ferried from the mainland, January 2011 © Zak

05/01/2012 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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