Battle Burn

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Re: Battle Burn

Postby Glesga_Steve » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:34 am

I had a look at the project info today. Actually, I should say I had a look at a small proportion of it - there's hundreds, if not thousands, of files to plough through and I just don't have the time (or patience) to go through it all during my lunch break.

I managed to create the below plans using a specialist mapping programme we use and some of the compatible files that I found in the project folder. Ignore the line nearer the top of the plans as that's the Tollcross Burn.

Red lines are culverted sections; blue lines are open sections (I won't bother pointing out the obvious error :roll:).

Full route
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Section from Sandyhills Golf Course to Barrachnie Park
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This route was identified by GCC and, as you can see, it corresponds with my understanding of the line of the burn. I couldn't, however, find anything among the project info that shed any light on whether or not the upper part (i.e. generally upstream of the bowling/tennis club) of the identified route has been established/verified through site surveys.
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby Icecube » Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:52 pm

I've been doing a bit of digging and have noticed that not only does the GCC plan - of where they think the burn comes from - follow the old parish boundaries it also coincides with the western boundary of the old Mount Vernon Drainage District of the late 19th. and early 20th centuries - though it could be equally argued that these same boundaries could have followed an existing feature like a burn but I don't think so in this case.

Look at these images of the area from the NLS which has no specific date but are from the 1858 survey with later additions inserted.

First one is of the alleged source of the Battle Burn on the western edge of present day Barrachnie sports fields. Notice the abbreviation TkF which I have highlighted. That abbreviation used at that time by the O.S. [a list of which are on the NLS website/zoomable OS maps page] stands for 'Track of fence'. The other highlighted abb. is R.H. which stands for 'Root of hedge' - both of which are physical field boundary markers.

Image

The next image is of an area of Mount Vernon about 300m S.W. of the previous location. At this place there was a coal pit [Mount Vernon No.9] and although it appears as 'Old Coal Pit' it was a working pit. To the right of the pit the abbreviation for 'Root of hedge' can be seen but to the left [west] we see another called C.S. - this meant 'Centre of stream'. That suggests to me that the stream or rivulet called the Battle Burn originated in that particular location - this is confirmed by an estate plan of the area surveyed in 1861 in which this water course is referred to as a 'water pan' - which suggests it was used by the colliery to run off waste water drawn from the pit.

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The next image is a broader view with the present day route of the burn shown to the S.W.

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There is no reference to C.S. in the present day area west of the Barrachnie sports fields by the first surveyors and it would be unimaginable for a land owner to culvert a burn that was draining his fields so there can't have been one there at all.
I think historical errors have been compounded in that boundaries have been assumed to be the line of a water course and that the burn most likely has its ancient origins around the Central Avenue area of modern Mount Vernon.
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby Glesga_Steve » Sun Aug 02, 2009 2:44 am

I'm not in a position where I can say that you're wrong and GCC are right (or vice-versa, as I'm still open to both possibilities). If I was asked to state who I think is most likely to be right I think I’d possibly side with you at the moment, however I don’t think the case for the opposite view has been defeated as yet. To show what I mean, I thought I'd make a few points to challenge your argument/logic.

I've been doing a bit of digging and have noticed that not only does the GCC plan - of where they think the burn comes from - follow the old parish boundaries

I think historical errors have been compounded in that boundaries have been assumed to be the line of a water course

The original line of the burn followed the old parish boundary, however the GCC indicated culvert route doesn't. In fact, through the residential area of Mount Vernon the culvert route noticeably deviates from the boundary. I could demonstrate this more accurately if I was at work so I could access our GIS, however to give a rough indication of this I have added (by hand as a lime green line) the old parish boundary (as identified on the OS 1864 published plan) to one of the plans I posted previously.

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Your theory re the identified burn line being the result of such historical errors would seem well founded if the GCC identified route still followed the old parish boundary. As it clearly doesn’t though, how do you account for the variation in the line?

Let us assume for a moment that GCC are correct and also that the burn did originally follow the parish boundary all the way up to Barrachnie Park. It could be suggested that, through the older part of Mount Vernon (i.e. in the general vicinity of the bowling/tennis club), it appears as though the burn was culverted along a route that enabled the construction of houses on the land that it previously flowed through. Alterations such as this have been (and still are – a recent example being the diversion of the Tollcross Burn for the ongoing Barratt development next to Easterhouse train station) fairly common practice (with both natural and man-made drainage) over the last couple of centuries and this is a plausible explanation for the variation in the line of the burn.

Another issue to consider is that GCC (or any local authority for that matter) wouldn’t acknowledge the presence of a culverted watercourse unless they had very good reason to believe it existed. I know through personal experience that local authorities will steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that a previously uncharted ‘conduit’ is a culverted watercourse without strong evidence to prove as much. This is in part due to common law, which places responsibilities upon riparian owners of watercourses, whether they be open or culverted (e.g. GCC are responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of any culvert passing beneath land they own, such as highways or parks) and legislation that places flood prevention duties on local authorities (e.g. they have a duty to undertake any reasonable work that is necessary to prevent watercourse flooding of non-agricultural land).

There is no reference to C.S. in the present day area west of the Barrachnie sports fields by the first surveyors…

The absence of any clear reference to, or indication of, a burn in any given area is by no means conclusive evidence that a burn didn’t (or doesn’t) exist. Hedges (as I’m sure you are aware) were/are a very common field/property boundary marker feature, however it was also common for hedge lines to follow watercourses (and ditches, field drains, etc) - I’ve seen many instances on old plans where the boundary line features changed from being the centre of a stream to the root of a hedge and back again several times. You don’t even have to go far downstream on this very burn for an example of this, as is shown in the below images.

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Section 1
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Section 2
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Section 3
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This type of scenario is replicated further downstream on the Battles Burn and on many other watercourses/old boundaries across the country.

I believe the 1861 estate plan that you referred to shows that the line of the ‘water pan’ continued east past the pit (and the last boundary line marker related to the centre of the stream) and actually followed at least part of the ‘roof of hedge’ section of the parish boundary line.

I’d suggest the above possibly negates this element of your argument or at the very least provides substantial reason for doubt as to its validity.

…and it would be unimaginable for a land owner to culvert a burn that was draining his fields so there can't have been one there at all.

I can appreciate the general reasoning of why it would seem your view on this makes sense, however you’ve made a broadly sweeping statement as though it’s a matter of fact. Although such scenarios weren’t particularly common, I can assure you that it isn’t as unimaginable as you might think. I’ll give a couple of examples that I believe demonstrate this.

Not too long ago, I was involved in the investigation of a flooding problem in the Spittal area of Rutherglen, at a point right on the Glasgow/South Lanarkshire local authority boundary. I don’t want to post sensitive information (for reasons that I’m sure everyone can understand) so I won’t go into specific detail – basically, during heavy storm conditions, some properties were suffering severe and repeated flooding for unknown reason. The affected properties were on the South Lanarkshire side of the boundary but the floodwater was coming from the Glasgow side and flowing overland towards them. The local authorities made a joint request for the assistance of Scottish Water in determining the cause of the problem.

I spoke to some of the affected residents and this revealed that the floodwater was believed to be surcharging from a surface water conduit (I say conduit as its legal status is still being debated) at the bottom of Castlemilk Drive. Our records only showed the downstream line of this conduit up to the local authority boundary (they still do actually so this has just reminded me to get them updated!) so we didn’t know where it was discharging to. I therefore took a walk along the nearby Cityford Burn (in the expectation of finding a piped outlet to it) and this resulted in my identifying what appeared to be an uncharted culverted tributary of stone cundy type construction.

Cityford Burn
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Initial background checks/discussions revealed that all three parties were unaware of the existence of a tributary at this location. I therefore arranged a dye test of the conduit and this revealed that (i) there seemed to be an unusually large dry weather flow (DWF) through it (the preceding few days had been very warm and dry) and (ii) it was discharging to the Cityford Burn via the cundy (incidentally, the flow through its outfall seemed much clearer in appearance than is generally the case with surface water discharges arising from storm run-off from highways and roofs).

A review of old OS plans and archived development drainage drawings of the Castlemilk/Spittal area failed to reveal any indication of a tributary (culverted or otherwise) at this point so we decided to carry out a CCTV survey of the conduit and cundy. We didn’t get very far downstream from the conduit (I won’t say why but you can probably guess) but we did manage to make reasonable upstream progress from the cundy outfall (we had to construct a couple of access chambers on it to enable this though). The below images show the approx surveyed line of the cundy as far as the point we reached.

Looking north
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Looking south
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It’s evident that the uncharted nature of this cundy resulted in the construction of at least a few dwellings over the top of it – this simply wouldn’t have been allowed to happen if the authorities had known it existed. It’s not unheard of for structures to be built over, or close to, culverts or sewers, but this is only permitted where diversion of them would be at unreasonable cost and they are of sufficient depth – in many cases protective measures (e.g. concrete surround of the length being built over) also have to be implemented before construction is allowed. In this case, however, we have residential buildings over a stone-built cundy of significant age and unknown structural integrity – I’m glad I don’t live there!

As I mentioned above, none of the old plans we reviewed contained any indication of a watercourse on the line of this cundy or even anything to suggest that there was a confluence at its outfall point to the Cityford Burn. Most of the reviewed plans far pre-dated the development of this area so it seems certain that this cundy would have been constructed through rural land (probably of agricultural use).

The below image is an extract of an 1864 OS plan, on which I have roughly annotated the surveyed line of the cundy. As you can see, other than my annotation there is no indication of a watercourse on this line. At the time of our investigations, I speculated that one of the lines shown to the south-west may have been an upstream stretch of a small watercourse that passed through the cundy, however there’s no other evidence to substantiate this.

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My second example is (you will be glad to hear) far shorter.

This involves another flooding investigation I was involved in not too long ago – this time a bit further afield in Scone, Perthshire. During the course of our investigations we looked into the background of a burn called the Catmoor Den – see the below images.

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Annotated aerial view
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This burn is clearly indicated on both old and current OS plans (I don’t have a current one prepared unfortunately), is of a fair size and conveys a significant DWF (even in the area of its upper reaches where we were undertaking investigations).

Both old and current plans only show the line of the burn up to Stormont Road though. North of the road, there is absolutely no indication of its uppermost reaches (or origins) on any plan that I’ve seen to date. This wouldn’t be unusual if it was a very small watercourse but, as I’ve already said, it carries a large DWF. In short, I believe that the same scenario exists here as did in the first example – i.e. culverting of a watercourse through rural/agricultural land for unknown reasons.

The annotated aerial view shows the line of the existing open section of the burn and a part south of Stormont Road that was later culverted to enable a residential development. We discovered during the course of our investigations that very little flow comes from the point where the burn appeared from beneath the road. Practically all of the DWF now arrives via the outfall pipe of the surface water drainage that serves the residential area to the north of Stormont Road. It is worth pointing out that the main surface water drain within this residential area is inordinately large for the area it serves – experience suggests to me that it is more than likely the original culvert to the north of Stormont Road was diverted through the ‘new development’ drainage.

What I have tried to demonstrate through the above examples is that rural land owners did, on occasion at least, culvert watercourses that were draining their fields. I don’t know what the reasons for this might have been but I’d suggest one possibility may have been to simply remove a natural barrier. For instance, a farmer may have wished to culvert (or divert) a burn to enable him to combine several fields/areas to maximise cultivation possibilities – the presence of a burn would restrict the area of land you could farm but if you covered it over you could plough and plant right over the top of it.

There is, of course, one way that could be used to find out what GCC know about the Battles Burn – that great enemy of all publicly funded bodies, an FOI Act request. Not sure I want to find out what they know though – I’m kind of enjoying the thread!
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby purplepantman » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:43 am

WOW! There's some top researching going on here! 8O
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby Josef » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:50 am

Indeed. A post that, despite its initially daunting length, actually left me wanting to know more. Well done, that man.
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby Icecube » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:52 am

Terrific post there Steve, baw back in my court I suppose ::): I'd better be off for a day or two and study it. :D
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby Silver_Lining » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:48 pm

Hi Guys,

I live just up the road from Barrachnie park and i'm interested as to where the burn comes from before barrachnie park unless it is formed there. I guess that it doesn't come from the north as this would mean it crossing paths with the tollcross burn in the early braes park. This means it would have to come from around Garrowhill. I remembered seeing this article a while back about street names in Garrowhill. I think the one about Weirwood Ave may be of some interest - http://www.thelocalchannel.co.uk/Garrowhill/page744591.aspx And also the last sentence of Springhill road, at the bottom of the page.

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Re: Battle Burn

Postby Glesga_Steve » Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:46 pm

It's not clear if the Battles Burn goes up as far as Barrachnie Park, however what I will say is that, if it does, I believe that would be its source - I certainly don't believe it ever stretched any further than that.

I've only had a quick read of the link you provided but I believe there are obvious errors contained within it. I don't have time to comment fully right now but what I will say is that any reliance on Blaeu's map (it is barely worthy of being called a map - by modern standards it is a rough sketch) for accuracy is folly of the highest regard. There's no question it is a significant document of its time, however it is littered with mistakes and can be very misleading. I do believe there was a burn in the vicinity of Weirwood Avenue though!

I'll come back to this over the next couple of nights.

I'm sure Icecube is more than capable of picking this up in the meantime.
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby Icecube » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:01 pm

Apologies but no time to add to the thread in the detail required, machine playing up, needs a health check.

I concur with GS though in that Blaue's Atlas [it wasn't his map it was based on Timothy Pont's. Blaue never set foot in Scotland] should be treated with caution as errors seem to have been compounded.
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby Icecube » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:54 am

My initial view on the source as posted in the images by Toomse is that this burn does not and never has originated at the west of the Barrachnie football pitches. I haven’t changed my mind on that. I believe these plans reflect drainage and cannot be assumed to be an real live running burn.

For one thing why would a burn run across which is almost a slope towards the west and the Tollcross burn? That is where any spring in that place would veer towards.

Image
[with thanks to GS for the use of his image]

I’m convinced that the drainage line or culvert to the west of the Barrachnie football pitches is just that and has been extended to join the general system in Mount Vernon. It was either originally dug by Lanarkshire county council when it purchased the land for recreation in the 1950s or it is a relic of the water run/pan from Mount Vernon Pit No.1 which flowed in a northerly and then westerly to outfall into the nearby Tollcross burn. A complete contradiction to the suggestion that the Battle Burn’s source is there.

The following image taken from a plan of 1913 when a new colliery was being sunk near Baillieston House to the east shows the line of a fireclay and a 15ins. iron pipe laid to take colliery waste water from this new pit to outfall into the Tollcross burn. I have circled the place where these culverted pipes crossed the alleged line of the Battle burn. It has to be asked why cross over – or under – an existing burn and go onto another ? A land owner stipulation? Maybe but unlikely as the landowner was a shareholder in the coal company [Mount Vernon Colliery Co.] no, it doesn’t quite add up on that point alone.

Image

It is also noticeable that nowhere beyond the N0.9 colliery is CS noted between any of the O -- O symbols on the OS map of 1858 but only CP [centre punched – whatever that means] and RH for the aforementioned Root of Hedge.

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The line of modern drainage no doubt deviates from a parish line of over 100 years ago, many more houses were built in that part of Mount Vernon inter and post war which increased the size of the place from a couple of streets clustered around and off Carrick Drive.

Here is an image of most of the old Mount Vernon Drainage district c.1899, to the west it followed the parish boundary.

Image

Steve’s excellent contribution includes reference to old and forgotten cundys or drains laid down by farmers to drain or divert water and that remains a possibility but I think it a slim possibility here, still the references and cases cited are an important point to make and at the end of the day he has much experience in these matters.

The answer to the question of the source of this burn may well be found in a booklet of explanatory remarks which was published in 1860 to accompany the first O.S. survey of the area by Major Bayley R.E.
This booklet contains a reference number and brief description of every enclosure of the whole 960 acres featured on the plan. Maps V.II.13. and V.II.14. refer to our area of interest, I have a copy of most of this but not all though I can lay my hands on the booklet again. As luck would have it I have the page relating to part of the alleged source area north of Mount Vernon House – west of the present running track and football pitches.

Image
Also contained on this image is other information which corresponds with the image of the estate plan of 1835 below. Note the actual direction of flow that I've drawn freehand is a bit off track.

I have highlighted the enclosures that I verify from the booklet referring to map V.II.14.

1576 – acres; 8.130 – description; Plantation [present football pitches]

1577 – acres; 5.732 – description; Arable & road [cricket/running track]

1578 – acres; 0668 – description; Plantation & road [ditto]

1579 – acres 0696 - description; Pasture

Image
1835 plan showing coal pit [No.1], settling pond and water from same going north and westerly towards Tollcross burn.

I am missing the pages to the west at the moment so can’t give a description for enclosures, 1165,166,1167 and 1168 but as you can see there is no visible sign of a water course. However I’ll copy the page/s and post the descriptions [images if requested] as soon as possible. If the Battle burn extended as far as the GCC plans suggest then it should be recorded in the booklet as ‘Arable & half of burn’ or similar.

I think the Battle Burn originated at the No.9 pit and that any continuation of it beyond that point is man made but let the debate continue!
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby geezz » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:46 pm

Hi,
I was Just wondering if you would know if anyone would have any objections to the battle burn being filled in by the golf club?
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby Glesga_Steve » Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:36 pm

geezz wrote:Hi,
I was Just wondering if you would know if anyone would have any objections to the battle burn being filled in by the golf club?


By "filled in" I assume you mean culverted?

Culverting is controlled by SEPA under the Controlled Activity Regulations (CAR). They actively discourage it for a number of very good reasons and will refuse permission unless it can be shown that it is absolutely necessary and that reasonable steps will be taken by the applicant to prevent detrimental effects to the natural environment. For further information, click on this link to SEPA's position statement on the culverting of watercourses.

There are a number of other SEPA documents available online that are worth reading on this subject. Go to their website and search for "culvert" or"culverting".

If this is a serious question send me a private message and I'll give you the contact details for a SEPA staff member the golf club could get in touch with to hold preliminary discussions.

Glasgow City Council also has an interest in the culverting of watercourses within its boundaries, particularly from a drainage/flooding point of view, so the golf club would probably also have to engage them in discussions as well (not that it would matter seeing as SEPA won't give permission anyway).

If by "filled in" you meant literally fill in the line of the burn - well, I won't even bother commenting further :x
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby Glasgogirl » Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:12 pm

This thread is giving me goosebumps!

I grew up right next to Barrachnie park.. my mother still lives there today. Her driveway is 10ft or so next to the driveway to the park. I played in the park daily. There was a burn running thru barrachnie park, and if you walk there you'll notice from the carpark walking towards the swings or football pitches you have to cross over it. There used to be a bridge between the oval & the football pitches. Her house is called East Lodge, and there used to still be another lodge down by Hamilton Rd even as I grew up... now there's flats there I believe.
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby Glesga_Steve » Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:56 pm

Glasgogirl wrote:There was a burn running thru barrachnie park, and if you walk there you'll notice from the carpark walking towards the swings or football pitches you have to cross over it. There used to be a bridge between the oval & the football pitches.


I know the little footbridge you mean, though it was over a ditch rather than the burn.

Incidentally, there are no swings there any more - they were done away a LONG time ago.
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Re: Battle Burn

Postby moonbeam » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:45 am

Used to work at Stewarts & Lloyds Tube Works at Tollcross. There was a burn that ran through a culvert
near the entrance to the works. The works had a round-a-bout beyond the offices as you came in.
The culvert cover was on a grassy area near it. From time to time the lab people took samples to see if the tube works was causing pollution to the stream. They took samples here as it entered the works area and somewhere else
after passing through the works.The burn came from the Sandyhills Golf Course area.
The reason mine water was often taken to "other" water courses was that some water from burns was used for drinking and washing. Mine water stained clothes when used for washing due to its high iron content. Hence
you might find references to the "healthy" burn on old maps etc.
Mining villages often had water buts/barrels to collect rain water as it was not polluted.
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