Mink are dark-colored, carnivorous mammals of the genera Neovison and Mustela, part of the family Mustelidae which includes weasels and ferrets. There are two extant species referred to as "mink": the European mink; the extinct sea mink was much larger. The American mink is larger and more adaptable than the European mink but, due to variations in size, an individual mink cannot be determined as European or American with certainty without looking at the skeleton. Taxonomically, both American and European mink were placed in the same genus Mustela, but most the American mink has been reclassified as belonging to its own genus Neovison; the American mink's fur has been prized for use in clothing, with hunting giving way to farming. Their treatment on fur farms has been a focus of animal welfare activism. American mink have established populations in Europe and South America, after being released from mink farms by animal rights activists, or otherwise escaping from captivity. In the UK, under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to release mink into the wild.
In some countries, any live mink caught in traps must be humanely killed. American mink are believed by some to have contributed to the decline of the less hardy European mink through competition. Trapping is used to eliminate introduced American mink populations. Mink oil is used in some medical products and cosmetics, as well as to treat and waterproof leather. European mink Mustela lutreola American mink Neovison vison Sea mink Neovison macrodon The male weighs about 1 kg and is about 62 cm in length. Farm bred; the female reaches a length of about 51 cm. The sizes above do not include the tail. A mink's rich glossy coat in its wild state is brown and looks silky, but farm-bred mink can vary from white to black, reflected in the British wild mink, their pelage is deep, rich brown, with or without white spots on the underparts, consists of a slick, dense underfur overlaid with dark, glossy stiff guard hairs. The breeding season ends in March. Mink show the curious phenomenon of delayed implantation.
Although the true gestation period is 39 days, the embryo may stop developing for a variable period, so that as long as 76 days may elapse before the litter arrives. Between 45 and 52 days is normal. There is only one litter per year, they may have between 10 kits per litter. Litters as large as 16 have been recorded in fur farms, though they are rare. Mink are kept in captivity for the production of their fur, they are kept in battery cages and exhibit stereotypies. These abnormal, repetitive behaviours increase near their feeding time pacing and cage biting, both of which are thought to be the captive equivalent of hunting by the mink. Stereotypies have been noted to increase during human presence. To attempt to eliminate stereotypies in captive mink, the National Farm Animal Care Council has implemented regulations on incorporating environmental enrichments into mink cages. Enrichments are pen-related alterations or the addition of novel objects to improve the mink's physical and psychological health.
Enrichments may help reduce the onset of stereotypies, but decrease or eliminate them. Because of this, enrichments should be introduced early in life as a preventive measure; the National Farm Animal Care Council stated that ‘juvenile female pastel mink raised with access to a nest box performed fewer stereotypies from mid-September to late October than those without access to a nest box.’ Due to this, mink have access year round to a nest box and spend the majority of their time resting within. Thus, the availability and quality of the nest box play a large role in the prevention of stereotypies and a role in the animals' welfare; the maximum lifespan of a mink is around ten years, but exceed three years in the wild. Mink prey on fish and other aquatic life, small mammals and eggs. Mink raised on farms eat expired cheese, fish and poultry slaughterhouse byproducts, dog food, turkey livers, as well as prepared commercial foods. A farm with 3,000 mink may use as much as two tons of food per day.
In all, US mink farms use about 200,000 tons of dairy products. Great horned owls, foxes, coyotes and humans are all natural predators of mink. Mink are hunted to protect the fish population in lakes and rivers, but are becoming endangered because of this, they are trapped for their fur. Mink like to live near water and are found far from riverbanks and marshes; when roaming, they tend to follow streams and ditches. Sometimes they leave the water altogether for a few hundred meters when looking for rabbits, one of their favorite foods. In some places in Scotland and in Iceland, where they have become a problem, they live along the seashore. Sometimes they live in towns. Mink may be present at all hours when people are nearby. Mink are territorial animals. A male mink will not tolerate anothe
Twechar is a small former mining village in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland close to the boundary with North Lanarkshire. It lies between the larger towns of Cumbernauld and Kirkintilloch; the Forth and Clyde Canal runs close to the village to the north, follows the line of the Antonine Wall. There are visible remains of the wall on Bar Hill and the Roman Fort is a local tourist attraction; the etymology of the name is ‘causeway or pavement’. Several old documents show Twechar with various spellings including maps by Charles Ross, William Roy. There is a long history of mining activity in the Twechar locality but it was not until the coming of William Baird & Co. to the area, about 1860, that a close-knit mining community was created. Before that time Shirva was described as having the best farm land in the parish. Several tombstones from a possible Roman Cemetery were found at Shirva House. A legionary slab was discovered. Pits were sunk at Twechar and Gartshore and a row of workers' houses was built on the south bank of the Forth and Clyde canal, just east of Twechar Bridge.
The coal mining industry begun by the Bairds in the 1860s lasted for just over a century. Twechar No.1 Pit, on the north bank of the canal to the east of Twechar Bridge, closed in 1964, while Gartshore 9/11, the last colliery in the area, was shut down in 1968. Thereafter some Twechar men travelled each day to collieries such as Bedlay and Cardowan in Lanarkshire, until they too were closed, during the early 1980s. Baird & Co. provided rail connections to their local pits at an early date but for many years much of their coal was transported to market by canal boat. During the 1860s the canal company permitted Baird & Co. to place a railway swing bridge over the canal, a short distance to the west of Twechar road bridge, for the purpose of forming a connection between collieries on either side of the canal. As part of the deal the coal company agreed to transport a proportion of its coal by canal although this requirement lapsed early in the twentieth century. However, the swing bridge continued in use until the mid-1960s, its hand-winding apparatus having been made redundant on 1 January 1963, when the canal closed.
The original housing provided by William Baird & Co soon proved inadequate and around 1880 the Barrhill Rows were constructed at right angles to Main Street, on its western side. At first there were four rows, supplemented by two more about 1900, by which date the total number of dwellings in the rows was 160; the row nearest the canal included a Gartsherrie Co-operative shop and accordingly was known as the'Store Row'. The houses had no sanitation and were lit by paraffin lamps. Communal wash houses were provided at intervals along each row. Most of the houses were of the two-apartment variety. A great improvement was made in 1925, when Baird & Co. provided good quality modern housing for their mine workers at Burnbrae, Annieston and adjacent streets. There were 200 dwellings in all, some two-apartment and some three-apartment, built in two-story blocks of four, they were provided with electric lighting. When these houses were built the old row on the south bank of the canal was demolished; the Barrhill Rows, lasted until 1957.
The Baird houses of 1925 are being demolished and little remains of Burnbrae, Whitelaw Terrace, Shirva lea and Merryflats. Housing was provided by Dunbartonshire County Council at MacDonald Crescent, Alexander Avenue and Kelvin View. In the 2001 census, the population was recorded as 1,363, a drop of over 9% from the previous census in 1991; the village had its own secondary education in Twechar School until secondary schools in Cumbernauld and Kirkintilloch opened and secondary age pupils were sent by bus to these schools. Pupils from Twechar Primary now go on to further education at the new state of the art Kirkintilloch High School; the Roman Catholic children are taught at St Agathas in Kirkintilloch for their primary and the new St Ninian's High School, Kirkintilloch for their secondary education. The primary school has an estimate of 70-90 pupils; the reopening of the Forth & Clyde Canal, in May 2001, brought with it great opportunities for the development of Twechar, which lies close to the canal's half-way point.
The village is undergoing a regeneration, EDC and private enterprise have put forward proposals to build 200+ new houses, older housing stock in the "National Coal Board" scheme will be demolished from late 2007 onwards if the plan goes ahead. Newer small business units have been built in the small enterprise park opposite the war memorial, an application for new housing has been raised with the council for new housing next to Kelvin View; as of February 2012, residents have been moving into their new homes at the new Kelvin View housing site near the top end of Davison Crescent, the tenants seem happy with their new homes. Various new walkways have been made, in and around the village and the glen; the local leisure centre has undergone an expensive renovation and has been re-titled " The Twechar healthy living and enterprise centre." There is a pharmacy run by M & D Green Dispensing Chemists Ltd. Negotiations to obtain a GP have been ongoing for some time. An area to the rear of the former Masonic Hall has been developed for boating purposes on the canal, a slipway and floating pontoon are in-situ there will be a community canal boat in place in the near future.
There is a Church of Scotland congregation, Twechar Parish Church, which shares a minister with Banton. The Ro
The River Clyde is a river that flows into the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. It is the eighth-longest river in the United Kingdom, the second-longest in Scotland. Traveling through the major city of Glasgow, it was an important river for shipbuilding and trade in the British Empire. To the Romans, it was Clota, in the early medieval Cumbric language, it was known as Clud or Clut, was central to the Kingdom of Strathclyde; the Clyde is formed by the confluence of the Daer Water and the Potrail Water. The Southern Upland Way crosses both streams before they meet at Watermeetings to form the River Clyde proper. At this point, the Clyde is only 10 km from Tweed's Well, the source of the River Tweed, is near Annanhead Hill, the source of the River Annan. From there, it meanders northeastward before turning to the west, its flood plain used for many major roads in the area, until it reaches the town of Lanark. On the banks of the Clyde, the industrialists David Dale and Robert Owen built their mills and the model settlement of New Lanark.
The mills harness the power of the Falls of Clyde, the most spectacular of, Cora Linn. A hydroelectric power station still generates electricity here, although the mills are now a museum and World Heritage Site. Between the towns of Motherwell and Hamilton, the course of the river has been altered to create an artificial loch within Strathclyde Park. Part of the original course can still be seen, lies between the island and the east shore of the loch; the river flows through Blantyre and Bothwell, where the ruined Bothwell Castle stands on a defensible promontory. Past Uddingston and into the southeast of Glasgow, the river begins to widen, meandering a course through Cambuslang and Dalmarnock. Flowing past Glasgow Green, the river is artificially straightened and widened through the centre, although the new Clyde Arc now hinders access to the traditional Broomielaw dockland area, seagoing ships can still come upriver as far as Finnieston, where the PS Waverley docks. From there, it flows past the shipbuilding heartlands, through Govan, Whiteinch and Clydebank, all of which housed major shipyards, of which only two remain.
The river flows out west of Glasgow, past Renfrew, under the Erskine Bridge past Dumbarton on the north shore to the sandbank at Ardmore Point between Cardross and Helensburgh. Opposite, on the south shore, the river continues past the last Lower Clyde shipyard at Port Glasgow to Greenock, where it reaches the Tail of the Bank as the river merges into the Firth of Clyde. A significant issue of oxygen depletion in the water column has occurred at the mouth of the River Clyde; the valley of the Clyde was the focus for the G-BASE project from the British Geological Survey in the summer of 2010. The success of the Clyde at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution was driven by the location of Glasgow, being a port facing the Americas. Tobacco and cotton trade began the drive in the early 18th century. However, the shallow Clyde was not navigable for the largest ocean-going ships, so cargo had to be transferred at Greenock or Port Glasgow to smaller ships to sail upstream into Glasgow itself. In 1768, John Golborne advised the narrowing of the river and the increasing of the scour by the construction of rubble jetties and the dredging of sandbanks and shoals.
A particular problem was the division of the river into two shallow channels by the Dumbuck shoal near Dumbarton. After James Watt's report on this in 1769, a jetty was constructed at Longhaugh Point to block off the southern channel; this being insufficient, a training wall called the Lang Dyke was built in 1773 on the Dumbuck shoal to stop water flowing over into the southern channel. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, hundreds of jetties were built out from the banks between Dumbuck and the Broomielaw quay in Glasgow itself. In some cases, this resulted in an immediate deepening as the constrained water flow washed away the river bottom. In the mid-19th century, engineers took on a much greater dredging of the Clyde, removing millions of cubic feet of silt to deepen and widen the channel; the major stumbling block in the project was a massive geological intrusion known as Elderslie Rock. As a result, the work was not completed until the 1880s. At this time, the Clyde became an important source of inspiration for artists, such as John Atkinson Grimshaw and James Kay, willing to depict the new industrial era and the modern world.
The completion of the dredging was well-timed. Shipbuilding replaced trade as the major activity on the river, shipbuilding companies were establishing themselves on the river. Soon, the Clyde gained a reputation for being the best location for shipbuilding in the British Empire, grew to become the world's pre-eminent shipbuilding centre. Clydebuilt became an industry benchmark of quality, the river's shipyards were given contracts for prestigious ocean-going liners, as well as warships, including the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth 2 in years, all built in the town of Clydebank. From the founding of the Scott family's shipyard at Greenock in 1712 to the present day, over 25,000 ships have been built on the River Clyde and its Firth and on the tributary River Kelvin and River Cart together with boatyards at Maryhill and Kirkintilloch on the Forth & Clyde Canal and Blackhill on the Monkland Canal. In the same time, an estimated over 300 firms have engaged in shipbuilding on Clydeside
The Glasgow Subway is an underground rapid transit line in Glasgow, Scotland. Opened on 14 December 1896, it is the third-oldest underground metro system in the world after the London Underground and the Budapest Metro, it is one of the few railways in the world with a track running gauge of 4 ft. Formerly a cable railway, the Subway was electrified, but its twin circular lines were never expanded; the line was known as the Glasgow District Subway, but was renamed Glasgow Subway Railway. It was so called when taken over by the Glasgow Corporation who renamed it the Glasgow Underground in 1936. Despite this rebranding, many Glaswegians continued to refer to the network as "the Subway". In 2003 the name "Subway" was readopted by its operator, the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. A £40,000 study examining the feasibility of an expansion into the city's south side was conducted in 2005 while a further commitment from Labour in 2007 to extend to the East End was to no avail; the system is not the oldest underground railway in Glasgow: that distinction belongs to a 3.1 mi section of the Glasgow City and District Railway opened in 1863, now part of the North Clyde Line of the suburban railway network, which runs in a sub-surface tunnel under the city centre between High Street and west of Charing Cross.
Another major section of underground suburban railway line in Glasgow is the Argyle Line, part of the Glasgow Central Railway. The Subway runs from 06:30 to 23:40 Monday to 10:00 to 18:12 on Sunday; the route is a loop 6.5 miles long and extends both north and south of the River Clyde. The tracks have the unusual narrow gauge of 4 ft, a nominal tunnel diameter of 11 feet smaller than that of the deep-level lines of the London Underground; the system is described as two lines, the Outer Circle and Inner Circle, but this refers to the double track, having trains running clockwise and anticlockwise around the same route although in separate tunnels. Stations use a variety of platform layouts including single island platforms, opposing side platforms and in some stations such as Hillhead one side and one island platform; the subway's running lines are underground, but the maintenance depot at Broomloan Road is above ground, as was the earlier depot at Govan. Prior to modernisation, trains used to be hoisted by crane off the tracks.
Modernisation brought the installation of points and a ramp between Govan and Ibrox where trains can exit the tunnel system to terminate for engineering, cleaning or storage. The system is owned and operated by the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport Strathclyde Passenger Transport, carried 13.16 million passengers in the period 2005–06. The Subway has been policed by British Transport Police since 2007; the Glasgow District Subway Company began construction of the underground in 1891 and opened on 14 December 1896, the subway was powered by a clutch-and-cable system, with one cable for each direction. The Assistant Engineer for the project was William Tait; the cable was driven from a steam-powered plant between West Shields Road stations. There was no additional cable to allow trains to reach the depot; this meant that the two tracks could be separate, with no points anywhere. The company's headquarters were in the upper rooms at St Enoch subway station; when the Subway first opened, single-carriage four axle trains were operated.
Late in the evening on the opening day, after 11 pm, one car laden with 60 passengers was run into by another under the River Clyde. Four people were injured, one being taken to the infirmary; this entailed the closure of the Subway until 19 January 1897. The 20 original wooden bodied carriages were built by the Oldbury Railway Carriage and Wagon Company, of Oldbury, Worcestershire. Many continued in service until 1977 in an upgraded form. A further 10 were delivered by the same manufacturer in 1897. From 1898, second four axle carriages without a cable gripper mechanism were added, though they were shorter than the front carriage; these additional carriages numbering 30, were built by Hurst Nelson & Company, Lanarkshire. These carriages were soon expanded to match the length of the front carriages, although carriage 41T has been restored to its original length and cut longitudinally and number 39T is preserved in the Riverside Museum. Most of the gripper carriages were subsequently converted to electric traction in 1935.
All carriages were built with lattice gates at the ends. All 15 stations were built with island platforms; the trains were thus built with doors on one side only. Power for the electric lighting in the trains was supplied by two parallel wall-mounted rails at window level on the non-platform side of the trains; the trains remained cable-hauled until 1935, though the anachronistic way of supplying power for the lighting continued until 1977. The lighting circuit was part of the operation of the signalling system. Opening times of the Gla
Banton, North Lanarkshire
Banton is a small village situated near Kilsyth in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. The Covenanter army under General William Baillie formed near Banton for their engagement with the Royalist forces under the command of Montrose at the Battle of Kilsyth on August 15, 1645. In 1767, William Cadell, the original managing partner of the Carron Company, bought the Banton estate and its ironstone field. A church was built in Banton when Dr. Burns of Kilsyth encouraged Archibald Edmonstone, William Cadell, Daniel Lusk and William Campbell each to contribute 50 guineas to the scheme; the school and schoolmaster's house were built around the same time. The first preacher at the church was Mr. J. Lyon. Banton centred on at area known today as High Banton. Farming and mining were the main historic industries. Banton called Low Banton had a "lappet & muslin manufactory". J & P Wilson's weaving mill was lasted over 100 years, it is now the headquarters of J. B. Bennett Ltd. of Glasgow who had a 19th century business.
The coal field stretched from Croy to about 3 miles north-east of Low Banton. Robert Rennie reported about 60 people working the mines in the 18th century. Other historical employers were a sickle work, a paper mill, a brick and tile work. There was a straw and mill board maker; the Townhead Reservoir known as Banton Loch, is about 1 mile west of the village. This was built as a feeder loch for the Clyde canal. A fishing club uses the loch. Banton had two curling clubs but the loch is only safe in the severest winters. There has been some discussion about the source of the River Kelvin; some mention Dullatur Bog as a source. A source close to the old Lammerknowes Farm has been photographed, it is south-east corner of the village. Nearby Kelvinhead takes its name as the source of Glasgow's river which joins the Clyde at Yorkhill Basin; the village is small, with few local amenities. It had a shop until 2011, but no post office since this closed in 2010. There remains a pub-restaurant: The Swan Inn; this was bought by People United for Banton in 2017.
The village has a local primary school, a church and a bowling green. There are several businesses in the village; the A803 runs south of the village. This allows travel to Kilsyth and Glasgow to the west and runs past Linlithgow to the east although it provided access the M80 at Haggs long before then; the village is about 1⁄2 mile due north-west of the Kelvinhead junction. An hourly bus service connecting Falkirk, Larbert, Banknock with Kilsyth is operated from Monday to Saturday by First Midland Bluebird. Aerial photographs
The common chaffinch known as the chaffinch, is a common and widespread small passerine bird in the finch family. The male is brightly coloured with rust-red underparts; the female is much duller in colouring, but both sexes have two contrasting white wing bars and white sides to the tail. The male bird sings from exposed perches to attract a mate; the chaffinch breeds across Asia to Siberia and in northwest Africa. The female builds a nest with a deep cup in the fork of a tree; the clutch is four or five eggs, which hatch in about 13 days. The chicks fledge in around 14 days, but are fed by both adults for several weeks after leaving the nest. Outside the breeding season, chaffinches form flocks in open countryside and forage for seeds on the ground. During the breeding season, they forage on trees for invertebrates caterpillars, feed these to their young, they are partial migrants. The eggs and nestlings of the chaffinch are taken by a variety of avian predators, its large numbers and huge range mean that chaffinches are classed as of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The chaffinch was described by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae under its current binomial name. Fringilla is the Latin word for a finch, while caelebs means single. Linnaeus remarked that during the Swedish winter, only the female birds migrated south through Belgium to Italy; the English name comes from the Old English ceaffinc, where ceaf is "chaff" and finc "finch". Chaffinches were given this name because after farmers thresh their crops, these birds sometimes spend weeks picking through heaps of discarded chaff for grain; the chaffinch is one of the many birds depicted in the marginal decoration of the 15th century English illuminated manuscript the Sherborne Missal. The English naturalist William Turner described the chaffinch in his book on birds published in 1544. Although the text is in Latin, Turner gives the English name as chaffinche and lists two folk names: sheld-appel and spink; the word sheld is a dialectal word meaning multicoloured.
Appel may be related to an obsolete word for a bullfinch. The name spink is derived from the bird's call note; the names spink and shell apple are among the many folk names listed for the chaffinch by Reverend Charles Swainson in his Provincial Names and Folk Lore of British Birds. The Fringillidae are all seed-eaters with stout conical bills, they have nine large primaries, 12 tail feathers and no crop. In all species, the female builds the nest, incubates the eggs, broods the young. Finches are divided into two subfamilies, the Carduelinae, containing around 28 genera with 141 species and the Fringillinae containing a single genus, with three species: the chaffinch, the Tenerife blue chaffinch, the brambling. Fringilline finches raise their young entirely on arthropods, while the cardueline finches raise their young on regurgitated seeds. A number of subspecies of the chaffinch have been described based principally on the differences in the pattern and colour of the adult male plumage. Subspecies can be divided into three groups: the "coelebs group" that occurs in Europe and Asia, the "spondiogenys group" in North Africa, the "canariensis group" on the Canary Islands.
The subspecies from Madeira and the Azores are placed either in the "canariensis group" or in the "spondiogenys group". Genetic studies indicate that members of the "coelebs group" and the "spondiogenys group" are more related to each other than they are to members of the "canariensis group". Within the "spondiogenys group", the gradual clinal variation over the large geographic range and the extensive intergradation means that the geographical limits and acceptance of the various subspecies varies between authorities; the International Ornithologists' Union lists 11 subspecies from this group, whereas Peter Clement in the Handbook of Birds of the World lists seven and considers the features of the subspecies balearica, caucasica and tyrrhenica to fall within the variation of the nominate subspecies. He suggests that the subspecies alexandrovi, sarda and syriaca may represent variations of the nominate subspecies; the authors of a 2009 molecular phylogenetic study on the three subspecies that were recognised on the Canary Islands concluded that they are sufficiently distinct in both genotype and phenotype to be considered as separate species within the genus Fringilla.
They proposed a revised distribution of subspecies on the islands in which the birds on La Palma and El Hierro are grouped together as a single subspecies while the current canariensis subspecies is split into two with one subspecies occurring only on Gran Canaria and the other on La Gomera and Tenerife. The results of a study published in 2018 confirmed the earlier findings; the authors described the Gran Canaria variety as a subspecies and coined the trinomial name Fringilla coelebs bakeri. Coelebs groupF. C. alexandrovi Zarudny, 1916 – northern Iran F. c. caucasica Serebrovski, 1925 – Balkans and northern Greece to northern Turkey and eastern Caucasus and northwestern Iran F. c. coelebs Linnaeus, 1758 – Eurasia, from western Europe and Asia Minor to Siberia F. c. balearica von Jordans, 1923 – Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands F