Friday, May 29, 2020


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Germany 1966

It was 1964 ish, Alistair Wallace was looking for  a foreign adventure, his first, and with his dad an ex  King Scout from the 13th Paisley St James Group, he knew that they were going to Germany. So he went .

In 1965 he suggested he take a similar trip with say 6 to 10 Venture Scouts to Germany.  He was eighteen and permission was very slow in coming. He should not have been surprised .

To plan this letters had to written to the German hostels, rail company, boat companies  and wait for a reply . After reply, more questions, more letters, more confirmation of cost, a slow torturous route forward.  After 6 months we had a plan, a 14 day trip to the Rhine by train, boat and bus, £36 was the cost with food and accommodation of course. Would anyone want to go?

Well yes.

So in 1966, Alistair Lang, John Cameron, Glen Thornton, Andrew Barrowman, Alistair Hay, Reid Gilbert, Donald Candlin,   Alistair Wallace and Barry Neith had a picture taken on Clyde Street, Glasgow and off we went .

London, Dover , Paris, Koln, Bonn, Bad Godesberg, Koblenz, St Goarhausen , Mainz, Koln, Paris, London and then Glasgow . No Internet, No Phones, no German language,  no maturity, no experience of the money , No problem . We did it.

The highlights.

Ordered, just chips in the smartest Riverside Restaurant in Cologne. The head chef came out to see who had ordered a plate of chips for 9. He said he would keep sending them until we could not eat anymore.

Rhine party boats were not tea total, we were on  lots of these!

The first German to speak to us said he had been a ‘prisoner of war’ and had worked in gardens in Bridge of Weir.  Did we know where that was ?

We saw our first Mini Skirt.

In our kilts we were ambassadors for Gleniffer and Paisley Scouting.

Each parent got £2 back, when their sons were delivered home safely-  ish .

The downside

England won the World Cup.

Other stories

As the Group grew significantly in the 1980’s so did the number of uniformed leaders. A Gleniffer practice had been that as leaders gave so much of their time to scouting they got to weekend camps for instance to  Peesweep/ Lapwing for free . By this time such a group expense could no longer be supported and the GSL ( Group Scout Leader) had to tell the uniformed leaders . There was an uproar. A rebellion. A Mutiny , A ‘we will not go’ . Did the GSL change his mind ‘no’.

St Georges East Church Paisley – Remembrance Day Service each November

Gleniffer always attended in high numbers at this service and carried some of the flags. Squire’s (Adam Blake’s) rule was ‘if you miss this do not bother coming back to the scouts’ and he meant it .  I did not miss any.