Wednesday, June 19, 2019


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Gleniffer memories

I joined the 33rd Gleniffer Cub Pack in September 1950 . The pack met on a Saturday afternoon in the old waiting room of Potterhill Railway station. I was in the Tawny six and my sixer was Billy Aird. Billy Gilmour was the Cub Leader (Akela). The hall was not large enough and the entrance was a sliding door. Inside I remember was a Bear’s Head and a Zulu Spear.
Goods trains used to run on a Saturday afternoon and we used to chase after the train hoping the driver would throw coal at us , which we collected to use on the fire .

The Paisley Bushes Golf Club was adjacent to the hall and when the golf club left to go up the Braes we often used one of the tees for our Campfires and assembly points during games. The area was covered in gorse on one side where we used to hide .

I have a memory of attending a visit by the Chief Scout Lord Rowallan to Paisley District in Barshaw Park and the cubs all dressed up as Roman centurians for a pageant.
Scout and Cub Swimming galas were a big event in their day and the Storrie Street baths were filled to the brim with Scouts and Cubs cheering on their Group. I was a member of the Paisley Amateur Swimming Club and I was in most of the cub races and that night we won the Cub Shield .

Shortly after that was a Going Up Ceremony at Lochfield School and Skipper presented me with a Compass for my contribution to winning the shield . I was a proud wee boy.


Who can ever forget their first Scout Camp with the 33rd Paisley Gleniffer Scouts, the memories of it lasts a life time. We gathered at Dunn Square and boarded the service bus to Largs which dropped us off at the top of John's Brae in Lochwinnnoch, about twenty of us as I recollect, rucksacks and all. I didn't have a rucksack, I had a Kitbag, which as a 12 year old was very difficult to carry and Skipper ended up carrying it for me. Guess what was on my birthday list at my next birthday?

Meiklecloak Farm was where we were heading for. The Farmer was a Mr Robertson and he was one of the early members of Home Rule for Scotland and you had to fly the Union Jack at the same height as the Saltire.

My Patrol was the Owl's and the P.L. was Jim Baxter alias “Bull Baxter”, and my Assistant Patrol Leader Tom Reid alias “Batty”, you must remember you stayed in the Scouts till you were 18 years of age. One of the other P.L'S. was Watt Kilpatrick, another big lad and Jim Foulds was an Assistant Leader with Bryden McKellar “The Skipper”.

Camp Kitchens were a speciality of the Gleniffer Group and soon we had all mod cons erected on site, dish washing area, cooking area and logs for sitting on to have our meals.
We even had our own Camp Magazine “The Domino” printed on site, Jim Foulds had brought a Banda Copier with him. One of the editions had a spectacular front page, as the night before Bull had gone Skinny Diping in the Calder with Watt. On the front page was a drawing of a bare buttock and the Moon light shinning on it, with the heading, Twasn't a Mermaid, Twas Baxter, you don't forget headlines like that!

Campfires were always the highlight of the day and Skipper led them with great enthusiasm.

We had a hike from the campsite across the Renfrewshire Heights and midway into the hike to Largs the mist came down and it was very thick, visibility was nil. Bryden made us all join hands and he led us from the front using a Prismatic Compass and after about an hour of hiking in the mist we came out to clear skies above the Gogo Waters in Largs.
Fish Suppers were had for tea and then it was back on the service bus to John's Hill and a trek back to Meiklecloak for a very tired bunch of Scouts.

Camps are what Scouting is all about and we in Gleniffer have always been fortunate that our Scout training on a Friday night, (without us realising) was preparing us for the big adventure outdoors, “The Scout Camp”, Niff Niff style.