I joined the 33rd Gleniffer Cub Pack in September 1952 and was an enthusiastic badge collector. Soon my jersey sleeves were colourfully adorned. We had great fun.
I have very fond memories of my years as a scout, meeting in the old factory in Lochfield under Bob Lees and Jim Fauldes. However, the factory became more wobbly week by week. We suspended a gym bench from the rafters, got most of the troop onto it and then slowly got it swinging really well. Our fun came to an abrupt end when Bob rushed in announcing that as he came up the path he could see the entire building swaying back and forth. Shortly after that we moved up in the Lochfield School!
We did not take prisoners at the inter-patrol games of British Bulldog and Trench Warfare! I was repeatedly in trouble for tearing my shirt yet again. However we also got down to the serious business of getting our uniform sleeves packed with badges for many different skills ... knots/splices/lashings, map reading, hiking, camping, sailing, pioneering, backwoods survival, and sewing. A watertight canvas bucket, no less. We had so many wonderful experiences.
Most weekends in the summer we were away camping and in the winter, hiking. A favourite site was at the Place Castle, Kilbirnie. We felled trees, made aerial ropeways across the gorge and lashed trees end to end to erect amazing towers up to 40ft high [that was before H & S]. The camp fire singing and ghost stories were memorable.
Summer camps were on Arran at North Glen Sannox. A whole carriage was booked on the Ardrossan train to get us to the ferry. Once there each patrol tried to outdo the next with their kitchen apparatus ... racks, stands, wood stores, chopping blocks, dining shelters and ... sumps! Cooking was also a point of pride with big army dixies full of porage, stovies, corned beef hash, etc. always with ‘jeely’ pieces to follow. No one went hungry. The latrines were always objects of great pride built up above the camp in the bracken but always with an exceptional view over the Firth to Ayrshire.
The daily routine was exact ... breakfast, flag break, inspection, make sandwiches and head off on the day’s activity. Each summer we explored all the mountain ridges and spent great afternoons swimming in the river and abseiling from the cliffs. Each day ended with prayers and flag down. Life was good. Everyone was very respectful of one another. Happy times.
We also had high standards on Friday evenings and so were frequent winners of the County Flag. I have vivid memories of the 33rd marching with our Colour Party leading the Annual Parade down High Street and into County Square where we were addressed by the Provost. The Parade was so long that it had 4 pipe bands playing along its length.
Through the 33rd, hundreds of boys are deeply indebted to Skipper McKellar and the succession of Troop Leaders, Assistant Troop Leaders, Cub Leaders and their Assistants, Mr Hugh Cochrane who was Chairman of our organisation, and so many more. They have left a remarkable legacy, impacting on a generation in Paisley.