Wednesday, June 19, 2019


imagination is sparked by an Ethrick Brown Novel. Book with images exploding from it

Read Scottish thrillers with great plots and laugh out loud humour

Graham Nixon ( 1966 )


Gleniffer stories

Andy Clark’s hikes:
I remember when Andy Clark was the scout leader. There would be hikes almost every Sunday. One hike near Kilbirnie on a bitterly cold day in winter, Andy determined we needed to wade across the river which was nearly waist deep. It was absolutely freezing and consequently everyone had boots full of very cold water. Complaints about cold feet were soon heard. Andy’s suggestion was to urinate in your boots, as that’s what the army does (so he said anyway). There were no takers but we thought maybe pouring some of the contents of our hot flasks might work. Luckily I had coffee, and got a brief respite from numb feet. Someone (can’t remember who) had vegetable soup. That didn’t work so well, I remember the carrot chunks. Through those hikes many of us developed a real love for the mountains and we continued walking/climbing into the Venture scouts. I’m still doing this today. It was a great gift.

Patrol Camp at Lapwing:
One patrol competition camp at Lapwing Lodge, the programme item stated that we had to entertain and feed a leader in a mock restaurant set up in our different patrol sites. In an effort at gaining extra points, Chubby (Iain Kinnis) and I put margarine in our hair to slick it back in the classic Italian waiter look. This might be hard to believe now, particularly because Chubby and I are pretty much bald these days, but we did have hair back then. I also tried to get some of the patrol to sing opera, particularly Mucky Bill (Billy Manning). Turns out he didn’t know any opera songs. The dining customer/leader was Bobby Reid (who has always been bald as far as I can remember) made us go to the Lapwing showers to get rid of the offending margarine. Unfortunately, the showers were freezing cold and we had no shampoo, so the margarine just acted like a waterproof coating. By the end of the camp, it had started to go a bit rancid. Looking back, it’s possible that this was the reason Chubby and I now have no hair.

Log Show at Newtonmore:
My first summer camp was only for the younger scouts (the older scouts were on a European trip). It was at Newtonmore and we had glorious weather most of that week. The late Cameron MacNab (Cammy), one of our friends who had a wonderful offbeat sense of humour, was observed walking around camp dragging a small log with a piece of string tied like a dog lead. When asked he said he was walking his log. The sheer simplistic genius of this idea caught on like wildfire. Soon everyone was walking a log with the names and shapes becoming more intricate with each addition. The leader (Tom Nixon) decided to depart from the original programme and in the evening hold a Crufts style “log” show competition. An assault course was prepared with hoops to jump through for the pet logs. Prizes were awarded for presentation, style etc. The competition commenced and presented a surreal sight, enjoyed with great hilarity. I’m pretty sure Baden-Powell didn’t do this at Brownsea Island.

Back when John Hunter was thin and Greenie (Iain Greenlees) had a perm, four us represented 33rd Gleniffer at the inaugural international scouting event which assembled scouts from all over the world to walk the entire length of the West Highland Way. There was Greenie, Chubby (Iain Kinnis), John and myself. We had to carry all our gear and food. We were setting up camp at specific areas each night but there were no facilities at all, i.e. toilets. It was a real endurance test over 6 days. The one bright spot that kept us going was that this was our first experience of female scouts who were from various Scandinavian countries. I should mention we were all 15 years old at this point (it was I think 1980 or 1981). We were trying to keep with them because they washed in Loch Lomond every night topless. One day on the trail, John decides he needs to relieve his bowels. Never one to be bashful, he drops his trousers, parks his rear end over a boulder and commences with his ablutions in full view of the trail. We then notice that the Scandanavian scouts had just appeared over the brow of a hill and were approaching fast. I don’t think John wiped.