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WEB SITE GUEST BOOK (most recent at the bottom)

2/17/2007 7:29:43 PM Amy Page  from Horwich
Excellent site - well done to all

3/17/2007 5:42:27 PM  Richard Cartwright  from Bolton
Most interesting site I've seen for ages. Well done and thanks

3/18/2007 7:22:44 PM  Chris Kirkham from Fascadail, Arrochar
Very nice job - very interesting - I particularly enjoyed the many old pictures including some of my home in Arrochar.

3/18/2007 8:53:12 PM  Jim Miller from Rothesay Isle of Bute
Perhaps the best community website I have read in a long time, keep up the good work, best wishes from Rothesay Brandane A.F.C.

3/19/2007 10:15:48 AM  Anne Mackay from Brisbane, Australia
Congratulations to the history group, what a wonderful achievement. My ancestors lived at Tarbet and this has enabled me to learn more about the area. The old photo's are brilliant. Keep up the good work it is most certainly appreciated from "down under"

3/20/2007 10:40:41 AM  Catherine Knox (nee MacDonald from Stonehaven, Scotland
I find your site very interesting and seeing the people in the school photographs makes me recall their names. It all seems so long ago, but then I suppose it is. You are doing a good job Mary, keep it up.

3/20/2007 12:55:13 PM  Tom Huxtable from Annan, Dumfries and Galloway Scotland
Excellent website, At age 76 and Arrochar `born and bred`, I am constantly learning about my heritage. My `congrats` to all concerned. Keep feeding me doses of nostalgia - Arrochar Tom

3/20/2007 2:38:24 PM Mike Kavanagh from Hove, East Sussex
Very professional looking site with lots of interesting sections. A credit to the area. My ancestor was living in Arrochar in 1891 for the building of the West Highland Railway. The position of the huts (temporary accommodation for the workers) and some more local information about the influx of the Irish navvies would be very interesting.

3/20/2007 9:20:09 PM  Stella Irving from Portincaple
What a super site. Really interesting. Congratulations!

3/22/2007 3:59:11 PM  Captain Bill Lowe from "Silverdale", Arrochar
Currently in the USA (spreading the word). Everyone has been very impressed by the website and the information it contains. They say it's a wonderful thing to maintain our heritage. They can take a lot from us but they will never be able to take our heritage!

3/24/2007 1:46:59 PM Sarah Jordan from Carlisle
This is a fab. site !!!!!!

3/27/2007 12:05:36 AM Irene Maundrell [Campbell] from Ontario, Canada
The site has given me so much pleasure and interest, thanks to all who have done so much work it has brought home so much closer and I have learned so much especially about the MacFarlanes of whom I am one. You are doing a great service.

3/27/2007 10:53:23 pm John from USA
Very nice site!

4/13/2007 6:11:38 AM Robert Mathieson from Sydney, Australia
Great website my family are from Arrochar and still live there - it was great being able to visit last year and visiting the heritage centre was a big thrill. The website is fantastic.

4/19/2007 10:41:19 PM Claire Penning from Hertfordshire
A lovely trip down memory lane, an excellent site well done.

4/22/2007 2:08:15 PM Walter and Mairi Lindsay from Perth Scotland.
Well done Mary and team, brilliant site. Well documented, very nostalgic. Keep up the good work. Great to look back, it reminds me of home.

4/24/2007 8:03:35 PM Jeanette Smith (ne MacLennan) from Camdeenton, Missouri, U.S.A.
A big thank you to the Heritage Assc. Born & raised in Tarbet it is a wonderful trip down Memory Lane. Your site is a wonderful way to tell everyone all the history connected with Arrochar, Tarbet Ardlui etc. Now when I want a trip home all I have to do is grab a mouse and press on it's head!!! Keep up the good work!!

4/24/2007 9:33:25 PM Sally Black from Livingston, West Lothian
We have a caravan on Glenloin Caravan Park and have found browsing the history of this village fascinating - we love Arrochar and this brings the area to life for us - making comparisons with how the area was in days gone by and how it is now.

5/12/2007 11:40:25 AM Andrew Stirling from Dunoon
A trip down memory lane. Thank you.

5/17/2007 05:12 AM Neil Charters from Delhi
What an excellent site that rolls up a great deal of information. Was nice to catch a picture of my brother and sister at Glencroe School, I went for around 6 months in 1964-1965 before we all moved to Admiralty Cottages and the BIG school at Tarbet. I remember the range bus sing-along with David McKinnon and "John Browns Body"

5/21/2007 2:10:25 AM Ian Collins from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Takes me back to my boyhood. Great site.

5/29/2007 3:20:16 PM Dorothy Nimlin Watson from Strathmiglo, Nife

5/31/2007 8:42:13 PM Duncan Robb from Sandiway, Cheshire
Excellent site. Very interesting for me because of the links with the MacFarlane Clan. Excellent source of information and very well presented. Well done and keep up the good work.

6/1/2007 1:51:27 PM Maurice Bearder from Skipton, North Yorkshire
My recent visit to Arrochar brought back to me when my late uncle Watson Metcalfe used to stay at the nearby hotel where Miss Anderson was the manageress, he used to have a drink with Magnus McClean who became good friends during the 1970's or 80's.I now understand why Arrochar is so special.

6/8/2007 8:38:10 PM Darko Babic The Best in Heritage-Project Manager
Allow me to congratulate you for the exceptional work you performed in creating this heritage base Web site. It is indeed informative and very interesting.

6/11/2007 2:52:03 PM Alan Wishart from Dunoon
Read the Arrochar Heritage item in "The Park Free Press" publication which I picked up at the Info Centre at Lomond Shores. My father was a retained fireman stationed at Dumbarton, and I recall him talking about the Loch Long Hotel fire, which he attended. I am sure I have a press cutting which shows him hosing down the embers, but regretfully, cannot immediately lay my hands on it. If I come across it, I will email it on to you. The article pointed me to your excellent site. I am a retired Dunbartonshire Constabulary Road Traffic Patrol Officer, who regularly patrolled the area in car and on motor cycle.

6/16/2007 5:49:10 AM Mark Paterson from Newmarket, Suffolk
Miss the Loch very much. Being from Portincaple. Nay water doon here. All the best

6/16/2007 11:17:29 AM Lynn Nicolson from Arrochar
I don't know why I was so surprised and impressed with the site!!!
Knowing the people involved I should have expected such amazing quality and wealth of information given.
It is brilliant well done all of you I hope everyone appreciates the time and commitment you have all given. THANK YOU and well done!

6/17/2007 5:23:53 AM Chris Fowler from Succoth
What a treat! Had a lovely time finding out about the area. A really well set out and informative website.

6/17/2007 6:44:57 PM Ralph S Risk from Helensburgh
Would welcome word from any of the Kelvinside Academy boys who were evacuated to Tarbet 1940-44

6/17/2007 7:53:56 PM Robert (Bob) McLean from Suffolk
Well-done Mary and your team for producing such a remarkable, comprehensive and enlightening Website. I thoroughly enjoy my periodic visits and journeys down memory lane including those related to school days, cub meetings, the heritage trail and the history of my previous home. Someone has been extremely busy compiling the recent impressive and detailed overview of Arrochar Cemetery.

6/22/2007 5:47:18 AM Mark & Adele Voice from Dunedin, New Zealand
We lived and worked in Arrochar for 4 months in 1997 while on a working holiday and absolutely loved the place and the people. Last year our beautiful daughter was born and we named her Arrochar. This is a great website. Keep up the good work !

6/29/2007 7:33:31 AM Maakug from Ukraine
Nice site man! This will be my first time visiting. Keep up the great work. Thanks much!

7/1/2007 1:58:18 AM Whitney A. McFarlin from Lakeland, Florida
Great site...well done history...I'll send you a photo my painting of the Parish Church at Arrochar by e-mail.
Thanks for great work.

7/1/2007 4:14:22 PM FIONA McLEOD from ARROCHAR

7/6/2007 8:48:39 PM Malcolm and Heather Whitlock from Sugarboat View, Helensburgh
It is tremendous to see Arrochar, Tarbet and Ardlui's history being documented and recorded for all future generations to be able to read, enjoy and learn their heritage, so much of this is lost today and future generations are poorer for not knowing it, you and all your supporters are to be applauded for your sterling efforts in this task "and long may your Lum reek strang".
The Whitlocks of Sugarboat View.

7/7/2007 1:57:51 AM Lucy from Australia
Hi all! I am Lucy, I have found your website while searching for some info at Google. Your site has helped me in a big way. G'night

7/8/2007 9:01:35 PM Michael Huxtable from Corby, Northamptonshire
What a lovely time I had looking back on my childhood in Arrochar, by looking at the pictures and reading my uncle Tom's stories. If you have any info on my grandparents Hannah and Alex Huxtable or any stories about my Dad Edward (Eddy Huxtable) please email. Mick

7/17/2007 7:37:02 AM Christine (MacFarlane) Cook from Chichester, West Sussex
I came across this excellent and well put-together site whilst researching family history. It gives a real sense of the place and it's history, and particularly of the Clan MacFarlane. This is obviously a real labour of love. Very well done to all concerned and thank you.

7/20/2007 1:46:29 AM Harry Ellen from Pocahontas Ave. Richmond, Vaginia USA
Absolutely a wonderful and informative website! I have only visited it once, but plan to do so many times in the future. It has been so helpful in tracing the Stalker family tree. The 1891 census and Arrochar church grave yard links have been so helpful in my quest. I would love to see all the available censuses that are currently extant. Keep it active and don't hesitate to add to its content.

7/23/2007 5:16:13 PM Ken MacLean from Stirling
Other communities should be envious of the skill and hard work evident in this site. Great job--well done

7/29/2007 9:50:30 PM Steven Yelland from Wakefield, West Yorkshire
An excellent site - just returned from Arrochar today - found the site quickly via wiki. Very informative details with great pictures - please keep up this fascinating site. Well done!

8/11/2007 8:00:00 PM Catherine McMenamin from Exeter
I use to visit my Aunt almost every week-end, her name was Kate Workman and her husband John, he worked in the Range, and they lived in the Range houses, and then they move later over to the Admiralty Cottages, she also worked in the Loch Long Hotel as a cook, I think? My sister and I were evacuated for a short time, in the forties, the last time I was up there would be around 1953, and I must say looking at the Heritage site brought back a lot of memories. The picture of the school, I think it was 195O, I saw my friend, Nancy Campbell, we were friends for some time, but moving down to Exeter, I lost touch, she use to live in a house in Cobbler View, then she got married to John McLean. I have always wanted to go back there, but so far not been able to manage it. Congratulations on your site, it really was lovely to read all about it.

8/27/2007 8:21:45 AM Dianne Cairns from Arrochar
Having lived in Arrochar for 27 years and my children born here I cannot believe the amount of work that has went into such a wonderful website. Having read the guestbook it has reached people so far and wide with so many excellent comments keep up the excellent work.

09/16/2007 11:46 PM Colleen Anderson from Morpeth, Northumberland
What a wonderful site, packed with so much history, making a fascinating read. George would have loved the history of the West Highland Railway. Brought back some very poignant memories of our happy times at Teighness Stores.

09/17/2007 04:19 PM Tammy Mellert (McFarland) from Euclid OH
Hello!  Excellent Site!  I have been researching my family history for years now (McFarland).  It is good to see the pictures of the places my family came from and how they lived.  I love it!  Thanks for all the hard work.

09/19/2007 12:05 AM May & Morton Renfrew (nee Neilson) from Nova Scotia, Canada
On behalf of former residents of Arrochar we would like to thank everyone involved for your total commitment to this outstanding and informative web site. We just love it! and it allows us to go down memory lane with just a click of a button.

11/02/2007 09:33 PM John Livingston - really interesting site i enjoyed it having spent holidays at the range cottages with my uncle and aunt Robert and Isa Campbell. I am sure Chrissie Fisher has many more stories of local interest to tell!

11/04/2007 08:01 PM Morag and Kenny from Craigard, Arrochar. Well Mary you told us the site was good but we never realised how good it was until we looked - very impressive and a wealth of information.  Having moved here 3 years ago and staying at Craigard, we found the photos and information fabulous. We will spend a lot of time looking through all the archives.  WELL DONE!

11/25/2007 02:56 PM Marie Lonnen. My dad is called William Allan Macdougall he is from Ardlui, they stayed beside the railway. He is in some of the photos and so is my granny Jane Macdougall. It is a very good site and there is some nice pictures on there. My dad now lives in Conon Bridge, Ross Shire.

11/29/2007 05:15 AM Sharon Pherson from Salt Lake City, Utah. Very nice.  I am the great grand daughter of Ephraim Henry Williams. My grandfather was John Albert Williams, son of Mary Ann Cook.  Thanks for the info.

12/26/2007 08:16AM Susan Rose (nee BURDEN) from Perth, Western Australia. I am the second daughter of Eric and Marion Burden (now deceased). I emigrated to Australia in 1964 aged 12 – I have not  been back to Arrochar since then but when I found this site I have had a ball walking down memory lane and showing my daughter Maggie (now 21).  I will now go through some old family photos and send them on to you.  Thanks Mary for all your time and effort in putting this site together – it has done an old Arrochar girls heart good. Thanks again

15/01/2008 07:07PM Angie Laidlaw from (Nee Wilson) from Plymouth
I used to live in Seabank from 1980 to 1988 and attended Arrochar Primary School. It brought back wonderful memories. It was lovely to see the old photos of Tighness & read things I never knew about Arrochar.

16/01/2008 01:44PM Iain Colquhoun from Canada
enjoyed finding the 1933 picture of the Arrochar football club on your website. My grandfather, Sir Iain Colquhoun, is in the picture. I was brought up in Stuckgowan House South of Tarbet and emigrated to Canada in 1972. I enjoy your website and recognize a lot of the names.

19/01/2008 5:47PM Ron & May Harris from Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Wow, what a wonderful website! I've never seen such a good cemetery display - terrific. I found my 4x great grandfather, George HAMILTON 1794 - 1887,  in the old part of the cemetery. He farmed at Succoth, Arrochar, as did his son, also named George HAMILTON. George Sr.'s daughter, Elizabeth HAMILTON, married John MCMILLAN - still looking for their graves & that of George Sr.'s wife, Margaret BLACK. Also, Elizabeth & John's daughter, Margaret MCMILLAN, married shepherd, Dugald MCGREGOR - they had a fair sized family at Lochgoilhead. They were at High Glen Croe too. Anyone know any connections to these people?

09/02/2008 3:31PM Sue Grierson from Lancaster
What a fantastic web site!!!!!!! It has given me a wonderful insight into some of the family members in my family tree. The information you display for Arrochar Parish Church graveyard is exceptional. I think the biggest surprise of all was seeing photographs for the first time of members of my family tree. Thank you.

25/03/2008 8:58PM Pat Kerins from Blidworth, Notts
What a brilliant site which brings back many happy memories. My mother Peggy was a lumberjack with the Forestry in the 1940's and stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Fraser at Ardgarten Lodge. I lived there also around 1945/7. They had 2 children, Alastair and Rosalyn. Sandy Fraser worked the Forestry horse whose stable was on the right hand side of the road leading from the lodge to Ardgarten House. Mrs Fraser's nickname was "Ming" (because as a toddler the nearest I could get to Mrs. Fraser was Ming Fae and it stuck!). I have sent Howard a photo of the lodge dating from about 1938 which is now on the Ardgarten Photos page on the Heritage Trail (click here). Pat Kerins - then known as Ian

05/04/2008 4:51AM Malcolm Lobban from Australia
I am an ex-Vale of Leven man, aged 77, now living in South Australia since 2001.  I paid a visit back home during November 2006 and stayed overnight in Arrochar. I know the district well, having been an MOD Police CID officer, based at CSB Faslane.  I am now a member of the Clan MacFarlane Society, Australia, Inc., where I serve as editor/history researcher. I have several Macfarlane forebears up my family tree! I think your website is excellent, and I shall keep in touch to find the latest news from the old ‘Clanlands’. 

22/05/2008 3:25PM Ursula Dorocki from Adelaide, South Australia
My parents owned Rossmay in the 1970's and I remember many a pleasant weekend spent there, as a student from Glasgow University.  My father (Stanley Dorocki) hired out fishing boats, and my mother (Helen) ran the bed-and-breakfast business.  They recalled this time as the best in their life. It is so interesting to read about the history of Arrochar, and to be a small part of it.  I now live in Australia and enjoy the sunshine, but I well remember those beautiful views over Loch Long.  And the sound of my father swearing at his attempts to mend his boats, or when he was interrupted by fishermen arriving at an inconvenient time.  Still, he had great neighbours and friends in Stuart and family, and Pony and Winkie.  Where are they now? 

24/5/2008 8:25AM Terri L Mooradian from Virginia, USA
I am Terri Mooradian of the McFarland Clan and a member of the McFarlane Society.  Your site was very interesting.  I am a descendent of John McFarland of Arrochar who was born there and emigrated to Virginia, America where he died in 1767.  Anyone related to him who still live there?

27/7/2008 23:59PM Graham Gray from Stanwell, Middlesex
Only heard of the site from and old friend, Davie MacKinnon on a recent visit "home" July 18.
I know I will make many "visits" and am enjoying reading the memories and looking at the old pictures.
I've already spotted pics of my late mother and father during their war service and beyond at RNTR.
Best Wishes to all who may remember me in Arrochar. My home from 1954 to 1972.
Graham - Once of Admiralty Cottages.
02/03/2009 00:56AM Helen & Bruce McFarlane from Christchurch, New Zealand
Looking forward to visiting the area in May 09 and perhaps seeing something of the ancestry of my husbands family. Would also love to meet up with other McFarlanes in the area. My husbands Great Grandfather Andrew was born Stirling 1835, wife Mary Wilson (Higgie) and his parents having been farmers somewhere (?).Arrived by boat in NZ Nov 1860 after 92 days at sea. 
20/04/2009 10:06AM Jim McLean from the Chilterns, Bucks
This is a great site indeed! I first camped in the Arrochar caves aged 16yrs old. Born in Greenock, my friends and I would get the boat from Gourock to Helensburgh, and then walk to upper Helensburgh station to get the train to Arrochar / Tarbert. I've been back on several occasions and I have to say it's one of my favourite places. I am now 48yrs old and live in a small market town in the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire but I intend to visit Arrochar again.

24/04/2009 10:07AM Joy Earnshaw from New South Wales, Australia
I am researching my ancestors, the McINTYRE family from Arrochar and Morelaggan. I really enjoy visiting your website as it has given me an insight to the area and the the way of life of those who lived there.  Keep up the good work.

13/06/2009 08:17PM Claire Hawkins from Lancashire UK
Excellent site - well done!  From a 'Stalker' exiled in Lancashire

14/07/2009 00:45AM Robert McGuire from Glasgow
Arrochar is a very nice place to go for a break away - I also was in movie called Valhalla Rising

that was filmed in loch long next to arrochar...  Robert McGuire (actor/film maker) Glasgow

31/07/2009 10:37AM Fiona Gibbs from Perth, Australia
Now is Perth, Australia but grew up in Arrochar where we ran "Maconald's Shop". Just found the website so will have fun reading all the old memories I have now printed off.  Hope to visit next August so looking forward to that.  Well done !! 

17/10/2009 12:12AM Lorraine Cole
I, like my cousin Michael Huxtable and my brilliant Uncle Tom, can remember many happy times spent in Arrochar as a child.  Though we were never happier than when all the cousins were together sleeping head to toes in the one room.  Though I do remember my cousin Alex telling me that Frankenstein and Dracula were buried in the graveyard which as a 7 yr old i believed lol. Lorraine Cole ( Maria Huxtable's daughter)  If anyone has any stories about my mum I would love to hear them

19/10/2009 10:11AM Janice Matthews from Ireland
First of all, congratulations on your lovely website. We are just back in Ireland after a wonderful week in Scotland.  My mother was Canadian, but both her parents had Scots ancestry.  My grandfather came from Stirling (the city) but we had no idea where my grandfather originated in Scotland.  A visit to Glasgow, a quick look at "A Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada before Confederation" by Donald Whyte sorted that problem out.  I had traced John Whyte to Glasgow in 1845, when he married my Great great grandmother Margaret Cook Miller, and where the first two of their 7 children were born.  However I could not pin his own birth down.  At least now I know what part of Scotland he came from and what a beautiful part it is.   Ken & I had coffee in the hotel in Ardlui on Wednesday last and took in the peace and quiet, and of course, the scenery.
I could not believe my luck when I found your website on our return.  We looked in the graveyard at Arrochar, but no luck with Whytes.  I would be really grateful for any information you could give me.
I have a detailed family tree from Glasgow to the present day in Canada, the latest John Whyte only died in June of last year (2008), aged 90 years. 

08/02/2010 09:21AM James R. Couzin-Wood from Hawthorne, Melbourne, Australia
Very good site it brings back many memories of Arrochar. I lived in the old House behind the Old Loch Long Hotel and then in the old Manse House after the fire in 1955. My father was the Range development Officer and attended the fire in 1955 and got Sheena McFarlane and guests out safely.

22/02/2010 11:38AM Colin Campbell from Cardross   (formerly 23 Kirkfield Place, Arrochar)
Many congratulations on a superb web site. It is giving me, a childhood resident of Arrochar (1942-1953), many happy reminiscences. Memories of Arrochar school Tarbet by Elizabeth Findlay (Carson) have evoked many happy memories and Arrochar in wartime was an amazing account around my early years. I have visited Arrochar and Tarbet Heritage exhibition at the old Ballyhennan church and enjoyed the photographic archive you've created too - thank you very much indeed!

21/04/2010 01:47PM Jim McGunigel from Germany

James Mc Gunigel from Germany.
Congratulations this is a great site and it certainly brought back a lot of memories.
We moved from Glasgow to Tarbet around 1950 and stayed in a small cottage in Stuckivuloch (not sure if the spelling is correct) which was a bit up the hill behind Stuckgowan. There was no running water, no electricity and no bathroom. My dad went to work for Jock (John) McLean who had his workshop at that time next to Pop Davidson’s village store. My sister Caroline and I went to Tarbet school and I remember we had the best school dinners ever, prepared by Mrs McLean, Nancy Campbel and wee Maggie. Remember the Friday ‘special’, shepherds pie and jelly?? In 1952/53 my dad bought the ‘Old Toll Cottage’ and I had a great wee business in the summer selling crisps, snowballs and Garvies lemonade to the ‘mostly’ English tourists (we called them the boat people) who were doing the ‘three lochs trip. We then moved to 22 Cobbler View and in 1957. I left school (Hermitage) and went to serve my apprenticeship with Jock McLean who by this time had his workshop behind the old manse in Arrochar. We were a great gang Jim Mc Dermaid, Billy MacDougal, Ronnie Mac Donald, George Bisset, Billy Mc Evoy and ian Watt. I worked for Mc Gruers in Clynder for a while and then spent 3 years at the Torpedo Range before going to Glasgow to work for Rolls Royce in Hillington.
In 1974 I decided to give Holland and Germany a try. My Intention was to stay a maximum 12 months. I’m still here!! I get back to the area at least every year. My sister lives in Gareloch-head and we always pop up to Arrochar .Once again thanks for all your great research and keep up the good work.

11/11/2010 11:56AM Mary Galloway from Auckland, New Zealand

I grew up in at Railway Cottage Ardvorlich, and went to school at Arrochar Primary, and spent a lot of time in Ardlui and Inveruglas as a child I found this stroll down memory lane very enjoyable. It gives the area the recognition it deserves - Mary Galloway Auckland New Zealand

30/12/2010 03:29AM Robert Kerr from Vancouver BC, Canada

Myself and sisters (Jackie & Gail) were at Arrochar school from 1963-70s and lived @ Garabal farm, Ardlui, travelling the lochside (Lomond) daily along with Fisher and other families, to school and back. This continued for our short time at Hermitage Academy, Helensburgh, before moving to Edinburgh. There were plenty of various memories at the various farms( Garabal, Stuckendroin, Garristuck & Doune,Inverarnan and Inveruglas). All the farmers used to cross(small rowing boat with engine) the north end of the Loch to work on the sheep at Garrastuck. Many memories of my friend and mentor Iain Fisher( Stuckendroin) b.6/07/1952 especially when he took me to see Glasgow Rangers one week and Celtic the next, with our adventures on the train journey home and the Lorne pub in Glasgow. One special memory is the giant 2ton rock that each of us 3(siblings) "owned" out the back of Garabal, our pet fox(Basil), bambi deer and various other animals(cows, dogs, cats, ducks,ferrets and sheep). Richard(Dick) was our main sheepdog, living to a good age.I remember having the hots for our teacher Miss Malon and likng the Urwin and Noble girls.The policeman had twin sons(one named Douglas). Mrs Mcpherson was the long time teacher and many thanks go to her for her great teaching! Yes I remember it fondly...:)

09/09/2011 08:53PM Bryn Wayt from East Sussex

My name is Bryn Wayt and I want to start by saying that ARROCHAR is the best place in the world for me! To put that into perspective, I retired from a 38 year aviation career as a pilot, including 12 years in the Royal Air Force, the rest in "civvy" flying. I have seen the sights around the world as one might expect, but I love Arrochar best, so that's where I'm at! In terms of my very fond memories, they go back to when I was about 8 or 9 years old, maybe even before (I'm 68 right now) to when my mother (Elsie) used to take me, and sometimes my Granny Don, to Arrochar every summer during primary school holidays; we stayed with a fabulous family, the McGilvary's at 5, Admiralty Cottages. Jack, Margaret, May and Dougie made us very welcome and we became life-long friends; sadly only May and Dougie are still alive, but I have kept in touch all those years. I have marvelled at how Dougie came on in the world and publically salute him here. I don't know any man alive who has worked so hard, for so long. He must be a
ledgend and one of Arrochar’s finest Sons. I need only say Weldex. I learned to swim in Arrochar, ride a bike, climb hills, tie knots, make rafts, eat whelks, mussels, and make "tarzan swings" and how to pick up a crab without it biting me - coming from the east end of Glasgow in the 1950’s all this (and more!) was just magic. Dougie was one super-fit wee laddie leading everything we did with the 'gang' - whether it was running down the hill after "finding" these things that were strapped to the railway line to warn of danger (then throwing big rocks at them to make them explode!) or diving off the jetty for huge "clabbie doos" which we ate for tea. Many contained wee pearls! Not for the first time did he ask if we could have a loan of the rowing boat from Mrs Carson(?) or Mr McKenzie so we could go off fishing. Fishing back then was always bountiful; once I hauled up two on the same hook (lovely big cod) and three on the line. Sometimes on the row back home we used to catch saithe, no bait, just a spinner. You hardly knew if you caught one, because they did not 'bite' like a cod, they just were caught on the sly as it were. We sold some of the fish to the hotel, gave some to the neighbours, some to the boat owner, and some for our tea! What days for two young lads, not a Health and Safety sign anywhere, life-vests - what are they? It rained but we still went swimming and went out to play. Holidays were always packed with things to do - climb the hill and watch torpedoes being fired from the range (Jack worked on the range, and May's boyfriend, Alex Parker (RIP) was a navy diver). One lasting and impressive memory I have was when I saw a rowing boat adrift opposite Wylie's shop, I went in to tell them, and this far older lad came rushing out and he just swam out to it and pulled it ashore, still wearing his long trousers and shirt! To me that was utterly amazing. I know how cold the water could be. Actions speak louder than words would be the phrase nowadays. It is very gratifying to know that the "Cockleshell Heroes" used the loch when practising attaching their limpet mines (they used an old Dutch ship called the "Jan van Gelder"). They were there on the 23rd November 1942 after rowing up from HMS Forth (the submarine depot ship at the time when the submarine Tuna was tied up along side). I know quite a bit about them, as I became friends with the "Last of the Cockleshell Heroes" Bill Sparks DSM many years before he died (RIP). Many is the time Dougie and I were up the big hill (behind the cottages) and watched the flat clam water being broken by a submarine surfacing and then swinging round in a left turn to tie up at the range and face down the loch. Other times we saw a shark! It was a terrifying experience for wee boys seeing this big fin slice through the water so close to the shore. To my everlasting shame I admit, for the first time in public, I threw stones at it (all fell short thank goodness). It came back more than once during that summer, but we were never in the boat at the time. I later learned that is was a "basking shark" - but a shark was a shark back then and they were all man eaters and a big WOW! I try to get up to Arrochar as often as I can, and stand and let the memories flood back; it was some of the best times of my life, learning how to grow up surrounded by mountains and the open loch. I recognise many names from my wanderings around this fabulous website - what became of Mary Bell I wonder?

16/09/2011 07:14AM John G Lamond (was Mackenzie) from Larnaca, Cyprus

Very nice site... I was particularly interested in the section regarding Glen Croe Primary as I was 1 of the last 2 pupils to attend the school...
Thanks for the memories    John Lamond (was Mackenzie)



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