Thursday, 25 August 2016

Aberfoyle Old And New.

       Wednesday 24th. was a glorious day, lots of blue sky, beaming sunshine and a light wind, a cyclist's dream world, so I headed for Aberfoyle. The little town of Aberfoyle in the Trossachs area is a lovely little spot. It has been the haunt of walkers and cyclists from away back and still is, though there has been a lot of changes. As a young apprentice in the shipyards one of my interests was hill walking and the bus from Dundas Street Glasgow to Aberfoyle was a weekend regular. At the Weekend I think it was walkers and climbers that made up 100% of bus company's customers.
The main street Aberfoyle, with Ben Lomond in the distance. 

      It was a ritual, you all poured off the bus at Aberfoyle square, a small square in the centre of the town. The ragtag bunch that hit the town soon head of in usually two directions, some would take the road to the right and head over The Duke's Pass to Lendrick Youth Hostel or to their favourite camping or dossing spot. Others would head along the shores of Loch Ard to the Loch Ard Youth Hostel or likewise their particular camping spot or doss. Our spot if the weather was good would be to follow the Ledard Burn up the hill, where there were plenty of good camping spots at the side of the burn with the clear water of the burn gurgle down to the loch. Lots of those walkers/campers/climbers arrived with a guitar slung over their shoulder and for the crowd that made Loch Ard area their base, it would almost be obligatory at night to head to the Alskeith Hotel on the shore of the loch, where there would chatting sing and general mayhem until the hotel decided it was time to throw us out, then the little groups dispersed in the darkness to their hostel tent or doss.
 Outside The Forth Hotel, Aberfoyle.

      In those days the last bus out of Aberfoyle on Sunday night was something that you will never see again. All the now dirty, sweaty hoard, would pile into the bus, and if it was a wet night the windows would soon be steamed up. People would be taking of socks and bits and pieces, wringing them out and drying their feet etc. It was not that unusual for someone sit in the floor of the passage way in the bus, light a Primus stove and start to do some sausages or what ever was left over and share around. Guitars would be strumming and songs would be ringing out. All this as the bus wound its way in the darkness through those winding twisting roads back to Dundas Street Glasgow. Once there it would disgorge it human cargo who would then thin out as the made the last bit of their journey on a corporation bus or tram, usually to one of Glasgow's many slums or some housing scheme.
      Still popular with walkers/cyclists etc., Aberfoyle has changed, now a popular tourist attraction with special parking places for tour buses, but is still very much recognisable, however, the main difference is that now the main means of travel to the town is by car or tour bus, they are everywhere.
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