Posts Tagged ‘Loch Lomond’

Tarbet, Loch Lomond – then and now

August 20, 2016

Our first visit to Tarbet on Loch Lomond in Scotland was in 1970 which, as I write, was 46 years ago. We had caught the boat up to Tarbet from Balloch and had a wonderful, bright clear journey. Our vessel for this trip was the wonderful paddle steamer, Maid of the Loch. It didn’t really prove possible to photograph it until we had alighted at Tarbet at the end of that stage of our journey. As the old Maid departed she did her best to blacken the skies above those bonny banks.


By heck – that was a lot of evil black smoke but Maid of the Loch quickly got under way as she headed further up Lomond.


She is of course a fascinating ship still extant but now a static tourist attraction. She was built in 1953 on the Clyde and then disassembled and transported by train to Balloch where she was rebuilt and launched in 1953 so she was but 17 years old when we travelled on her – the last paddle steamer built in Britain.

We’ll now fast forward to 2016. We had been to Tarbet in between times but always got bad weather, but in July 2016 the sun shone again for us.


That little peak hasn’t changed but there is no Maid of the Loch to occupy the foreground.


The boats on the loch do not have the same appeal that Maid of the Loch had but Loch Lomond looked good.


The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomon’

April 13, 2016

The Bonn1e Banks o’ Loch Lomon’

We have been up alongside Loch Lomond on several occasions. It really isn’t that far from Glasgow and maybe it owes its fame to that closeness – as well, of course, as lovely scenery.

But before taking a look at it, let’s look at one of my 78rpm records.


This record is venerable for it is a single sided disc. The other side has no groove, no sound and no label.

image004Instead it carries the company logo.

You can her Peter Dawson singing by clicking here –  . This recording was made in 1907.

Our first trip to Loch Lomond was back in 1970 when my true love and I arrived at Balloch Pier by train from Glasgow to await a trip up to Tarbet on a lake ship which turned out to be Maid of the Loch. The voice of the lad behind us in the queue sticks in the memory. This excited Glaswegian boy saw Maid of the Loch approaching and told his mother, ‘Maamy. It’s a beg shap’. We were struck by how what we would say as big ship, both with the same vowel sound had been spoken with two different vowel sounds – neither of them the one we’d use. I do hope that the Glaswegian accent has survived and hasn’t been changed by what some folks perceive as correct English.

We were in luck that day. The sun shone and the banks of Loch Lomon’ did indeed look bonnie.

image006Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond from Maid of the Loch.

image008The ‘beg shap’, Maid of the Loch leaves Tarbet.

Since then we have not been so lucky. Well first of all we have taken a car and you can drive very happily up the west side and really find almost nowhere to stop – until Tarbet, that is. We seem to have found Tarbet a place of mist and drizzle but it will, of course, have weather like anywhere else.

So here are a few Loch Lomond photos from the 21st century.


This was Tarbet in 2001 and again in 2004


image014This was Tarbet in 2009 and on our return a bit bonnier near Inveruglas


On Maid of the Loch

May 24, 2015

I feel incredibly lucky to have travelled on Loch Lomond on the paddle steamer, ‘Maid of the Loch’. This old paddle steamer still exists. It was 1970 and my (then fiancée) and I were youth hostelling in Scotland. I can tell you this was a grand holiday for me as we did much of our travelling by train, covering the West Highland line, The Kyle Line and the far north line. We also used ferries and one of them was from Balloch Pier to Tarbet and this was our trip on Maid of the Loch.

Actually, back then she was still a comparative youngster for she had been built in 1953 – the last paddle steamer built in Britain. Interestingly (to me at any rate) was that she was made as a construction kit and delivered to Tarbet by rail for assembly,

The memory of sound shifts in the Glasgow area stick with me. As we awaited the arrival of the Maid at Balloch Pier an excited Glasgow youngster saw her coming and called, ’Mammy, It’s a beg shap’. Or, as we Sassenachs might say, ‘Mummy, it’s a big ship’.

I surely have a photo of The Maid somewhere. This was the era of half frame colour slides on my little Canon Demi camera.

What I have here is a bit of the sharp end and a view of Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond.


I have driven up past Loch Lomond several times since and I have to say I find it hard to actually get to the banks to find out if they are ‘bonny’. But on Maid of the Loch it was a glorious experience and I am delighted to have made that trip. Yet I do have one regret for it means there is a part of the West Highland railway – the bit alongside Loch Long – that I have still never travelled.

Aunt Ruth acquires a Postcard

November 7, 2013

Many of the collection of postcards are very definitely family by origin but here’s one sent from someone – I have no idea who – to someone else who is not a family member. Well, it is a lovely card.


Now I have had a lovely experience of Loch Lomond – the time I travelled it on the paddle steamer called Maid of the Loch. On other visits I have found the banks to be less than bonny – but I have been travelling by car and there really seem to be so few places to stop for casual passers-by. But this artistic card portrays an idyllic scene quite delightfully.

The card was sent and has a message.


The card was sent to Miss M Stonley of The Gables, in Bexhill by L S. in the summer of 1912.

Looking up on the 1911 census we can see that Miss Stonley was running a small, private school  for children aged 6 to 9. My Great Aunt Ruth, older sister of my grandfather, was the cook there when my dad was little in the 1920s and she must have acquired the card for my dad’s, or more probably his sister’s collection. Ruth was a spinster at the time and it seems she quite doted on her nephew and niece.

My dad, in his memories, wrote about visits to Miss Stonley’s school.

In my childhood she was cook at The Gables in Cantelupe Road, advertised as a ‘Pre-Preparatory School for Boys aged 4 to 7’ .I understood that these were children of parents who lived in unhealthy parts of the Empire; I wonder now whether some were there on account of unorthodox family backgrounds. The school evidently met a need because it was always full.

I sometime visited The Gables when the boys and the two Mistresses were away. The semi-basement kitchen housed one of those massive cast-iron kitchen ranges that one sees today preserved in Stately Homes open to the public. It must have shifted a good deal of coal. I knew of houses with electric front door bells; this one had one loud bell but many bell pushes and an indicator high up in the kitchen showed which one had been pressed. There was also a speaking tube between the upstairs dining room and the kitchen and, with Aunt Ruth’s help I was allowed to try it. If the dining room wanted to talk to the kitchen the bung, which contained a whistle, was pulled out of the mouthpiece on the wall and the caller blew into the mouthpiece. This blew the corresponding whistle in the kitchen whereupon a maid withdrew the bung and applied an ear to the tube. Speech could then be transmitted downward and by interchanging mouths and ears, replies or questions could pass upwards. The bungs were tightly replaced when conversation was over.

I think I was presented to the proprietors/teachers -Miss Biggleston and Miss Stonley; I have a hazy memory of these somewhat forbidding ladies. The staff included the Matron who probably did most of the work in caring for the boys. She caused me semantic confusion because, while a matron, was clearly a sort of nurse, advertisements for womens’s clothes described some as suitable for ‘matrons’. I did not know at the time that they meant middle-aged women in general.

Any relatives of Miss Mary Stonley out there?