At 11.15am on 1st July 1963 at an Extraordinary Meeting of the County Committee of City of Glasgow Girl Guides, it was agreed to offer £2,740 for the 15.196-acre site we now know as “Achachairdeis”.
Where did Glasgow Guides camp before Achachairdeis?
Bothwell Estate, Auchendennan (just beside the Youth Hostel) or Mains Estate; Mrs. Douglas of Mains Estate in Milngavie allowed Guides to camp on a portion of her land. The following rules had to be obeyed: –
Many sites had been looked at by many Guiders until Miss Helen Kernochan was shown an advert for a field at Gartocharn. However, as she was about to take a party of Guides to Sweden, she asked her friend, Miss Kathleen Shearer to go and look over the area.
There was a bit of competition for the site – a local vet was considering the field for a house and some animals. The site included a small wooded area at the top – known as Gentleman’s Yard – originally the place where gentlemen would go to fight duels. In the midst of negotiations (during which there was some disquiet about the conditions applying to grazing rights and fencing), Miss Bell (County Commissioner), Mrs. Taylor (ACC), Miss Shearer and Miss Kernochan looked at an alternative site at Gartshore. This site was part of a walled estate in a quiet part of the country – Kirkintilloch! In the end, the site at Gartocharn was chosen and fortunately the seller accepted the Glasgow offer.
At the time of purchase, there was no hut, no toilets, no water, no electricity, and no car park. The County Council of Dunbartonshire was very clear about EXACTLY how the hut should look:
Fortunately, Miss Kernochan had two brothers: one an architect and the other a plumber!
How did Achachairdeis get its name?
Miss Kernochan wanted a name to reflect the ethos of the site. The Scouts already had Auchengillan – Field of Youth. She went back to her old school and asked a Gaelic speaking teacher at Govan High for help. He suggested Achachairdeis – Field of Friendship.
The opening was organized by Mrs. Taylor (ACC), Miss Kernochan and Division Camp Advisers.
Leaving nothing to chance, there was a rehearsal at 11am and the real ceremony began in the afternoon. 300 guides were assembled in two lines and guiders in almost a complete circle (not a horseshoe). Dame Elizabeth Hoyer-Millar (Scottish Chief Commissioner) and Miss Bell (County Commissioner) arrived at 2.55pm and were led through the double line of guides (who were in full uniform). After Dame Elizabeth declared the campsite open, three guides stepped forward to unfurl the flag. The Rev G.L. Lugton dedicated the site and the Rev Father Walsh was also in attendance. Lady McCance said a few words and then planted a tree. The vote of thanks was given by Mrs William Taylor (ACC). The guests were then led down to the hut where Miss Bell pulled the World flag from its position to reveal the name of the site. Everyone made their way in one door of the hut for a cup of tea and moved out the other door. There was a large marquee for other visitors where they could purchase a cup of tea sold at 4d per cup and packets of biscuits at 3d each.
Mrs. Phillips, the Brownie Adviser, opened the Brownie House (Napier House) on 6th April 1968. The ceremony was based on the opening of the campsite and the new Brownie rhyme in the new Brownie handbook.
Miss N Taylor Mrs. Drummond Miss Jean Renfrew
Miss Cathie Stephen Miss Helen Kernochan Mrs. Therese Gault
Miss Nanette McLellan Miss Marie Gilfillan
Miss Jeanette Blakeway Mrs. Janette Hutchinson
Miss Fiona Harold Mrs. Clare Williams
1964 – Campsite opening
1965 – Mrs. Alison Greenlees visits the site
1966 – International Camp
1967 – Estimates sought for a Brownie Hut
1968 – Opening of Brownie Hut
1969 – Winter grazing income £40
1970 – 16 Campers Licenses tested
1971 – Standard of uniform very poor
1972 – Discussions held about flush toilets
1973 – Mains Reunion
1974 – Central heating installed in hut
1975 – International Camp
1976 – Archery introduced
1977 – 3000 camp badges bought for £207
1978 – Two cherry trees planted, a gift from a guider in Saudi Arabia
1979 – £600 spent on new tents
1980 – Only white toilet rolls to be used at site
1981 – New bogey purchased with solid wheels: £82
1982 – New marquee bought £650
1983 – Site fees 40p per head per night
1984 – International Camp. New World Flag for campsite
1985 – Birthday Camp
1986 – Trench dug to alleviate drainage problem
1987 – Committee starts to consider solid shelters
1988 – International Camp
1989 – Storm damage – four wood shelters down
1990 – 634 guides camped
1991 – Floorboards at side door of hut reinforced
1992 – Investigation into woodworm in hut
1993 – Toilet block built
1994 – Brownie House painted
1995 – Caladh opened
1996 – County Camp “Come and Mix in ‘96”
1997 – International Camp – 250 guides and guiders attended
1998 – Paths laid to facilitate wheelchair access
1999 – Camp hut emptied in preparation for reorganization
2000 – Drawings of Brownie House extension submitted
2001 – Fasgadh opened Sunday 30 September
2002 – Storage areas for division equipment completed
2003 – County Camp “Superbowl”
2004 – Paths established and car park upgraded
2005 – County Camp
2008 – County Camp “Xperience”
2012 – County Camp “Aspire”
2014 – Campsite 50th Birthday celebrations
2016 – County Camp “Rockin’ Rio”
2018 – Regional Camp “Strathclyde Down Under”
2019 – County Camp “Girlguiding Glasgow and Beyond”