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History of Achachairdeis

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: –

  • Guides must be in organized companies or parties under the command of a competent Guider in uniform. Guides must wear uniform whenever possible.
  • The allocated area is only to be entered by the prescribed routes. No trespassing beyond these areas is allowed.
  • Fires may only be lit under the supervision of a Guider.
  • No flowers to be picked. No trees or branches of trees to be cut.  Birds’ eggs are not to be touched.
  • Camping out for the night is not allowed.
  • All paper, litter and refuse to be properly buried and the area left in the same condition as found.
  • The Gamekeeper has instructions to ask for permits and to see that the rules therein are complied with. Any Company not adhering to these rules is liable to have permits cancelled.

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:

  • The building had to be constructed of timber framing, clad with 3/4” Western Red Cedar weatherboarding.
  • Floor to be 7/8” tongued and grooved whitewood.
  • External doors and windows also to be of Red Cedarwood.
  • Roof to be clad in sarking covered with green Rubberoid felt tiles.
  • No ceiling to be provided.
  • All external woodwork is to receive two coats of Weatherseal.
  • Four WC’s, four wash hand basins and a 30” sink are to be supplied and fitted.
  • Storage tank to provide 200 gallons to be placed in the roof space.
  • Septic tank to be constructed adjacent to hut.

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, 9th May 1964

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.


Caladh started as a dream the guiders of Drumchapel District had when they camped with their guides, thinking it would be great to have a hut that leaders could sit in at night and make tea and something to eat when the girls were in bed.

Following the tragic bus accident on 18th September 1994, money was gifted from various Trusts and individuals and it was decided to build a shelter as a memorial.  “Caladh”, meaning Safe Haven in gaelic, was officially opened on Sunday 18th September 1996 by Scottish Chief Commissioner, Mrs Gillian Robertson and dedicated to the memory of guides Laura Cullen, Catherine McKnight and Margaret-Ann Riddick and guiders Rene Dougall and Mary McGresken who sadly lost their lives in the accident.


Fasgadh was built with the intention of giving girls with disabilities the same residential opportunities and adventures as their friends in their unit and our specialist additional needs units.  Girls can enjoy being outside under the canopy whilst staying dry.   “Fasgadh” meaning Shelter in Gaelic, was officially opened on 30th September 2001.



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 – 3,000 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 – Napier Brownie House painted

1996 – Caladh opened on 18th September by Scottish Chief Commissioner, Mrs Gillian Robertson

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

2004 – Brownie 90th Anniversary Birthday camp

2004 – Campsite 40th Birthday celebrations

2005 – County Camp

2008 – County Camp “Xperience”

2012 – County Camp “Aspire”

2014 – Campsite 50th Birthday celebrations

2016 – County Camp “Rockin’ Rio”

2017 – Napier House Leaders rooms refurbished

2018 – Regional Camp “Strathclyde Down Under”

2018 – Napier House 50th Birthday celebrations

2019 – County Camp “Girlguiding Glasgow and Beyond”

2020 – Napier House, Fasgadh & Caladh outside painted

2021 – Napier House kitchen and playroom refurbished