60th Anniversary, Shelter Stone Reunion.

A significant event in the history of the Strathaven Scouts’ outdoor activities was the visit in the summer of 1958 by a party of eleven scouts and their leaders to the Shelter Stone in the heart of the Cairngorms . This was the highlight of their six days wild camping expedition during which they also climbed Ben Macdui, Scotland’s second highest mountain. The Shelter Stone is a large boulder reputed to weigh over 1400 tons on the western shore of Loch Avon which provides shelter for about ten people. Some of the Scouts slept under it  overnight.

Return visits were organised to it by the Friends of Strathaven Scouts to celebrate the 40thand 50thanniversaries of the event.

The 60thanniversary was marked by a reunion of seven of the original eleven when they met together over a weekend at the beginning of July in Pitlochry.

Supported by one or two members of FOSS and Robert Manby, a staunch supporter of the Strathaven Scouts who was to act as their mountain guide, the aim was for as many as possible to try to replicate their youthful venture and re- visit the Stone. With all of the original Scouts now in their mid seventies and the leaders both over eighty this was perhaps an ambitious challenge and not surprisingly some of the party chose lesser challenging walks.

However Jim Begg and Iain Park, the leaders of the 1958 party and Jonathan Maillie, one of the Scouts, made it successfully to the Stone and back. It was a warm and sunny day but a light breeze made it ideal for the outing.

Jonathon had come over from his home in Vancouver for the occasion. He has been involved in Scouting in Canada for most of his time there.

Some of the party had not met each other since their days in the Scouts and there was much chat about these times and reminiscences about the Shelter Stone trip which had made a great impression on them all.

After the success of the various activities on the Saturday everyone met up in the evening for an excellent dinner at the Moulin Hotel.

Pictures can be found on the Gallery page. If anyone has other photos to share, please use the Contacts page to arrange file transfer.

Shelter Stone 60th Anniversary Reunion

The proposed Shelter Stone 60th Anniversary Reunion will take place as planned over the weekend 6th to 8th July 2018. Seven of us from the original 1958 party hope to take part. The recent FOSS weekend at Pitlochry was very successful and three of those present were successful in making the trip into the Shelter Stone. Although not everyone was on form that day, Ian Gow whose idea it was to have a trial run, made it there and back.

Please find attached some preliminary information about the weekend. I’ll get back to you with more details once I know how many others are coming along to support us. Time now to step up the training!!  Preliminary Details to Participants

Please get back to Iain Park if there are any queries meantime.

Reunion Weekends

Annual Climbing Reunions have been held each year since 1996. Initially these were day outings but in recent years they have developed in to fairly active and very enjoyable weekend affairs.Climbing has featured prominently in the Group’s outdoor activities for nearly 50 years and the first FOSS climbing reunion to Schiehallion in October 1996 was to mark the 40th anniversary of what is considered to be the first ‘official’ Scout hill climb – of that mountain.

1995 – Day climb of Schiehallion to celebrate 40 years of Scout climbing – in today’s party was Jim Begg who was among those on the first climb of Schiehallion in 1955.

1996 – Day climb of Bynack Mor and Cairngorm.

1997 – Weekend camp at Loch Pattack near Ben Alder and climb of Carn Dearg, joining Iain Park in finishing his second round of Munros.

1998 – Camping weekend at the Shelter Stone beside Loch Avon in the heart of the Cairngorms to mark the 40th anniversary of the Troop expedition there in 1958 – 3 of the original party were present on this occasion – Jim Begg, Donald Macleod and Iain Park.

1999 – Very wet and extremely challenging hike in to Aultbeithe Youth Hostel in Glen Affric and climb by some of An Socach.

2000 – As sunny and warm as last year’s outing was wet and miserable – a hike along Loch Hourn to Barrisdale in Knoydart – a few climbed Luinne Bheinn.

2001 – Weekend at Lui’s cottage in Glen Etive and climb of Ben Lui. There was a second outing this year to the Torridon area including a climb of Beinn Eighe.

2002 – Day climb of Ben Nevis by three of the more senior members of FOSS – a very wet and windy climb.

2003 – Again to Lui’s cottage and this time ascents of Ben Starav and Ben Challum.

2004 – Weekend at Strawberry Cottage in Glen Affric. Lots of Munros climbed on this occasion in this fine part of Scotland.

2005 – Weekend at Milehouse Cottage beside Loch Inch and climb of Ben MacDui – last climbed by two of the party on the Shelter Stone expedition of 1958.

2006 – Weekend at Black Rock Cottage in Glen Coe. FOSS members joined on this occasion with a party of Thursday Scouts who camped in Glen Etive. Climb of Buachaille Etive Mhor by the combined party.

2007 – Weekend based at the SMC’s Raeburn Hut near Laggan, attended by 13 FOSS members and 7 members of the Explorer Unit and with other climbers joining Iain Park in finishing his 3rd round of the Munros on Stob Ban in the Grey Corries.

2008 – Return visit to Milehouse Cottage, attended by six FOSS members – walk in for 50th anniversary visit to Shelter Stone including two members of the original Scout party in 1958 – climb out over Cairngorm summit

2009 – back to Blackrock cottage in Glencoe – 12 in the party – poor weather but various Munros climbed and an excellent meal in the Bridge of Orchy Hotel

2010- a break from tradition and our first reunion south of the border in the Lake District, based at Kentmere. Thirteen attended. Highlights – an excellent round of the Kentmere Horseshoe and a memorable meal provided at the Maggs Howe farmhouse.

2011- third time at the LSCC Mileshouse cottage at Loch Inch. Weather mixed but a successful climb of the Glen Feshie Munros and catering of the usual high standard.

2012 – a new venue – John Addy’s holiday home in Pitlochry – good company and goof food as usual and a fine climb of Schiehallion

2013 – Return to John Addy’s holiday home in Pitlochry – sixteen in the party including Doc Podboy from the USA and Tom Sutherland from India. This year’s Munro Geal Charn at Drumochter in miserable conditions but morale restored with an excellent meal in the Moulin Hotel.

2014 – Back again to Pitlochry – another great weekend with some new faces – good company and good food as usual and two of the Monadh Liath Munros climbed.

2014 FOSS Reunion Weekend at Pitlochry (Report by John Miller)

On Friday 16th May a number of members of Friends of Strathaven Scouting met for the second year running at John Addy’s house in Pitlochry for the start of the FOSS weekend.

Members of FOSS come from” awe ‘airts” including the USA, who again this year were represented by a very good friend of Strathaven Scouts and FOSS, Robert Podboy (Doc as he is known to everyone). Doc is always keen to meet members of the troop both past and present since he has hosted a number of visits to the USA and has taken part in visits to Scotland, Wales and England with his own troop from Waynesburgh , Pennsylvania. The group consisted of Iain Park, John Addy with Retrievers Morna and Blue, Graham Stewart, Donald and Jess Macleod and their two grandchildren, Bibby & John Miller and Murphy their black Labrador, Ian Gow, Miles Hutchison, Doc Podboy and first timers Alistair and Ann Ogilvie.

After everyone had exchanged the usual greetings with one another and had enjoyed something to relax with, Bibby Miller provided dinner for all, which got the evening and weekend off to a very good start.

With the usual excitement and anticipation, plans were made for the following day led by Iain Park with contributions from all those who were there.

One group decided to use the local area to walk whilst another group were keen to bag as many “Munros” as they could, although two at the very most were expected. The second group of “Baggers” would head for Newton More (Iain Park, Miles Hutchison, John Addy, Ian Gow, Alistair and Ann Ogilvie, John Miller and Donald Macleod) along with the three dogs.
After much discussion and laughter FOSS retired to bed for a good night’s sleep, ready for the next day.

John Miller thought Graham Naismith had been left outside since things were just a tad quieter than usual, but later he found out Graham could not make it, unfortunately.


The “Day is Dawning and the bacon is frying” the cooks were singing from the Addie kitchen and, oh, what a breakfast was served up to the group, plenty and good was the verdict with everyone enjoying it before they entered into the activity of the day.
Remember, one group staying locally and the other off to Newton More.

The second group arrived at the destination, set up to move off with the dogs with the intent of securing one Munro and two possibly. The climb was made in poor conditions getting worse as the first summit was reached, and the first Munro was “in the bag”, A’ Chailleach. Lunch was taken with the usual photograph but still with everyone in tack. A quick decision was made by “Parky and Addy,” with Morna and Blue, to set off and bag another Munro, Carn Sgulain with the others opting to return to base camp after a cold lunch taken behind a rock cairn for shelter. Some “Chittery” conversation and then off back to base heading back down in miserable weather.

Murphy, the black Labrador decided to have a bit of a chase, no one was sure where, but he travelled quite a long distance away from the group before deciding to come back after a wide search by the party returning downhill.

Everyone arrived safely and Miles and John M decided to wait on Iain and John who returned feeling the effects of the longer walk. The group complete then made their way to back to base to join up with others in anticipation of another good meal, this time at the Moulin Hotel.

No disappointments, in the day or the meal, with plenty to talk about during and after dinner back at the ranch. Longer nights have been experienced but since this was an experienced group, the night was as long as a good night should be. Early morning, with some little stiffness about, brought another fine breakfast and more subtle chat about the previous day’s experience, which set everyone up for the day. There was plenty “Chat” about the previous day and how it had been greatly appreciated by all including the veteran Munro Bagger, Miles Hutchison, who is still in great shape and who said afterwards he was looking forward to next year.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and so the group broke up to find their way home having enjoyed “The FOSS Weekend” once again. See you all next year. Oh, by the way, if you haven’t tried it yet, think about it for next year (2015).

The Strathaven Scouts Centenary Book By Iain Park

It has been a long time in coming but “The Strathaven Scouts – A Centenary History” was published in November 2013.

It is a high quality hard backed production of 256 pages including over 200 photographs covering the 100 years. 300 copies have being printed and will sell at £14.99 each. The cost has been able to be kept to what the FOSS Committee thinks is a reasonable one thanks to a generous grant received to help defray the publication costs from the South Lanarkshire Rural Partnership LEADER programme.

I wish to thank all members of FOSS who have assisted me with written items for the book, information, and photographs or in any way over the last few years and also the members of the FOSS Committee and of the Scout Executive for their support of the project and, in the latter case, for their promise of financial support, if needed.

I am pleased to report that the book contains a foreword in the form of a letter from the Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, congratulating the Strathaven Group on its 100 years of successful Scouting. As I have said in my own introduction to the book I expect that there will inevitably be errors or omissions in it despite intensive proof reading and editing and I apologise to anyone whose name appears incorrectly or may not be included or if I have left out something which others may consider to have been of importance. I hope that those who read it will find the book to be an accurate account of the Strathaven Group’s 100 years and that for FOSS members it will bring back happy memories of their time in the Scouts.

Download a leaflet including ordering information (pdf file)

Millennium Camp

A unique but highly successful event, held to celebrate the Millennium, was a traditional Scout Camp on one of our favourite local camp sites at Waterside near Coalburn. What made it unique was the make-up of the six patrols. Members from each of the decades from the 1950’s to the present day made up the six patrols who took part.There was intense competition between the various generations of Strathaven scouts to prove who were best at the traditional camp skills of campcraft, cooking, fire-lighting, pioneering and campfire singing and sketches. Each patrol thought it was the best but what the camp showed was that the camping skills of the Troop have been maintained at a consistently high standard over the past half-century- as they were in the first 50 years.