After I gave my talk in Ayr On Wednesday I was given some photocopied papers and two great photos at the end of a long day. I had driven from home to Ayr that day 4 hours and set up barely had some good and onto the hall for 1830. My head was pretty fried and I am not sure who gave me them but it was one of the group named above. This wee piece of paper means so much to many thanks as this is a great addition to my memory of walking in the Galloway hills as very young 14 year old. I was in the 7 th Ayr Boys Brigade at the time and a very small skinny lad.
I look back at it and the memories come back just. I think my head hard drive has forgotten so much due my crazy life in the mountains?
Yet when I read the account that I was given it’s in great detail. I was the youngest along with John Gibson and we made up the numbers. We only did two days each I did not remember that bit amazing-how the memory is so hazy. The Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions had to have 4 for safety we were pretty young the others were all about 16. We carried the world on our backs the gear was heavy but I was so excited about this trip and so proud to be making up the numbers. I loved the hills and camping the stoves and the physical effort involved.
The diary was so incredible it describes the journey in such detail. I think David Hamilton did it it’s so eye opening . In these days there were no mobile phones, GPS and all the gear was heavy. We had trained for this 50 miler and as the youngest I think it was hard going but we were all so excited, we were getting a chance of going out with the big lads. Looking back it not a big walk but the ground is so rough and lots of plantations with the forestry. Add in our youth the big bags and the weather it would be an adventure.
We would be dropped off at Straiton at 0845 after getting dropped off. We had a tent two stoves and food for 4 days and 3 nights out. It would be big bags for a little lad. I cannot remember much but the report says it was windy as we headed up to the memorial to the Crimean War above the village where we had a break out of the wind. It was then set off for Knockdon farm over a fairly undulating piece of countryside. The report says it was hard to keep to our route. By 1045 we passed through the farm and on up the path to Loch Bradan where we had lunch at the waterworks. From here it was tough ground to Loch Brechbowie from here to Loch Bradan it was soggy and wet walking. From here we followed the high ground and saw great views of Dalmellington and the Merrick. The remaining part of the day was clear to us. We passed Loch Goosie and the head of Loch Doon just visible to the East. We scrambled down the drainage ditches and the Loch levels were fairly high at the dam. (This would prove to be costly later) We made camp at 1630 at the new Forestry Bridge where the Carrick Lane meets Loch Doon. The campsite was good flat and some 20 feet from the river. The weather has been so far dry and we thought we were in for a good night. Yes it was all going so well it was Friday 13 th and anything can happen. After our meal we tried to heat some water for washing up whereupon our Primus gave up the ghost. The washer on the plunger had perished we had one Gas stove in total and we felt rather helpless. Life was to get worse.
We heard a vehicle at 1930 rumbling across the New Bridge and we managed to ask the driver if he could make a phone call from Dalmellington for a new stove to our contacts in Ayr, He was so helpful and would not take any money for the call. No mobile phones then and what a kind man.
It had started to rain at 1930 and things would change – to be continued.
Primus The Pressure Stove
The paraffin, (kerosene), pressure stove first appeared in 1892 when a Swede, Frans Wilhelm Lindqvist, registered his ‘Sootless Kerosene Stove’. The design burned Paraffin gas which was vapourised from the liquid fuel in tubes forming the burner head. His design was so successful a Company was formed to manufacture the stove and
‘Primus’, (Latin for first), appeared to the World.
The first model was the No. 1 stove and the range rapidly expanded into many dozens of models aimed at different markets. With Amundsen using a ‘Primus’ to reach the South Pole and Hillary taking ‘Primus’ stoves to climb Mount Everest the word became used by many people to describe any
pressure camping stove. In 1962 the paraffin division of Primus was sold to Optimus but continued to manufacture stoves under the name ‘Primus Trading’.
The Company was closed in 1972 and the range consolidated just to Optimus models.
In 1966 Primus joined with one of their rivals, Sievert, and concentrated on L.P.G., (Liquified Petroleum Gas), camping stoves as well as blowlamps. In 1997 Primus re-entered the liquid fuel stove market with some excellent designs of multi-fuel stoves still available today.
The Optimus Company had also been making a range of stoves since the late 1890’s and continued the traditional paraffin stove right up to 1996 when the range was gradually withdrawn to concentrate on the range of Petrol, (Gasoline), and multi-fuel stoves manufactured today.
The basic Lindqvist burner design was copied by manufacturers all over the world, many adopting the same method of numbering their models by the burner size and style, ie. 00, Nol, No5.
This variation in models makes stoves appealing to collectors, some prefer to find one model from many different manufacturers, some try to collect every model from one manufacturer. Further interest is added by long running models ‘evolving’ over the years.
A glance down a list of some brands shows the wide choice such as Monitor, Burmos,Parasene, Buflam, Valor, Royal Standard, Thermidor, Kenrick, (U.K.), Optimus. Radius,Primus, Svea, Prince, (Sweden), Coleman,(U.S.A.), Meva, (Czechoslovakia), Metacel,(Australia), Petromax, (Germany), Hipolito, (Portugal), Anchor, Shinabro, (China),Manaslu (Japan).
Great comments from my pal Reg Stuart
“Memories of D of E hikes. As you say equipment heavy. Ditched 4 man tents for 2 man to squeeze in emergency as after first hike (and we were used to camping with scouts) discovered bridges & howfs & boulders – & then the the rain came as you say 😂
Gas runs out so eat cold food out of tins. Modified rucsacs too as you learn they crap. Put corks on string round old wide brim hat & throw off as a pain & put up with midgies 🤣🤣 could go on & on.
Oh getting caught by Sgt John Duff for no being right place & told his dog Julas to remind him to check our ages when got back to station as wee scrounge of lift to Mar Lodge from Aberdeen MRT 🍺🙄”
Thanks Reg /