At the 20th Anniversary Dinner in 2008, Mary Finlayson spoke about Bearsden and Milngavie Ramblers Club History and has kindly provided her notes about that talk to be reproduced on the website.
“Three names are connected with the formation of this Group – Bill Forsyth, June Kerr and Jeanette Baird – all Members of The Glasgow Group. Bill Forsyth was the Secretary for Ramblers Scotland and his remit was to take the pressure off big City Groups by forming new ones on the periphery of those cities. Because a number of The Glasgow Group Members lived in Bearsden and Milngavie, Bill decided to target those areas and to hold a Public Meeting to ascertain interest. This took place on the 7th June 1988 and was held in Kessington Public Hall. (A copy of the advertisement that appeared in the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald on 3rd June 1988 is reproduced below). More than 100 people attended. Judging by the enthusiasm for forming a local Group, Bill immediately began to draft a plan to that end. June and Jeanette joined the Steering Committee and June was appointed as Chairman and Secretary. Both these ladies were Committee Members for 17 years. A little later a Constitution was drawn up and Office Bearers were appointed. By this time Bill and his family had moved to Pitlochry and he was no longer involved.
A programme of walks began at weekends and Wednesday evenings convenient for members who were working. Later, as Members began to retire Wednesday morning walks overlapped with the evening ones as fewer Members joined in these. Early Programmes were simple black and white, printed on utility paper and featured an appropriate sketch on the cover. Today the Programmes are on glossy paper and the covers feature beautiful photographs taken by various members. Most of the walks were at Higher Grades – A, B+ and B but few at C level. At one time there was a reluctance to lead Lower Grade walks as these were regarded as lacking challenge. Now there are more C and C+ walkers but there is also a small group of very fit High Grade walkers.
Shortly after the “birth” of the Group, Social Events were arranged – Curry Nights, 10 Pin Bowling, Chinese Meals and, eventually the famous Burns Suppers. There was also a monthly Pub Night at local watering places. As well as socialising, in June 1991 some Members took part in a Sponsored Walk through the Lairig Ghru and raised £1205 for the Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund for Children.
Long weekend-away walks at the May and September holidays were very popular and these have included trips to the Lake District, Malhamdale in Yorkshire, Arran, Strathpeffer and Oban. Meticulous organisation by Lilias and Andrew Summers who do all the “behind the scenes” spadework have resulted in Members having a thoroughly good time.
The Bearsden and Milngavie Group has blossomed and flourished over the years. There are over 300 members who enjoy a variety of walks and a spirit of firm friendship permeates all of these.”