A Holiday Of Note - a Memory of Dollar.

I can't pinpoint the year exactly, but it was definitely a year or two before 1953 which was the year I left the UK. I and three friends, student nurses at a hospital in Essex, decided on a holiday in Scotland. We chose Dollarbeg as our base hotel and toured round the whole area, walking in the surrounding countryside and taking bus tours from Stirling - the Dukes Pass tour perhaps being the most memorable, the scenery magnificent and equal to any the world over.  We travelled by train from London to Edinburgh and then on to Dollar. The picture even brings back memories of that train trip when to our horror one girl developed a major allergy - her face swelling up like a balloon and sending us all into a bit of a panic as we didn't know until this happened that she suffered from Angioneurotic Oedema as well as Asthma. Luckily we did have antihistamine tablets, and Asthma sprays with us so the necessity to pull the emergency cord which we had considered for a while was eventually averted.

We all shared a huge bedroom at Dollarbeg and as far as we could tell were just about the only guests there as it was very much out-of-season, and there seldom was anyone else in the lounge or diningroom when we were, although perhaps that was because we had breakfast early so that we could set off on our explorations and often didn't return till early evening. We climbed up to Castle Campbell one day but although I believe it is now something of a tourist attraction it appeared when we reached it to be completely deserted, so we could only wander round the exterior of the ruins. On the way down to the village we found a delightful little Tea Shop - where to our amazement and delight we could have as many cups of tea and eat as much as we desired from their groaning table of pastries and cakes for a set charge.  For nurses used to hospital meals and carting our weekly ration of sugar and butter around in one pound jam jars (half  filled only) and with limited salaries as well ( five pounds a month), this was a gift from the Gods and we visited numerous times thereafter.

I had relatives in Glasgow so took a day off to visit them and remember vividly getting back to Dollar well after dark and finding that the only way of getting back to Dollarbeg from the village was to walk! The road was long and dark with tall trees bordering it on either side...and quite frightening with just a pale moon shining through the branches to light the way...and at one stage despite being completely tone deaf and unable to sing anything in tune I decided to belt out at the top of my lungs every song I knew the words to simply to bolster my courage, and was never more grateful when the outline of Dollarbeg loomed against the sky!

We spent other days in Stirling and the surrounding villages, and a full day on the bus tour through the Dukes Pass getting off in various spots to pick heather and to take photographs, having lunch at a hotel - I can't remember now exactly where it was, but do remember vividly standing on the riverbank and watching the salmon leap up the waterfall either in the grounds of the hotel or very close to it and having the best salmon I have ever tasted for lunch. I still have photos taken at Loch Lomond, soon after the hideous pipes had been installed running up the side of the bank quite spoiling the view across the Loch, Balloch a far cry from what it is to-day, and Loch Katrine.   

We spent a day in Edinburgh on our way back home.  We also went up to the top of the Scott Memorial as I wanted to as Sir Walter is reputedly one of my ancestors. Ironically, although I was unaware of it at the time, many other ancestors came from the Stirling area and the smaller villages we had visited. All went well on the way up the monument (I certainly couldn't attempt it now as one had to be very fit to clamber up all those worn stone steps) and we spent quite some time examining the memorabilia in the top chamber. The way down the narrow winding staicase became a total nightmare when one of our party announced she was scared of heights and after informing us she couldn't go down those stairs again proceeded to pass out on us. Ever tried lugging a semi-conscious near-hysterical person down a narrow spiral staircase that wasn't wide enough for two people to pass one another with ease!!???

Just some of the memories that this photograph of Dollarbeg evoked - Oh, yes and one lttle piece of knowledge we gleaned too whilst at Dollarbeg was that the climate in Dollar itself was such that parents of children stationed in India chose Dollar Academy to send their children to as boarders, as it was one of the only places in UK where tropical plants survived since it was so well protected by the surrounding hills and mountains and the weather was so mild, and their children would find it easier to adjust to the climate there after coming from India. We did see some palm trees but how true the statement about the Academy was I'm not sure.  

Thanks for the memories

Thelma
Johannesburg, South Africa

A memory shared by Thelma Hurly on Jan 26th, 2007. Send Thelma Hurly a message.

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