History of Cumbernauld & Kilsyth Ramblers - written by Gwen Beales
Up until the early 1980s, there was only one branch of the Ramblers' Association in Scotland, known as the Scottish Group. Bruce Riddell and his wife, Rita, who lived in Dundonald in Ayrshire, were driving forces in getting a Group off the ground in Glasgow. They organised a public meeting in Renfield St Stephen's Church Hall and both Stephen and I attended, volunteered for the committee and led some of the early walks. Before too long, the membership grew due to the large catchment area and a Scottish Officer, Bill Forsyth, was appointed. With this increased membership, the numbers turning out for walks by car (we did not use a bus) became unmanageable and it was decided to form satellite groups. Most of the early groups were formed in areas where members of the Glasgow Group committee lived - so Cumbernauld became one of the early ones.
It was decided to hold a public meeting in the Town Centre early in 1988 and posters were made up and distributed. Only a small number of interested people was expected so the Lesser Town Hall (which in those days was up beside the current library and only held about 50 people at most) was chosen. To our complete astonishment, before too long the hall was full and there was standing room only. Bill Forsyth and I spoke about the Ramblers' Association and asked for volunteers to form a committee.
The first committee consisted of Chair: Gwen Beales Secretary: Susan Griffin Treasurer: Kay Lloyd
Other members: Stephen Beales, Andy Locke, Bill Noble, Ian McGhee, Marion Young, Frank MacKenzie and Ian Jarvis.
A programme of walks was made up and Ian Jarvis led the first one on Sunday, 24 April 1988 entitled "Kilsyth and the Antonine Wall". At the beginning, the programme alternated between Sundays and Saturdays but it became clear that Sunday was the favoured day and this practice continued. Cars were used for transport but later the bus was introduced. The Group went from strength to strength and other days' walks were added to the programme........ and the rest is history!
Today the Cumbernauld & Kilsyth Ramblers are now a well established group with over 165 registered members.
If you would like to Become a Member - further information regarding the different types of memberships and the costs can be found on the Ramblers Website.