Memories of Kinlochard - James Lyon
I grew up in Kinlochard. My dad (Jimmy) was a forester. We lived in Dalchon, 100 yards from the old Primary School. I lived in Kinlochard for 11 years but in 1983 my family moved back up to our home town of Oban.
I have loads of memories of growing up in Kinlochard. My earliest memories are of Mrs Carter from the the youth hostel taking us hill climbing up the glen behind Ledard Farm and then we would all tuck in to hard boiled eggs! I remember during the summer after school we would rush down for a cool dip in the loch. We would dive off the old jetty at the boating club. We loved swimming in the loch, taking boat trips out to the island and messing about with canoes. To get to the loch we would take a shortcut through the field behind Dalchon. But, before doing this we had to make sure the coast was clear because waiting for us was the dreaded 'Wilma', a very crazy but very clever ewe. It was always a frantic race to get to the loch in time or else you were sheep butted into it! Believe me that sheep was very territorial!
And yes, I remember 'Bambi' the deer (who had one horn growing from its forehead like a unicorn and thought it was a horse) would many a time have us stranded on the roof of the bus shelter for hours on end, waiting for us to come down so he could have a friendly play with us? That deer was like our village mascot and was a very big tourist attraction.
Every year a few of us would put on a show for children and adults with disabilities and special needs. We would let them ride horses from Ledard farm in the field opposite the primary school. I would give them a tune on my bagpipes then we would have a dance and sing-along in the village hall, accompanied by Freddie Wilson on his keyboard. It was a great community feel.
Every year we had the sheep dog trials in the field opposite Ledard Farm. All the locals would enjoy a dram or two in the beer tent followed by a dance in the Altskeith Hotel which would go on into the small hours of the night.
Since leaving, I've been back to Kinlochard a couple of times, most recently in summer 2006 with my wife. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were just on our way back down from Couligarten when I heard a very familiar voice talking about french cuisine to a couple of tourists, I knew straight away who it was, it was my old school teacher, It was amazing to see her again. It really made our visit to Kinlochard worthwhile.
After living in Bristol for nearly 14 years, I decided to move back up to Scotland and now live near Linlithgow, West Lothian with my wife and son. Being a short journey from Kinlochard we will certainly be visiting again in the near future. It’s true what they say, when you move away from a place the heart grows fonder.