85th Greenock & District
In this Centenary year, Inverkip Scout Group celebrates its 80th year.
The 85th Renfrewshire held their first meeting on Friday 27th May 1923 in the West Kirk hall The Troop was started by Arthur Muir of Inverkip House who would become the Commissioner for Renfrew County within the course of the next eight years.
In August 1931, the Scouts began recording their weekly activities in diaries, using sketches and photographs. A series of these records have been gathered by Scouts
such as :- George wham (our oldest surviving Scout – invested 8th February 1935), Charlie Mitchell (invested 3rd November 1939), Luke Masterson (Leader 1962 – 1983), Ian Cowe (Leader 1983 to present) and Jim Brown. The collection can be viewed by clicking on to the Photo Album attached at the end of this history.
By 1932, the Troop had moved its meeting place to Arthur Muir’s home at Inverkip House where they would remain for 19 years.
On 14th April 1933, the Troop reformed and were registered as Sea Scouts. Some new activities were introduced. They learned how to carry out marine rescue procedures by launching a rocket with 180 feet of rope attached to it. Such was their skill that they won a national Sea Scout competition.
Through the 1930’s, the Sea Scout Troop enjoyed many activities and outdoor pursuits. By 1935, they had two boats – a ‘jolly boat’ and a kayak. The mainstay of their Scouting programme included Ambulance training, Signalling and Fire Drill. Fire Drill took many forms such as running out hoses to hydrants, ladder manoeuvres and jump sheets. Admittedly, it is noted that the ‘lightweights’ did most of the jumping. All the efforts at Fire Drill paid off. In 1938, they assisted with putting out a fire at Ravenscraig Station and received a letter of thanks from the London, Midland & Scottish Railway Company.
Also in 1938, Ian Archibald, nicknamed ‘Baldie’, gained his King Scout Award and was presented to the newly crowned King George 6th and Queen Mary in Edinburgh. The young Princess Elizabeth seemed to take a particular interest in him.
Entering the 1940’s and the ‘War Years’ the Scouts enjoyed poking fun at Hitler by producing a series of humorous sketches, saying things like –
‘Just now, he’s the man of the moment.
If we had him to ourselves, he’d be a man of the past’.
Sadly and in 1946, Arthur Muir died of illness. He was succeeded by Jack Plunkett and then by Kenny Mitchell. The Group continued to meet at Inverkip House until 1950 when they moved to Inverkip Primary School.
Kenny continued as Scout Leader until 1962 when he was succeeded by Luke Masterson.
Over some months, the Troop transitioned from Sea Scouts back to Land Scouts. By this time, Gordon Kerr had taken from Willie Plunkett as Cub Master. Gordon continued to run the Cubs for over twenty years.
Through the 60’s and 70’s, the Troop enjoyed land activities. Luke, assisted by Ronnie Maxton and Richard Seaton, arranged hillwalking and camping trips. They explored many areas of Scotland such as Glen Nevis, Arran, Rhum, Harris, Loch Fyne and the Lairig Gru,
In 1980, Luke became GSL and was replaced, as Scout Leader, by Richard Seaton until he married in 1983 and moved away. In turn, Richard was replaced, as Scout Leader, by Ian Cowe. Ian’s first summer camp was a Barge Trip on the Norfolk Broads followed by a standing camp at Blackwaterfoot in Arran.
Meanwhile the cubs continued to expand under the leadership of Maureen Elliot, Jim Lang and Wendy Yarr.
The Beaver Colony was started by Liz Campbell and Morag Cowe.
During the 90’s, hillwalking and camping continued. On a more grand scale, with the help of skilled parents, the Troop rebuilt an old ruin into what is now their bothy on the outskirts of the village. When they are not camping at Everton, they are often to be found at the bothy.
In 1992, the Chief Scout visited Everton. During this visit, the Scouts won the Grand Gun Carriage Race. In the same year, two Scouts joined the Area Expedition to the Pyrenees,
In 1995, hillwalking, camping, abseiling and climbing continued, many climbing the equivalent height of Everest one or more times.
In 2000, after extensive fund raising and with the assistance of parents and Sir Houston Shaw-Stewart, the Troop became fully kilted for the first time in its history. Their chosen tartan is Hunting Stewart in tribute to Ardgowan Estate.
Fundraising continued in 2001 when a group of Venture Scouts and Leaders went parachuting. Also in 2001, another Everest Challenge allows yet more Scouts to experience winter hillwalking in the Scottish mountains. During their Minibus Expedition, they climbed a total of 13,511 feet in all corners of Scotland in miserable weather.
In 2002, four leaders raised £1,030 by climbing ‘the Three Peaks’ (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) in under twenty hours during one day in May. No speed limits were broken during the Event.
In June 2006, Shirly Cairney was appointed GSL. Shirley’s philosophy from the beginning was to build on and attract young people within the expanding communities of Inverkip and Wemyss Bay.As a result on a very special day – the birthday of Baden Powell (22nd February 2007) she successfully launched a new Beaver Colony in Wemyss Bay as a ‘B’ Colony to the 85th R & I. Ten weeks later the the Colony had 20Beavers, 5 of whom were girls – a first for the 85th.
By this Centenary Year 2007, Inverkip Scouts have met Royalty, they have been Sea Scouts and Land Scouts, they have laughed at Hitler and shot rockets at each other. They have built themselves a home and explored the world including Australia, Canada, Ireland, Austria Germany, France, Spain and all round the home countries.
They have won national competitions, doused burning buildings and sailed to summer camps towing their boats behind them. They have walked in the Alps, Pyrenees, Himalayas, and Andes. They have climbed Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in under 20 hours. They have entertained hundreds of villagers in their annual Burns Supper’s and drawn tourists away from Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany to hear the skirl of the pipes.
They have climbed they equivalent height of Everest a great many times and with ASL Carrie Gibson becoming only the 5th Scotswoman to summit Everest itself in May this year, the adventures are set to continue.
The 85th’s own web site can be viewed at :- www.inverkipscouts.org.uk
Click on the image below to view a selection of photographs portraying the history of the Group.