According to Guthrie Smith, the compact little estate of Carbeth Guthrie was constructed by John Guthrie between 1808 and 1817. The original Carbeth was a two merk land belonging to the Barony of Mugdock. John Guthrie also bought the lands of Arlehaven, which included Allereoch and Blair or Blair's Hill. Allereoch and Blair's Hill were the site of the battle of Maesydawc or Mugdock where Teudwr, King of Strathclyde defeated and slew Talargan, King of the Picts in 750. This battle covered a wide area of the parish. Blair's Hill means Hill of Battle and Allereoch or Alreoch means The King's Rock, named after the place where King Tarlargan fell. Guthrie Smith suggests that the standing stones to the south-east of Dumgoyach probably mark the burial place of a Cymric or Pictish warrior who fell in the bloody battle of Mugdock.
Re-routing of the Cuilt Brae
Not only did this Mr Guthrie develop his own estate and construct good march dykes round it, he also decided to try to improve the road network. Mr Guthrie set about improving the line of the Cuilt Brae, which in these days went straight up the Brae. He wished to avoid the Cuilt Brae by taking a route past modern day Ardoch - then known as Dykehouse-and to Carbeth that way. However, the Laird of Dykehouse would not hear of it at first then made exorbitant demands, including a certain number of bunches of grapes every year. Mr Guthrie would not agree to this and the plan was abandoned.
An Ebenezer McAlister of Singapore bought the Carbeth estate in 1878. He is noted for installing the water trough at Braehead on the Cuilt Brae.
The Carbeth Swimming Pond (or Scottish Lido Set 'Midst the Towering Hills)
The Bulletin of the 31st May 1933 announced that an open air swimming pool had been built in a little valley between Carbeth and Craigallian Lochs by Mr Allan Barns Graham and in future will be used by the Carbeth Amateur Swimming Association and visitors to the district. The pool had a length of 51 yards and a depth from 4ft 6in to 7ft6 in and diving dail 10 ft high and new bathing shelters. The pool was to be opened mainly at weekends and public holidays including the Fair during the summer months.
The construction of the swimming pool was in response to the increased demand for the open-air life and leisure pursuits in the country, which had been evident after the First World War. People wanted to get away from crowded areas such as Glasgow. The Tram system, which was routed as far as Milngavie, provided an easy and cheap access to beautiful countryside. As well as this there were buses and trains to Blanefield.
The many Rights of Ways in the area became widely used and there was much bathing in both Craigallian and Carbeth lochs, neither of which were very safe for bathing. It was soon found however that the pond formed in 1928 when the stream between Carbeth and Craigallian loch was damned was more suitable for bathing. In 1933 the embankment of the dam was raised and strengthened and a 7 foot spring diving board and a 10 foot high Diving Dail was installed. Changing rooms with toilets were provided for both sexes, an office hut and a small canteen were erected. Bathing costumes and towels could be hired and the canteen provided tea, aerated waters cigarettes, chocolates and biscuits.
Annual galas were held before the 2nd World War, on 2nd Saturday of August but only occasional galas were held after the war. On the 27th July 1963 a Swimming Gala opened by the comedian Jimmy Logan was a great success with swimming events for all the family as well as an exhibition of life saving, swimming and diving by Sergeant George J.C. Rae and his Police Mascots. The proceeds of the Gala went to the Glasgow Branch of the Scottish Society for Mentally Handicapped Children.
The Carbeth Amateur Swimming Association was formed in 1930 and affiliated to the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association so that amateur swimmers of other clubs could take place in its Gala. There were 75 members in 1930, 92 in 1931, 167 in 1932 and over 300 in 1933 the largest number ever attained. The annual subscription in 1934 was 2/6 (12p), 10/ (50p) in 1960. Day visitors' rates in 1960 were 1/ (5p) for adults and 6d (2p) for children.
The Swimming Pool was never a financial success. Before the Second World War the net revenue was not enough to pay for repairs. After the war, it was run at a loss and suffered from vandalism. The greater use being made of motor cars took potential bathers further afield and people became used to more sophisticated facilities than those offered at Carbeth. The total number of visitors in 1933 was 4,300 but by l968, it had dropped to 1,290. The pool was "closed" in 1969 and in 1978 the diving Dail and buildings were demolished.
Carbeth swimming pool - 1930's.
Carbeth swimming pool diving display.
Carbeth Swimming Pool as seen from the Red Brae - Swimming Gala in progress.
The Huts at Carbeth & the Holiday Fellowship Camp
Many of the participants at the swimming pool would have come from the huts, which are very much a feature of Carbeth. The first huts were erected in 1919 with the main development taking place in the 1930's. One development was created almost overnight at request of the local authorities following the Clydebank Blitz in 1941. The occupiers own the huts and they rent the site from the estate. The huts, which are for weekend and holiday use only are owned mainly by people residing north of the River Clyde from Ballieston to Clydebank and tend to be owned by families for a considerable period. The tenancies of the sites are on an annual basis.
The Holiday Fellowship Association was founded in 1923 by three fellow Sergeants in the HLI. They rented a partly wooded area at Carbeth, some 500 yards from the "Wee Shop". The Association was a very well organised enterprise with its own elected executive committee and strict rules as to membership and behaviour in the camp which was occupied from the 1st July to the 30th September. Originally, there had been 20 permanent sites for tents, before long that number was increased to 40. Each site was provided with a timber floor. In the off season these floors were stored in the Recreational Hall built by their own members. The Hall was about 60 feet by 30 feet complete with stage, kitchenette etc. there was a generator in an adjoining stage which provided electricity for the hall. The Hall, which housed a billiard table, was used for Saturday dances and sing songs. At the end of the season the members would produce a concert with plays, sketches and songs. For many years the Association held a tennis competition held at a court at Carbeth House. In 1968 the Association disbanded and terminated its lease. The increase in cars and caravans reduced the demand for such an association.
Carbeth curling club
In the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, winters appeared to be proper winters and the numerous lochs in the area would freeze over each year allowing the inhabitants to participate in the popular game of curling. In 1868 an agreement was drawn up between the tenants on the land on both sides of Carbeth Loch and the Carbeth Curling Club. In brief the Carbeth Curling Club was allowed to flood over the meadow on the banks of Carbeth Loch to an agreed height between the 10th of November to the Ist March. The winters were evidently colder then because there was the proviso that if there was still ice on the pond on the 1st of March and a probability of curling being continued so could the curlers! The cost of using the pond was £5 a year. The Carbeth Curling Club, which according to Guthrie Smith was the Parish Curling Club, was instituted in 1845. The patron was Mr John J Pollock of Aucheneden and the president was Guthrie Smith himself with Dr Rankin the village GP as vice president and Alex Spark as secretary and treasurer. The Rev Daniel John Ferguson Minister at Strathblane from 1874-1886 was described as being, as every good parish minister should be, a keen curler, his presence at the bonspiels of the club always ensured a good humoured and hearty match.
©Alison Dryden, Strathblane Heritage Society 2004