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KBGS Old Boys' Forum

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KBGS Old Boys' Forum
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Kirky

I am a teacher at Oakbank,and involved with the group that runs the hut at Kirky. My father David Shires was an old boy and as such I spent many holidays around Kirkcudbright reliving my dad's days at the school camp.
Next year is the centenary of students going to the camp, and we are planning some kind of event to commemerate this. As this takes shape I will update this post, but if anybody has memories, reminiscences etc that they would like to share with other people with a passion for the keighley camp at Kirky I would be delighted to hear from them. My email is js@oakbank.org.uk if anyone would like to contact me directly.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) n/a

Current location (optional) Keighley

Re: Kirky

I was in Kirkcudbright last week, stopping overnight nearby on the way to Ireland. Had a good search but couldn't find the site of the camp (never went there as a lad so didn't know where to look). Nobody seemed to know about it. But I did get a cracking portion of fish and chips down by the harbour.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1958-65

Current location (optional) Leeds

Re: Kirky

If you go across the bridge in the middle of town, take the next left signposted the Stell and Borgue and then continue for about 2 miles, you will find the entrance to Seaward campsite on your right. the Hut is about 50 yards further on on your right. If you get tothe Dhoon car park and beach you have gone too far.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) n/a

Current location (optional) Keighley

Re: Kirky

As part of the centenary celebrations there has been a proposal to open the hut to visitors, possibly to stay over for a night during next june/july. This is still an proposal under discussion but I would be interested to know if any old boys would be interested to come and see how the camp is still being used by keighley children, and the changes that have happened up there over the years.

Re: Kirky

Just spent the weekend at Seaward. I never went there when at school, so it was interesting to see the location attaching to the many stories about school camp. It's a beautiful location and I can imagine how it would have seemed like paradise compared with grimy West Yorks in the sixties (not to mention in previous decades). How long were trips to camp? How did you get there? What kinds of activities were there? I took a few photos and will email to Chris later.

Re: Kirky

Pics now posted.

Re: Kirky

Not to ignore your enquiries about “Camp”, Allan, and on pain of repeating what may be elsewhere in these posts, here is some detail.

Your comment about “beautiful location” is reassuring – because to kids from Keighley and environs Camp offered a welcome break from the strictures of the genuine austerity which followed an Earth staggering world war. Word of the dates of Camp was put out in the Autumn term. I think there was a savings scheme available for intending campers.

There were stories put about school concerning the initiation ceremonies to which new campers were subjected and these may have been a deterrent to would-be escapees from July/August in Keighley. The school party left on the Thursday before Parish Feast Week and returned a fortnight later – towards the end of Bank Holiday week – which usually meant you were away from home when the Headingley Test was played and when the A level results came out.

The journey was by train from Keighley to Carlisle – where the party changed train and waited an hour or so for the connections to Dumfries , Castle Douglas and Kirkcudbright. A coach took the party to Dhoon Bay where the camp was located – and where there waited tents with wooden floorboards erected by the advanced party of foragers (usually 6th Formers from the 1stXV). After allocation of pupils to tents, the next job was filling your paillasse (palliasse or Friendly Donkey) with straw from the local farmer’s barn. And comfortable they were too if filled to optimum capacity. Too little and you felt the boards. Too much and you rolled off.

Each morning began with a porage breakfast in “the hut” with occasionally variations of egg and beans, followed by tent inspection – conducted by Old Nick (in my day). Each tent had to be cleaned out with all kit (groundsheets, friendly donkeys and cases etc) laid out before the tent in the lines. Points were awarded daily and totalled at the end for the award of a small cash prize (book tokens I recall). Each tent was given spud bashing duties in turn – and where there was evidence of insubordination extra duties were imposed – the worst being collecting litter or emptying the egg rack.

Most lads took a bike which was to be collected from Kirky station. This was virtually a carte blanche passe-partout for lads to ride into Kirky town; the hydro-electric station at Tongland; Gatehouse of Fleet; Borgue and other attractions (?). There were camp coach trips to Dumfries; Glen Trool; and a boat trip to Ross Island and lighthouse. Angelini’s milk bar in Kirky was a popular focal point – as some of the local girls often homed in there when the “Keighley boys” were in town. The Selkirk Arms was sufficiently remote to enable some lads to have a swift half - as was the Star at Twynholm. There were bathing parades each day at Dhoon Bay – supervised by the teacher on duty. Beach cricket matches were played between scratch teams. There were plenty of opportunities for safe exploration of the shore across the road from camp –including “bouncing rock” canyon and occasionally swimming off the rocks for foragers.

There were cricket matches , Camp (ie staff and senior boys) versus Kirkcudbright, Gatehouse of Fleet and the Crichton Royal Hospital, Dumfries. Charlie Dorrance, a local explosives man from the quarries, spent his summer break as general factotum and maintenance man at Camp. He was a favourite with the lads and many of them owed their initiation into the fine art of cribbage at Charlie’s elbow. Charlie also assumed management duties of the “egg-rack”. On the last night of Camp – there was a Camp Concert – in the hut. Most tents put together either a sing-song or a sketch. Favourite items were when staff members lowered their guard and trod the boards.

I have no evidence to confirm this – but I doubt that few KBGS lads went to camp only the once. I had five memorable holidays there (1955 to1960). I hope to read of others’ experiences.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Lincoln

Re: Kirky

Thanks for that Terry...seems to sum it up nicely. But what was the egg rack?

Re: Kirky

I never went to Kirky, but my guess is that they were latrines ??

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Kirky

More or less. Lightweight functions were sprayed into the hedge behind the eggrack which was a safe distance from the lines. More weighty matters required a venture inside where you could share the experience with up to 3 (I think) others seated in line. Charlie emptied the buckets daily into a pit, covered with corrugated iron and dug by the foragers in the previous week.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Lincoln

Re: Kirky

Glad I passed on the archeology when I was there last week...

Re: Kirky

Hi Terry I enjoyed your post of the 14th May which brought back some nice memories from my once only visit to School Camp back in 1949. I do remember taking a bike with me, by train, as mentioned, which enabled me to travel to Gatehouse for a cricket match with 'the locals'. I remember not having a chance to bat in the game, although I did take the last 3 wickets for very few runs, bowling some assorted leg-breaks and winning the game quite easily. I don't recall a game with the Kirky local team; might have been due to the weather conditions.
I do not recall taking part in any beach activities or for that matter, the fact that there was a beach 'across the road'. Might well have been 'out of bounds' at that time, for some reason. We seemed to play an awful lot of volley-ball during the periods of dry weather which we had, playing the game until we were all utterly exhausted.
Money-wise, I recall taking with me a ten shilling note a few bits of loose change which lasted for the whole of the two weeks holiday. Money went a long way in those days.
The Camp Concert was a good bit of fun with Eric Pickering and another 6th former doing a pretty good job singing 'The Bold Gendarmes', which received a great round of applause.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1945-50

Current location (optional) Keighley