Ben Lomond Indicator

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On 1st April 1929 The Daily Record Mountain Indicator was formally declared opened. The ceremony on the summit was attended by a crowd the like of which the old Ben had never seen and is hardly likely to see again. The Daily Record stated that the attendance was around 2,000, a number that easily constitutes a record for a single excursion. There was a special boat chartered by the Federation of Ramblers which conveyed some 700 trampers to the scene of the climb. This is an account the Glasgow Group of HF played in its concept , making , building the pedestal and opening of the indicator on the summit.

CHAPTER 3 photo1 Carrying Indicator on Ben Lomond March 1929 (2)

Walkers carrying indicator on Ben Lomond

Right from the beginning the Glasgow Fellowship was closely associated with it, for it was the Group Secretary who replied to the editor of The Daily Record when the letter appeared in their newspaper last November. This letter which was from a reader in Paisley referred to a climb the writer had recently made to the top of the Ben. It was further stated that the indicator would be erected and hoped that someone would take the matter up. The group secretary immediately replied endorsing all that had been said and further that he hoped that The Daily Record would institute a fund through the columns of their newspaper to defray the cost of the indicator. The Secretary intimated in his letter that if this could be done he would undertake to have the chart erected and to organise the trampers in the district to help in the matter.

Ben Lomond summit

"On Ben Lomond Summit"

The response to this was seen the next morning when The Daily Record publicly announced that they would gift the indicator. This was put under way. The task of preparing the chart was in the hands of Mr D.K.Paterson of Paisley who was assisted by the Group Sec, who visited the Geographical Institute in Edinburgh for information. It is of interest to note that there are a number of misspellings on the chart, but as far as can be ascertained there is only one , the ‘h’ missed out in Balquidder. Many will think that the word ‘Cowal’ is spelt wrongly, but if reference is made to the maps it will be seen that the wording is correct. Also do not imagine that ‘Carn Gorm’ is wrong, if you look at the maps you will see that is correct too.

This chart was first of all drawn on parchment and then an impression was made on zinc – this is what has been placed in position. Later on another copy will be made on which further information will be given, and then a bronze plaque will be the permanent affair.

While the chart was being prepared the pedestal was built. First a party did the ascent (in deep snow) to prospect. It was necessary to know what kind of rock so as to bring the proper rock cutting tools. Also it was necessary to know if the stone could be obtained near the summit and whether there was water near at hand. The first work party went up the first Sunday in March, when a pack horse was chartered to carry up the material but alas the poor horse was not equal to the task, so the poor climbers had to carry by hand. In fact in all subsequent visits all material was carried by hand. In all 5cwts of cement was used, so you can imagine the task. Everything was ready on time despite the many setbacks, not least among the breaking of the glass. A last minute visit put this right however.

CHAPTER 3 photo 3 'Building Indicator cairn on Ben Lomond April 1929'

Building Indicator Cairn on Ben Lomond

The story would not be complete without referring to those members of the club who helped. They were Alex Gray, Harry Culley, Willie Dunsmore , Quentin Bone, and G. Cuthbertson. They worked loyally and well.

We are therefore not only indebted to this newspaper for the indicator, but for the coming into being of the Ramblers Federation and for the Ramblers weekly feature. For as a rambling club we take this opportunity of publicly thanking them.

HF plaque outside Rowardennan Hotel at foot of Ben Lomond

Plaque at Rowardennan Hotel at Foot of Ben Lomond

Glasgow HF Outdoor club has been supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to release a book celebrating 100 years of existence.

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