Two o'clock on the 22nd July 1911 we cross the square to Barrack Castle from whence, at 3 p.m. prompt, we are to sally forth with our Trek Waggon on that long projected tramping camp. After the final arrangement on Friday evening we had agreed to start at 3 p.m. and now the time had come and we were all very keen.
They are off!! Ben Boyd and Jim McLean are in the 'trams', Davie Conning and Willie Cumming have the front rope, Bob Melville and Sid Ramsay take the sides, while Jack has the wheel. "Watch the step at the door, there, take it very slowly, that's all right, now round the corner." Round the corner she goes and everybody is marching in grand style.
Lochee High Street, we are now fairly on our way, "Keep a good step chaps, there are lots of people watching." "They are going to walk through Perthshire", says one, "They will turn when they reach Birkhill", says another. Ah! Cynicus, Cynicus, how little you know of the 1st Dundee Troop of Boy Scouts.
We are clear of the city boundary, and on the fine soft roads we are going easier, we are going grand. Honk! Honk! "Left incline" we clear the way for the Birkhill bus, as she rounds the corner into the village. We halt for a while and Conning marks our route for those who are coming later.
Away from the madding crowd away from the haunts of men we begin to feel the fine country air we begin to feel enjoyment.
A 'Gentleman of the road' now observes us he watches us closely he sees our pots and pans and begins to wonder if his occupation has become fashionable.
'Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the boys are marching!' from the road we see Kinpurnie Hill quite close and above us half a mile on the way to "Tullybackit" we halt at a small shop by the road and partake of Lemonade and Biscuits. Refreshed and ready we swing down the hill at a good rate and now see the village of Coupar Angus lying below us. Camping ground for the night next calls our attention and on reaching a small Beech Wood by the road we set out to get permission to pitch our tents.
After a good deal of delay and through the kindness of the Landsteward (Mr Hogg) the owner grants our request.
Through the wood to a sheltered corner the waggon is pulled and on a level patch we commence to unload.
Soon the tent is unrolled, and the hammer of pegs may be heard.
Boyd undertakes the duty of fireman, McLean goes to get water, while Melville and Ramsay go off to the station to meet Ferguson who is coming by train. The Marquee is now up, the blue smoke of the fire is now rising, and the Tea Urn is singing on the "Hob".
With the aid of a kindly old couple from a cottage over the way, who have given us water, milk and firewood, we are able to sit down to tea. At this moment Melville and Ramsay return telling us they could not find Ferguson (who had come up some time before) but smelling strongly of hot pies, gave us the impression, that they had been more zealous in their search for something to eat, than for scout George Ferguson of the "Wolf" Patrol.
From his seat on a baggage box, and between his mouthfuls of bread and butter, Conning surveys the scene. "This is a rare camping ground but!!", for a moment his enthusiasm dies away, "I have not seen a girl yet."
Ah Conning, Conning, you fascinator of fascinators, soon you will have full scope for your genius.
"We will have to go to bed now", Ramsay makes the proposal and is strongly supported by his pal Melville. Everyone agrees to turn in as it is now 10.30 p. m., Conning is to go into the village in search of sweets and a newspaper, while Boyd, McLean and Ferguson are to act as first guard from 11 till 1 a.m.
Most of us by this time are under blankets lying discussing the days march, which is interrupted by the return of Conning laden with Caramels, Toffee and chocolate candies, and a Sporting Post, which he hands to their respective owners.
Soon the whole tent is quiet we are lulled to sleep, to the music caused by the chattering of the teeth of the sentry at the door.
Boyd and McLean, are on guard on the road, where they are to wait for Cargill and Reid, who are to Cycle from Dundee, after 10 o'clock, and expect to reach us by midnight.
"Hark! what is that", there is a sound of rivalry by night, we sit up blinking, and hear, the challenging voices of the guard on the road, then all is still.
We wait in horror, till the sentry at the door informs us that a party of berriepickers had wished to camp with us for the night evening but seeing the threatening staves of our guard pointing straight at them could do nothing but retreat. So we turn over and go to sleep again as it will soon be our turn to get up. "Stop that", "Stop that", I awake to see Boyd poking Jack with a stave "It is One o'clock now and you are on guard" so Willie Cumming, Jack & I get up and go out into the darkness and cold, to watch for two long hours.
We walk up and down for half an hour or so to keep ourselves warm, when the sound of a bugle breaks the stillness of the night, we make a rush for the gate to meet Cargill and Reid who have just arrived.
We conduct them through the wood to the camp, where they go off to bed, while we continue another hour's dreary waiting.
Day Two - Coupar Angus
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